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Posts tagged ‘baking’

6 Quick Steps To Make Your Own Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract

 

Did you know you can make your own pure vanilla extract at home with just a few ingredients? It’s not a mystery any longer and it’s a lovely gift to give to your favorite baker. As with any homemade product, there are several benefits to making your own. For one, you get to choose the quality of ingredients and know exactly what is in your vanilla extract. This means, you will have the highest quality vanilla extract available without anything artificial.

A few years back we decided as a family to give handcrafted gifts for the holidays instead of purchasing them. I was in search of what I could make that would be both fun and practical. That’s when I learned that I could make my own pure vanilla extract. Why had I not thought of this before?  Considering that nearly everything that is mass produced now were once made at home, it’s not that crazy of a thought that I could produce a gift that my family and friends would enjoy.

 

Vanilla bean pods

So what is pure vanilla extract? It is simply the extract (flavor and aroma) from the vanilla beans that have been immersed in alcohol (usually vodka because of it’s neutral flavor, but sometimes brandy or rum) over a period of time. The FDA requires;

“In vanilla extract the content of ethyl alcohol is not less than 35 percent by volume and the content of vanilla constituent, as defined in 169.3(c), is not less than one unit per gallon.”

So that means the vanilla extract you’ll find in the store, is 70 proof (35% alcohol) and it contains 13.35 oz of bean per gallon of alcohol which would produce a single strength vanilla extract. After more research I found that some bakers prefer a double strength vanilla extract and others do not. I am guessing it is a matter of preference.  I lean toward loving the scent of vanilla and enjoy baking with it so my recipe may have a wee bit more vanilla than others but since I’m making my own and not planning to sell it I can follow whatever guideline works for our baking needs and that is a nice pure vanilla extract that flavors our baked goods without overpowering them.

The vanilla bean grows from a kind of tropical orchid. The fruit starts out as a hard green pod and the greenish white flowers (missing in this photo) and in a natural setting are dependent on bees to pollinate them, but now in modern times they can be artificially pollinated.  These vanilla beans are picked unripe and then submerged in hot water to remove their protective cover and allow for the natural liquids to seep out. They are then allowed to dry in the sunlight and ferment. When they have turned brown and covered with a layer of vanillin crystals the vanilla beans are ready.

 

Kauai'i - Green vanilla pods on the vine -Steel Grass Chocolate tour

Unripe vanilla bean pods on the vine in Kauai

 

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Palets de Dames- Tuesdays with Dorie

What fun we had making these little treats.
I have a new baking and blogging partner this year and she writes about her experience over at Jumpin Bean.

We just joined the Baking Chez Moi, Tuesdays with Dorie Group  as part of her homeschooling adventures and a fun way to spend some quality family time together. We are looking forward to sharing our new experiences with you and baking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook Baking Chez Moi as well as learning from our new blogging community!

 

Little Treats

We have cooked with Dorie’s recipes before and have always found her recipes to be clear and concise, so Eva took the lead both in baking and with the camera. I fell to as the prep chef and camera help for this recipe.

Flour starting out

 

We used King Arthur flour this time but next go we decided we would play around with Bluebird Grain Farms Einka Flour and see how it turns out. Eva wanted to do this because she knows Einka flour is packed with nutrients and that could potentially sway me when she asks “just one more, please?”

 

All lined upI am doing my job here as prep chef.

Mix it up

This is Eva’s favorite part, mixing it up and adding the ingredients.

Palet de Dames

The Palets de Dames are ready for the oven. Sadly we don’t have a photo of the finished product, not one. They were eaten so fast and shared with friends that we forgot to snap the shot. We will leave you to your imagination or if you just can’t handle not knowing you can peek at our new blogging communities posts and I am sure you’ll see a final photo there!

happy baking,

 

Head Shot RachelleRachelle and Eva @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

 

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