One of the gifts I used this year for teachers and hostesses, etc. was homemade Vanilla Extract. It was super easy, and recipients have expressed A LOT of interest in how it's done. Last week, there was an article in the paper about making your own, which prompted even more questions.
So, I decided to post about it (I know, I know... just like every other blogger out there. It's a popular topic.)
First of all, get yourself a 1.75 L bottle of Vodka and a half pound of vanilla beans. (Do not buy these from a local store, you'll pay through the nose. Order online. I have used www.olivenation.com and have been happy. Best of all, they frequently have coupon codes and they always have free shipping on vanilla beans.)
I pour the Vodka into wide-mouth canning jars. You want to use at least 8 vanilla beans per cup of vodka.
Slice each bean the long way, and insert into the vodka.
Let sit for about 3 months and shake it when you think of it.
You'll see it getting darker and darker.
When it's done, you won't smell the Vodka.
For gift-giving, I purchased 4 oz amber bottles from HERE. I think I got 4 dozen and they were about a buck each after shipping.
I downloaded THIS free image and doctored it up using WORD.
The perfect, useful little gift.