Avid bakers know all to well how vanilla extract is ridiculously expensive. That little 2 ounce bottle, which can easily run upwards of $6, isn’t even the best quality product. So what’s a baker to do? Suck it up? Hardly! With just two ingredients and a little time, you can make your own vanilla extract of a quality you just can’t find in most stores. You’ll save plenty of cash in the long run, too. Read on for tips and procedures on how to make your own vanilla extract.
Choosing the Ingredients.
Without a doubt, your best bet is ordering whole vanilla bean pods in bulk online. A bean pod may run $6-$10 a pop at the grocery store; online, you can find over 20 vanilla bean pods in that same price range. Madagascar vanilla is the gold standard, and look for Grade B/extract beans, which will give more flavor to the extract than the more expensive grade A beans will. If buying online is not an option for you, you can also check out the prices at your local ethnic grocery store or warehouse club.
Quality might be key for vanilla but the opposite is true for alcohol. Spending money on premium liquor is not only a waste of money, it often results in an inferior, less vanilla-flavored, extract. You want an alcohol that has as little — or no– flavor as you can legally purchase. Everclear, a flavorless grain alcohol, is your best bet, but it is illegal to purchase in 14 states. You’ll also want to dilute grain alcohol in water; you want the flavorlessness of the grain alcohol, not the high alcohol content. If grain alcohol isn’t an option, look for low-to-medium grade 75-80 proof (37.5-40% alcohol) vodka. Unlike grain alcohols, you won’t need to dilute these alcohols in water. However, because there is a little added flavor in the vodka, you might try running it through a Brita filter 4 times before using it.
A storm will continue to unleash heavy rain, gusty winds and mountain snow across Northern California into Tuesday.
The risk for severe thunderstorms will ramp up across the Ohio Valley states and lower Great Lakes region to end the week.
Several storm systems will bring rounds of gusty winds and rain to Germany this week.
Blustery showers and strong wind gusts will lead to difficult travel at times this week.
Heavy snow and gusty winds may unfold as a strong storm system sweeps colder air across the central United States late this week.
Tropical Cyclone Alfred will threaten coastal communities around the Gulf of Carpentaria with flooding downpours through early this week.
A stormy weather pattern unfolding across Europe this week will lead to showers and gusty winds sweeping into Germany on a daily basis.
Heavy rain, mountain snow and gusty winds will pound the northwestern United States early this week, with the most significant impacts targeting Northern California.