Homemade Vanilla Extract
2 cups vodka, rum or brandy
6 vanilla beans
Cut the vanilla beans longways all the way up until about 1" before the end. You don't want to cut the entire bean because it will fall apart. In tall bottles, put 2-3 beans in and fill to the top with your choice of liqueur. Let sit for about 2 months for the vanilla to infuse into the alcohol. Since you leave the vanilla beans in the bottle, when your bottles get low just refill with more alcohol. Some people like to strain it before use, but personally I like the little specks of bean that is left in it.
Finding the Vanilla Beans
E-Bay is a great place to find food-grade vanilla beans. I got mine from this this seller on ebay and had no problems. Sometimes small specialty stores have vanilla beans for sale locally, too. It just takes some searching.
Do you have something you like to make homemade instead of buying? Let me know in the comment section! I'd love to hear your ideas!