This year I got a little bit fancy with my food gifts.  I did make the normal baked goods but then, thanks to my little friend named “Pinterest,” I stumbled upon a fun project.

I decided to try my hand at homemade vanilla extract and I gotta say, it was SUPER fun and SUPER easy!  And, bonus… my family and friends love it!

You start like this…

You will need about 24 vanilla beans, which you can purchase here.  You will also need 12, 4 oz. jars, again, purchase here.  Lastly, you need a big ol’ bottle of vodka.

Cut each vanilla bean in half lengthwise and then in half again crossways (so you have 4 pieces).  Put 8 pieces (the equivalent of 2 whole beans) into each jar.  Pour vodka into each bottle.  This process goes smoother if you use a funnel or a liquid measuring cup.  Twist the cap on and that’s it!  You’re done!

The longer they sit the better, but they have to set for at LEAST a month.  So, it’s a good idea to label the bottles so you know when it’s ready to use.  Vanilla doesn’t expire so you can use it all year long!

My good friend Nikki, over at Pennies on a Platter, made a great downloadable label for these jars, which you can find here.

Vanilla extract makes a great gift any time of year, not just Christmas.  Valentines day, birthdays, housewarming gift, host/hostess gift or just because!