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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22 Responses to “Homemade White Cheddar Cheez-Its”

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    Kari@Loaves n Dishes — January 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Love these, I could eat the whole batch myself. So much healthier than the boxed crackers, that have all those ingredients I can’t pronounce!

    • beantownbaker — January 16th, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

      I completely agree. We avoid processed foods as much as possible. I was glad to find a snack that Hubby loves so much and is *so* easy to make at home.

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    Lokness @ The Missing Lokness — January 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    These cheez its are stunning looking! They must be very cheesy and crispy! I really need to make this for my husband soon!

    • beantownbaker — January 17th, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

      They definitely are! Hubby convinced me to make more this weekend already 🙂

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    JaxInBoston — January 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    looks delicious – how do you think this would work with other cheeses? I’m thinkin’ pepper jack…

    • beantownbaker — January 18th, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

      I would think other cheeses would work pretty well. I wouldn’t use anything too soft, but pepper jack should work. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

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    Emma — January 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    These look fantastic. Great photos. I’m going to make some this weekend. Please check out the food blog I have just started http://www.surreyKitchen.wordpress.com. Thanks!

    • beantownbaker — January 21st, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

      Let me know what you think of them if you do make them!

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    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — January 23, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I HATE pickles. They are awful, but I definitely love cheese crackers. I especially love white cheddar cheez-its 😉

    • beantownbaker — January 23rd, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

      You should definitely make these then – they’re seriously so good!

    • beantownbaker — January 23rd, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

      I don’t even eat my french fries that touched the pickle at restaurants. And I LOVE french fries!

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    tracy {pale yellow} — January 23, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I have always thought making your own crackers would be too much work. Your version looks straightforward and delightful. I’m sure the taste is worth all the effort!

    • beantownbaker — January 23rd, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

      I agree, it was definitely much easier than I would have guessed. My sister, who never bakes, has already made these twice!

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    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — January 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I don’t like fries that touched pickles either! Not only do they then taste like a pickle, but they get soggy and I prefer crunchy fries!

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    Megan — January 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Um… Cheez-Its are one food I cannot have around. Once I open the box, I pretty much eat the whole thing. I love this homemade version!

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    Alyssa — February 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Hello! I am more of a baker than a cook, so I was very nervous about what to make for my boyfriend’s Superbowl party! Found this recipe, and just made it! SUPER easy! I am really impressed by how much it tastes like a cheez-it… but better! I like this recipe and hope to try it with other cheeses! Thanks!

    PS. I did use the silicon baking mat and that made it a lot easier. Good point to follow!

    • beantownbaker — February 3rd, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

      So glad you enjoyed them!! I’ve already made them a handful of times with various cheeses and spices thrown in. They’ve all been delicious.

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    Priya@MyKitchenOdyssey — November 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Oh my.Jen you done it.My little girl loves cheez it.I throwed the cheddar cheese(little bite size) once, don’t know what to make with it .I wish i had seen this earlier 🙁
    Any was can we make these with bite size cheese sticks.?

    MyKitchenOdyssey

    • beantownbaker — November 7th, 2013 @ 10:07 am

      I’m sure you could use this dough to make any shape you’d like…

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    Priya@MyKitchenOdyssey — November 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Thanks for your reply .I meant the cracker barrel cheese ,Can i use this cheese to bake cheez its.

    MyKitchenOdyssey

    • beantownbaker — November 24th, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

      I think any cheese that comes in a block would be fine for this recipe.

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    Priya@MyKitchenOdyssey — November 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Many thanks jen.I will be doing it very soon.

    MyKitchenOdyssey

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