There is no need to buy vanilla extract, or most baking extracts for that matter, because a lot of them can be made at home. It may sound complicated and unnecessary to do this, but I can assure you it is much easier than you think. Most of the time making extracts entails steeping the flavoring ingredients in a liquor or sugar. Over time the liquid or sugar is infused with desired flavor and scent of the nut or bean that has been used. Sure, there are still unusual extracts at that I buy from the store. I haven’t figured out how to make King Arthur Flour’s Fiore de Sicilia, a creamsicle scented extract, for example, but I when I have I’ll let you know!
10 Easy Homemade Kitchen Extracts
1. Vanilla Extract: Here is Paula’s version of homemade vanilla extract.
2. Hazelnut Extract: 1 cup hazelnuts (toasted, skins removed), 1 split vanilla bean, 3/4 cup vodka. Add hazelnuts to a jar, add vodka, vanilla seeds and vanilla bean. Close and infuse for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain hazelnuts from extract. Sweeten the remaining hazelnuts with a dash of simple syrup if needed.
3. Almond Extract: Repeat process above for hazelnut extract substituting freshly ground toasted almonds instead. Steep mixture for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking the jar lightly once a day to stir up the almonds.
4. Vanilla Scented Sugar: Split a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds and add the bean to 2 cups of granulated sugar. Stir in the flavorings and store in a cool dry place for at least 10 days before using
5. Lemon Extract: Remove the rind of one medium lemon and remove ALL of the white pith. Chop up the remaining rind and pour it into a jar with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup vodka. Place in a cool dry place for one week. Strain out the lemon peel before using.
6. Orange Extract: Remove the rind of one medium orange and remove ALL of the white pith. Chop up the remaining rind and pour it into a jar with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup vodka. Place in a cool dry place for one week. Strain out the lemon peel before using.
7. Lime Extract: Remove the rind of three medium limes and remove ALL of the white pith. Chop up the remaining rind and pour it into a jar with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup vodka. Place in a cool dry place for one week. Strain out the lemon peel before using.
8. Peppermint Extract: Clean and dry fresh peppermint leaves. Finely chop 1/4 cup of dried peppermint leaves and place in a jar. Add 1/2 cup vodka and 1/2 cup filtered water. Shake the jar lightly once a day for about three weeks. Prior to using strained out the chopped leaves.
9. Strawberry Extract: Wash and hull 1 pound of strawberries and slice thin. Place in a pan over medium heat and bring to a boil with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the berries with cheesecloth. Return liquid to the pan and simmer until the berry water has reduced to a syrup. Allow to cool.
10. Lavender Sugar: Mix 1 tablespoon of culinary lavender, or washed, cleaned fresh lavender, with 2 cups granulated sugar. Allow to steep for at least one week before using.
These Raspberry Jam Bars are perfect for a back-to-school snack!