Thursday, March 3, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract - Fresh Whipped Cream

Do you know how simple it is to make homemade vanilla extract? It is almost ridiculous, because it takes two ingredients and nearly no effort. Cut three dried but supple vanilla beans in half like a hinge and soak in your desired alcohol - vodka, rum - and in 8 weeks, voila, you have home brewed vanilla extract.

And let me tell you, nothing smells as good as this homebrewed extract! It's richness is unbelievable! You will want to add it to everything. And the best part, is that it is renewable. As you use a teaspoon here (in fresh whipped cream) and a tablespoon there (in homemade granola) you simple top off the jar with more of the alcohol and it will continue to renew for years!
I do strongly urge that you buy organic vanilla beans since you will be soaking them and do not really want the chemical residues to come off in the extract. My beans were $4.99 for three at Co-opportunity. And make sure that they are dried yet flexible so they have not been completely dried out. You can go the extra step of scraping the seeds out of the bean when you add it to the liquor, but that is optional. The quality of the alcohol does not need to be tip top shelf. I used Smirnoffs Vodka and it has served me well.

Trust me when I tell you that when you make fresh whipped cream with this DIY extract, you will barely need sugar - yeah, it's that good! 

Homemade Vanilla Extract

1 pint good quality vodka or rum
3 vanilla beans, split down the middle but still attached at one end

Carefully scrape out seeds and place in alcohol along with beans; make sure beans are submerged. Store in dark, cool place (pantry, cupboard) for at least 8 weeks, shaking it 1-2 times a week. Taste and use at will! 

Fresh Whipped Cream

1 pint whipping/heavy cream (same thing)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar (or more to taste)

Using handheld beaters (the kind you turn a crank for, my preferred method because I believe it is actually faster and creates a more airy whipped cream) or electric beaters, beat cream until it begins to form soft peaks. Add sugar and extract and blend in until stiff peaks form (the cream retains its peak when poked). Serve over pie, berries or other tasty treats!


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Lamb Chops with Cherry Marsala Sauce at Blue Kitchen
Creamy Coconut Cake at Very Culinary
Cream of Mushroom Soup at An Edible Mosaic


Lael Hazan @educatedpalate said...

I'm sad to admit I've never made my own Vanilla extract. However, I do recognize that there is a WORLD of difference in good vanilla extract and the supermarket brand kind. I imagine that making your own would be at an even higher level.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

I have a bottle of homemade vanilla in my pantry right now :) It's amazing how different it tastes than the store bought stuff.

Claudia said...

What an excellent idea! Didn't realize it was so easy. I do have a vanilla vine, but as it flowers way up in my lemon tree, who knows when (you have to catch the bloom in a narrow slot of time), the chances of me doing the little pollination thingy are zilch. We're starting some in other places, so one own. Still, I can buy those pods.

Kirsten Lindquist said...

Lael - thanks for stopping by!

Nanny - of course you do, you are a baker extraordinaire!

Claudia - your own vanilla plant, I am beyond jealous!