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Vanilla Extract

(recipe, Carrie Floyd)

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Homemade vanilla extract requires nothing more than a few simple ingredients and plenty of time. It also makes an easy, pretty gift. Because vanilla beans are pricey, try to buy them in bulk if possible.


  1. 5 to 6 vanilla beans
  2. 1 clean glass bottle (4-ounce capacity) with a cork stopper or screwcap
  3. ¼ to ⅓ cup neutral-tasting liquor, such as vodka, Everclear, or brandy


  1. Split the vanilla beans lengthwise. Stuff them into the bottle. Pour alcohol over them until the beans are covered but the liquid won't touch the bottom of the cork or screwcap.
  2. Seal the bottle, give it a shake, and set aside for a month. The vanilla will infuse the alcohol; after a month, use it as you would any other vanilla extract. As the extract dwindles, you can top it off with fresh alcohol.