Every year I look forward to figuring out what I am going to make for Christmas presents. I make gifts for my friends and family – and they are always handmade. Each year it is something different – it just depends on what I am focusing on at the time!
I usually make things throughout the year and then figure out who they go to. My daughter says I am the only person she knows with a Christmas Present spread sheet. Haha. One year I knitted socks for everyone. Another year I painted and decorated clipboards and they each had a matching tablet to go with it. Card making is always a go-to for me, too.
Another year I made Vanilla Extract. The vanilla was a HUGE hit with everyone. They just loved it. Since I recently moved and now have a different set of friends…. AND my children are grown and out of the house and do their own cooking…..I decided to repeat the Vanilla Extract for Christmas this year. Homemade Vanilla Extract is so much better than store bought. Plus, it is so so so easy to make – Yay for easy!
It takes about 2-3 months for the beans and alcohol to become vanilla extract. If you are reading this and you only have a few weeks (or days) don’t despair – I have a few tricks at the end of this post so you can still make it and give as a gift.
I have included below –
All vanilla beans are not created equal. There are different origins and types of beans. The three main types are Madagascar, Tahitian, and Mexican vanilla beans, but vanilla beans are also grown in other parts of the world. I personally like the flavor of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans. I have never used Mexican Vanilla Beans. There are also different grades. I use Grade B since I am making vanilla extract. For cooking I buy Grade A — those beans are usually longer and plumper. You can buy them on Etsy or Amazon.
The complete supply list is right HERE: Vanilla Extract Supplies
(All supplies are linked in the text below and in the thumbnails at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.]
You need 5-6 vanilla beans per 8 oz. of alcohol. I made 12- 4 oz. bottles. So, I only needed 36 beans and 48 oz. of alcohol. The math: 8 oz. vodka = 5/6 beans.
And that is all there is to it. Apply a cute label and find a cute package. One year I used Pringles cans. I decorated them on the outside, added paper shred with the bottles inside. This year I am going to attempt to make a round ‘box’ on my Cricut. I will let you know if it becomes a reality!
Tie a cute piece of string or ribbon around the top and attach your tag.
Want to know how to print then cut the labels and tags?
Click on the button below.
If you don’t have time to let the vanilla brew than you can do this –
What do I do for my own stash of vanilla extract?
I make a half gallon of vanilla for myself. I keep it in a mason jar in a dark cabinet. I have my little 4 oz. bottle in the kitchen where I can reach it often. When it gets empty I refill it from my big jar. The beauty of vanilla is that it does not expire – all that alcohol keeps it fresh.
And there you have it – an awesome Christmas (or anytime gift) that is so easy to make. Everyone will be so in awe of your mad ‘cooking’ skills. Your girlfriends will love you and these make great teacher and bridal gifts, too.
Enjoy the process!