To Early for Yule?

Seeing the craft stores already preparing for the Christmas season has my thoughts turning towards Yule.  I like to hand make decorations and gifts for the season.  This time of year, I also begin making things like my homemade vanilla extract to use in my baking.

Homemade vanilla extract is ridiculously easy to do.  I buy a small bottle of either a brandy or vodka.  Added to it, I use whole vanilla beans that are sliced down the length.  I scrape out a bit of the vanilla beans and add it to the liqueur, along with the vanilla beans themselves.  Place the bottle on a pantry shelf to steep.  I give it a shake to mix it all together about once a week.  For a pint size bottle, I usually add 6-8 vanilla beans to give it a good, strong flavor.  Once it has steeped for about 2 months, I strain the mixture and pour it into a bottle.  This vanilla will make a year’s supply for me.

Often, I make a larger batch of vanilla extract with the intent to use as gifts.  When making as a gift, toss a whole vanilla bean into the gift bottles.  Fill with the extract and decorate the neck of the bottle to make it pretty.



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