Vanilla flavour is probably one of the most widely used flavourings in cakes, waffles, cookies and other (low-carb) treats. It's also one of the most expensive spices in the world and that's one of the reasons why most commercially available "vanilla" extracts are synthetic and contain artificial additives.
Making your own vanilla extract cannot be any easier. All you need is high-quality spirit such as vodka and vanilla beans. As you will find out, it's also very economical and you'll spend less, especially if you buy vanilla beans in bulk. You don't actually have to get organic vanilla beans, as most are grown without pesticides and fertilizers.
The best spirit for home-made vanilla extract is vodka, because you get pure vanilla flavour. If you use rum or bourbon, the vanilla taste won't be as strong, as these spirits will slightly mask the flavour.
Tip: It's also a great drink - you can have some vanilla-infused vodka as an occasional treat!
Nutritional values per 1 tbsp:
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Estimated nutritional values include Stevia. This recipe yields ~ 300 ml / 10 fl oz of vanilla extract. Most calories come from alcohol.
Ingredients per small bottle:
- 4-6 vanilla beans
- 1¼ cup high-quality vodka or rum (300 ml / 10 fl oz)
- 15-20 drops clear or vanilla stevia or other healthy low-carb sweetener from this list (vanilla stevia is optional but will add more flavour)
- For making vanilla extract, use high-quality vodka. Prepare a glass jar you will use for the extract by sterilizing it in hot water.
- Cut the vanilla beans lenghtwise, place in the glass jar and seal well. The more vanilla beans you use, the more flavour and darker colour you will achieve. Make sure the beans are completely submerged.
Note: Opt for really dark oily beans, as these will give the extract the best flavour.
- Infuse for 4-6 weeks. The longer you leave it, the more intense the flavour will be.
- Shake 2-3 times while it's infusing to help release the flavour.
- After about 4 weeks, the extract will become dark and is ready to be used. You can add stevia if you like - vanilla flavour works best!
- Store in a dark cool place for up to 6 months and use in your healthy baking :-)