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Article posted: 2/20/2013 6:50 AM

Homemade Vanilla Extract

1 cup vodka, 40 percent alcohol

6 Madagascar vanilla beans

Pour vodka into a 10-ounce glass bottle with tight fitting lid. Alternatively, use vodka bottle if possible.

Using very sharp knife, carefully cut vanilla beans in half, lengthwise. Then cut beans in half or thirds crosswise so the beans can be entirely submerged by the vodka.

Drop/push vanilla bean pieces into alcohol to cover. Securely seal bottle and shake vigorously. Store in cool, dark place, shaking daily for at least two months. Best flavor achieved after 6 months.

Remove beans and dry thoroughly at room temperature (dried beans can flavor granulated and powdered sugars or scent cookie jars).

Strain extract if desired. Vanilla extract can last for years if in cool and dry storage.

Baker's hint: Other liquor can be used in place of the vodka, but will affect the pure vanilla flavor and change the flavor profile of recipes.

Nutrition values per teaspoon: 11 calories, 0 fat (0 g saturated), 0 carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 0 protein, 0 cholesterol, trace amount sodium.

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