Vanilla Extract is used in almost every baking recipe. It is one of those essential ingredients, that can get expensive if you only use high quality products. I'll admit that when I just started to bake I did not use pure vanilla - I probably didn't even know I was using the fake stuff. After a while I started to taste the difference between high quality baked goods and the standard quality. Isn't funny how your palate gets sensitive all of a sudden?
I currently try to only buy the best ingredients (for example: I never use chocolate lower than 60% cocoa), but this can cause a dent in your pocket. What's the solution? make homemade vanilla extract! This is a long process, but not hard, all you need to do is put vodka and a couple of vanilla beans in a jar and wait. Awesome right? I must say that the first time you will use your homemade vanilla extract will be so great.
Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract
Adapted From Martha Stewart Living
2 vanilla beans split lengthwise
1 cup vodka
1 cup vodka
Place vanilla beans in a clean jar with lid. Pour vodka over beans, and place lid on jar. Allow to sit in a cool dark place for 2 to 4 months, shaking jar occasionally.
NOTE: If you happen to bake something with vanilla beans during this time, don't throw out the pod! Simply add it to the jar - this will help deepen the flavor.