Christmas in July – Homemade Vanilla Extract

With just under 5 months until Christmas, it might be time to start thinking about gifts for your friends and family. That’s what I was doing about a year ago. I am definitely a big planner and had decided early in 2009 to make as many Christmas gifts as I could. Some of these gifts required quite a bit of time and some were easy to throw together. This week I’ll be sharing the gifts that I gave our family and friends last year.

The first gift came about due to a sale on Amazon. There was a great deal on 1/2 lb of vanilla beans. I started with two bottles of vodka and the vanilla beans. Once the beans were split (but not scraped) and placed in the vodka, the bottles just had to sit in a cool dark place. Every couple of weeks Hubby would pull the vodka out of the closet and shake the crap out of it. A couple months later the vanilla extract was ready to go!

I ordered some bottles online and made some labels for the bottles to finish off the look. I also placed two vanilla beans into each bottle.

I love that the vanilla extract tastes so good, has the specks of fresh vanilla beans, and will essentially never run out. If the vanilla starts running low, you can just top it off with some more vodka. As you use vanilla beans, just throw the pods in the bottle to replenish the vanilla flavor.

One Year Ago: Goat Cheese Potato Salad and Salmon with Yellow Pepper and Cilantro Pesto
Two Years Ago: Champagne Cupcakes

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12 Responses to “Red Velvet Cupcakes & My New Favorite Way to Frost Cupcakes”

  1. #
    Bridget — February 19, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    You chose a great recipe! I’m glad you liked it. Did your friend like the recipe from Smitten Kitchen? I liked that one too, but it was a little more chocolately than I was looking for.

  2. #
    Sara Therese — February 19, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    What a cool way to frost! That is so nifty – can’t wait to try. Thanks, Jen!

  3. #
    Jen — February 19, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Amy said her sister enjoyed them so they seemed to be well received. I wanted something bright red and without a ton of food coloring. Those are the main reasons I chose the recipe I did. Then I saw your comparison post while the cupcakes were in the oven, I saw your post and it reassured my choice!

  4. #
    kathleen & tom — February 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Ooooooh brown sugar cream cheese frosting! I’m intrigued.

    Those look great!

  5. #
    kathleen & tom — February 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Ooooooh brown sugar cream cheese frosting! I’m intrigued.

    Those look great!

  6. #
    Cathy — February 19, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    this looks great! I’ll have to try this to bring to work because my CWs only eat CMR’s red velvet cake!

  7. #
    Colleen — February 20, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Ooh that frosting technique looks amazing! Give you most frosting to eat, too!

  8. #
    Sheila60526 — February 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    That gives me an idea! What if I put something else in the cone? Maybe a melted chocolate or something. Hmmm have to think about that. Beautiful post.

  9. #
    Jen — February 20, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Yep Sheila – I do that all the time. If you look at the other cupcakes in my blog, I’ve stuffed bananas, peanut butter, jams etc in cupcakes. It’s probably my favorite way to make a cupcake!

  10. #
    Jennifer — February 26, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    I love removing the cone from my cupcakes as well. More yummy frosting!! 🙂

  11. #
    CB — March 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Oooh I’ll have to try out this red velvet recipe and compare too. I think it’s so interesting that every RV recipe that is slightly different but basically the same can give you different taste results. Love the new frost method!

  12. #
    Kelsey — August 2, 2010 at 5:22 am

    So…I realize I’m seriously late to the party, but I’m so glad you like the red velvet recipe! The frosting sounds delish 🙂

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