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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9 Responses to “Homemade Gingerbread Caramels”

  1. #
    Megan — December 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    How did the parchment lining work out? Did the caramel stick very much? I’m thinking of making another batch of caramels tonight.

  2. #
    blog is the new black — December 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    What a unique idea- love it!

  3. #
    Fun and Fearless in Beantown — December 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Between you and Megan, I’m craving caramels!

  4. #
    Victoria (The District Chocoholic) — December 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Eek. I love gingerbread-flavored things, and love making caramel. This is genius.

  5. #
    Shannon — December 23, 2010 at 12:11 am

    aah, you’re doing everything that’s still on my list! marshmallows, caramels… i’ll get to it. someday! these sound amazing 🙂

  6. #
    Mira — December 23, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Yum! I wonder if I could use this recipe in my microwave caramel recipe?

  7. #
    kitchenmisfit — December 23, 2010 at 2:19 am

    One day I will have enough patience to try caramels. One day!

  8. #
    vanillasugar — December 28, 2010 at 2:32 am

    oh goodness girl i just made some molasses-peanut chews and they were fabulous.
    but now seeing gingerbread caramel? wow. love this. great idea!

  9. #
    Jen — January 2, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Mira, I’ve never made microwave caramel, but I’m sure you could add the spices and some molasses to make your recipe taste like gingerbread.

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