Vanilla is one of my favorite smells and flavors. So much so, that whenever I bake, I double the amount of vanilla the recipe calls for. A few years ago I read Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, a book about which foods are worth it to make from scratch at home, and which foods you should just buy ready made (an excellent book - well worth the read). The author made her own vanilla extract and blew my mind! I was shocked to find out there are only two ingredients.
So I made my first batch of vanilla that week, using vanilla beans from amazon.com and cheap vodka. Delicious! (And much cheaper than $12 for the 1/4 cup or 60 mL bottles they sell at the grocery story.) I'm on the last dregs of that original batch so I made more over the weekend. Now, to wait patiently for 3 months! :)
Basically, you cut 8-10 vanilla beans down the center and scrape the insides into the jar. Throw in the bean pods and 1 1/2 to 2 cups vodka. The vodka will still be clear when you first pour it into the jar, but it darkens up quickly. Store in a dark place for 3 long months until it's ready.
This is about 10 minutes later after all the beans and vodka were added:
Do you use vanilla extract often?