Good Monday Morning to you all!
Today’s post is an exciting post full of four fun extracts that you make at home for Christmas gifts, or for your own baking cupboards! They take six weeks in your cupboard before use, and then you can just add to them from there. The longer they sit, the better that they are, and so now is the time to make them for an amazing gift for those family members and friends who love to putter in the kitchen.
I dont know if you have noticed, but with the prices of things creeping up, extracts have become more and more expensive, and the cookie platters we make every year for friends and neighbors have started to cost almost as much as just purchasing a gift for them would!
I saw this idea floating around over on the Canning for Christians Facebook page, and a few others. After a good amount of research, I decided to make three that I KNEW would work out, and one that I was not sure how it would turn out due to the ingredients I was using.
Here are the simple instructions for four different extracts, which couldn’t be simpler to make. 🙂
Vanilla, Almond, Mint, and  Cinnamon Extracts for Baking
Here is the collection of items you will need for making 4 pint jars of extracts. 6 Vanilla beans, 1 cup of almonds. 1/4 cup dried mint leaves, 3 cinnamon sticks, 1.75 liter of clear vodka, 4 pint jars, a funnel, a coffee grinder, and 4Tbs of distilled water. Plus lids and rings to close off the jars when done.
 Just place your cinnamon sticks in one of the clean pint jars….
 Use 1/4 cup of mint leaves from your jar, or, if you dont have any, you can use six mint tea bags. Just put the tea bags in the way they are, after removing the strings and tags. My mint came from my garden, and this is my peppermint, which is stronger in flavor.
You want a strong mint to do this.
 Next comes your 1 cup of almonds. Now, this one is my experiment one, because you are supposed to use something called bitter almonds, that makes true almond extract. But I thought I would try it since we use it all the time, and I had it on hand. You can either try it with me, or wait to see what happens in six weeks. 🙂 Use your coffee grinder and whir those babies around a couple times.
 Not looking for perfect, but for banged around so that the almond is easier to penetrate.
 I used a canning funnel to place the almonds from the grinder into the jar. Just less mess that way.
Next lets talk about the vanilla beans. I purchased mine from Olive Nation, which is having a free shipping sale right now. You need six beans for this recipe, but they last forever when stored well, so I bought a bunch of Madagascar vanilla beans. The smell when I opened the bag made me want to eat them right out of the bag.
If only I had smell-o-vision.
 I cut each bean in half so they fit into the pint jars, and then cut right up the middle, leaving the ends together. After making this, did you know you can dry these, and then bury them in sugar and after a few weeks have vanilla sugar for baking or flavoring? Bonus! Its a two-fer!
 All our ingredients in the jars, from L-R, top to bottom,
we have mint, almond meal,
cinnamon and vanilla beans,
that are halved and split.
Add 1 Tbs of water to each jar to help the water-soluable ingredients
better release their taste for the…..
 Now for the bad boy of the whole process. 80 proof.
Clear. Smells…well, hardly at all.
Top off the jars with this stuff until it is all gone.
Dont drink it.
Well, I wouldn’t anyhow.
 It uses the whole bottle to fill 4 jars.
Seriously. I did NOT drink any of this.
Cap the jars, give ’em a shake
 (because you know you want to), and admire them.
Such hard work for such yummy extracts.
Because you KNOW you slaved over them, right? 🙂
Finally, stick them in a dark cupboard where you can take them and shake them once a day.
See my dark cupboard? LOL
Right next to the sink, and right in front of the orange vinegar I use for cleaning all the time. If you want to read about that, and how I make it,
That’s it. Six weeks, and you will have lovely vanilla, cinnamon, mint and (hopefully) almond extract for gifts and for yourself. I plan on packaging up mine in pretty bottles I can find all over, at the dollar store, thrift stores, etc.  If you want to buy some, I found some neat ones here:
You can also find mint leaves there, as well as anything else you might want as far as herbs. I use them quite frequently, and their products are awesome. 🙂
Hope you have a wonderful Monday!
Many blessings to you and yours,
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