Vanilla extract is ubiquitous in baking and the good stuff is always pretty expensive. Before I started blogging I began a batch of vanilla extract back in August. The instructions said to let it sit for 4-6 months. I had enough to make two batches, so one is getting popped open now for christmas gifts and the other gets to wait another month or two for maximum vanillattude.
I got all my information from Vanilla Review. They have a good recipe and more details on vanilla beans than you shake a stick at! The quick version is to mix 1oz of beans per 8oz of vodka. Cut up the beans nice and small; splitting them is even better! Put it all in a jar, and wait 4-6 months. Shake occasionally.
While I spent maybe an hour total to start these, then bottle them, it doesn’t quite qualify as a “quick” gift idea. Still, get them started now, bottle over the summer, and they will last forever! A cute label helps the gift go a long ways. Giving your baker friends vanilla extract means more cookies for you! What a deliciously devious gift.