If you’re anything like me, you’re already starting to gather your supplies for Christmas crafting . . . because we know (from experience!) that getting started early makes the whole process so much more enjoyable than rushing at the last minute. Anything, then, that can be done ahead of time is completely worth considering.
But, what about food gifts, can they really be started early? I think so! Granted, not your cookies and cakes, but there is a very common ingredient that’s in nearly 75% of all the Christmas baking recipes I make that I think qualifies. I’ve experimented with this delectable elixir throughout the year also to discover that it adds a depth of flavor and richness to recipes that don’t actually call for it. It’s both the perfect gift for your culinary friends and for use in your own Christmas baking. The best part is you can make it yourself for about 5 times less than if you bought it at the grocery store! But, you must start now. The ingredient is . . .
PURE VANILLA EXTRACT!
It’ll take you only about half an hour to make it, and then another 4-6 months for it to develop into its delicious goodness. All you’ll need to do in December is fill some fun bottles, and wrap! Here’s the recipe I use:
1 750 ml bottle of inexpensive vodka
24 vanilla beans (check Amazon if you’re grocer doesn’t carry them)
- Pour out about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of the vodka and set it aside.
- Split the vanilla beans and scrape the seeds out.
- Funnel the seeds into the bottle, cap it and shake gently to combine.
- Add the vanilla pods to the bottle and the vodka that was set aside in step one, and cap.
- Stash the bottle away in the basement or other dark, cool place for 6 months.
That’s it! When the vodka is dark and syrupy, it’s ready! Pick up some cute little bottles, fill and give as gifts to your culinary friends. They’ll think of you every time they bake.