If you are an avid baker, you may already be familiar with how easy it is to make vanilla extract. But that is not the only extract that can be easily (and cheaply) made at home! A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at making several different types of homemade extracts, which I am happy to report, pretty much all turned out well.
I started by washing and drying 5 glass bottles I purchased at the container store. I just washed them out with soap and water, then I dried them in a warm oven. This not only makes sure they are bone dry, but they also get sterilized in the process.
Once the glasses were nice and dry, I filled them up with a pretty arbitrary amount of chopped almonds, lavender, coffee beans, lemon peel, and vanilla beans. Making extract isn’t really an exact science. The more of ingredients you put in the bottle, the more intense the flavor will be. But you can also get an intense flavor by letting those ingredients sit in the vodka for a longer period of time.
Then I just topped off each bottle with vodka. It doesn’t have to be the best vodka around, but don’t go too cheap. You want to make sure that the extract tastes like coffee or vanilla, not flavored vodka.
Unfortunately, unlike other recipes, you won’t be able to enjoy this one for at least 4-6 weeks. To get a rich and flavorful extract, the vanilla beans, coffee beans, almonds, lemon peel, lavender buds, etc. need to sit and release their flavor for quite a while. But if you are patient, you will have yourself some great, homemade extracts that can be used for any of your baking purposes.
For some of the extracts, you may want to strain out beans/buds/nuts. For instance, I strained out the coffee beans, almonds, and lavender buds. But I kept the vanilla bean and lemon peel. Both are big enough that they won’t be poured out when I use the extract. Plus, I can keep topping off the bottle after use.
Just a side note, the coffee extract is very strong so use sparingly. And the almond extract is not as strong as the store bough variety. Honestly, I will probably stick with my store-bought almond extract.
Have you made any other type of extract?