This is a must-have-ingredient for the venezuelan sweet cuisine. Although, what we call over there: “escencia de vainilla” is actually “vainillina” (vainillin) which is the chemical version of the vanilla extract, it is a black liquid in a plastic bottle and very reasonably priced.
So since over here we can not buy the big old 500 ml botle of vainillin…how about making our own… making it even better, with the real stuff and best of all: chemical free!
I bought the cheapest vodka I could find around, plus eight vanilla beans… at first it might not be so cheap to put this recipe together, but once you have done it… you would be soooo happy that you won´t even remember how much you had “invested” in it.
I found the vanilla beans in the Coop Mega (Norwegian shop) and the vodka in the Vinmnopolet (yeap…here in Norway the off licenses are clean, extremely tidy places and with sommeliers ready to guide you through your shop, here any supermarket sells alcohol. In the venezuelan “licorerias” by contrast… you can buy all one might need when it comes to a drinking feast: spirits, beer, rum, vodka, tequila, whisky, wine, anis, plastic cups, fizzy drinks, cool boxes, huge bags of ice cubes, snacks, cigarettes, lighters and matches, chewing gum, lottery tickets, hehehe.. you name it… amazing huh?)
Back to the extract recipe….One tea spoon of it is a flavorful one, as soon as you open that bottle the whole kitchen will be filled with its scent.
A botle of the cheapest vodka ( I used a 350ml bottle)
8 vanilla beans
Slice the vanilla beans split open and using the knife scrap off their content, put vanilla scrapings and beans into the bottle. Give it a good shake and keep it in your cupboard (I waited 2 months to start using it). I used the cork as a cap for the bottle.
As days go by, you will notice how the vodka starts changing colour and the aroma of the beans takes over. Don´t forget to shake it once in a while and before using it.
Top up with fresh vodka as you use the extract.
Ps. I love the picture that the vanilla beans look like creepy creatures growing up inside the bottle 🙂