Real vanilla extract is expensive, as are vanilla beans, but you can stretch the latter a lot further by making your own extract at home.
Courtesy of Regan Burns Cafiso
|2 vanilla beans||1 cup vodka or white rum|
Slit vanilla beans lengthwise with a sharp knife, leaving the stem end intact so the two halves are still attached at one end. Place them in a clean 8-ounce lidded glass jar or container.
Pour in vodka or rum, making sure beans are completely submerged, and tightly screw on lid.
Place jar in a cool, dark place and shake it every few days. After about 6 weeks, the extract is ready to use. (Note: If you periodically top off the container with more alcohol and the seeds from a freshly scraped vanilla-bean pod, you will never run out.)
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