Sunday, November 13, 2011

Edible Christmas Gifts #1- Homemade Vanilla Extract

Welcome to my Edible Christmas Gift series!

One of my favorite Christmas gifts to give is a gift basket full of homemade treats.  It is such a thoughtful and personalized gift.  

You can customize the basket to the recipient's taste.  Baskets can have many different themes; coffee lovers, chocolate lovers, breakfast baskets, or baskets for kids just to name a few.    

I know that I have been there many times.  You're stuck thinking "What on earth am I going to get for this person?"  Maybe a gift basket would be the perfect present.  I have always thought a gift that you can eat or use is always a good gift!

Have someone in mind, but think a basket might be too big?  Perfect... you can still make some tasty treats and put them in a pretty gift bag.  Any way you package it, edible gifts will make a nice gift!  

The first gift I am going to show you is Homemade Vanilla Extract.  Now, I cannot take full credit for this idea.  I never realized how you can make vanilla extract until last Christmas when my sister, Gail, made vanilla extract as part of a gift basket.  Once I used all the of extract, I kept the bottle that she made it in with the vanilla beans inside.  I simply put a new vanilla bean inside and added new vodka.  

Here's how it works.

All you need is:
  • a bottle to keep the vanilla extract in
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • vodka
Simple enough right?!  

  • Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and put inside of the bottle.
  • Fill the bottle up almost full with the vodka. 
  • Shake the bottle up to get the vanilla beans to come out of the pod.  It will start off very light in color.  The longer it sits, the more the color develops.
  • Store in a dark, cool place for 1-2 months.  Shake 1-2 a week.  

Vanilla extract on Day 1.

Vanilla extract on Day 14.

After I started this vanilla extract, I ended up using all of my vanilla bean paste.  There were still lots of vanilla bean specks in the bottle and I didn't want to waste them!  So, I just added some vodka and shook it up.  Now, I am letting it sit for a few weeks to then use as vanilla extract!

After you let your vanilla extract sit in a dark, cool place for a month or two, simply add a pretty peel and stick label on the front.  Either hand write it or print it from the computer.  Print labels look nice and professional, and a hand written label gives that real homemade feel.  

So now you have your first edible gift idea.  Once we have made a few things, I will show you how I wrap everything up as a gift basket or gift bag!

Keep an eye out for the next gift idea coming soon!  


  1. Shhh! You're giving away all of my secrets! In all seriousness, this is a great gift idea. And SO easy. You can also use dark rum instead of vodka, but the vodka probably offers the purest taste, while using rum might impart some residual sweetness.

    Thanks for the props! Can't wait for the next idea.

  2. Thanks for the great idea of using Rum instead of Vodka! Both work great :-)

  3. I am going to try this. Love your posts.