Making your own extracts not only saves you money, but delivers a delicious product every single time. Frugal, fantastic, and perfect for gift-giving, homemade extracts for baking and cookings are so easy, and literally take a few minutes of your time for an amazing result.
I blogged about this last year around Thanksgiving, because I wanted to learn how to make these. As a baker who loves to make Christmas platters of cookies, or pies for folks as a love gift for the holidays, I was spending quite a bit of money on extracts, only to end up without any leftovers for my own baking the rest of the year. So think of this post as not only containing new recipes, but as an update from last year’s post that is still SO popular here on the House.
Frankly, I have been blown away by the results. For a very small cost, I can make ten times the amount of extract compared to what I can buy in a store year-round, and I am completely in control of how it turns out. For example, you know that wonderful company that sells double strength extracts? I love their items, but refuse to pay the price.
Well this year, I loved the cinnamon extract SO MUCH, that I doubled the amount of cinnamon sticks in the jar, threw in a vanilla bean, and Â it was fabulous.
And that was it.
So here are my extracts I now have distilling in my cupboard for this Christmas and year round baking, with directions to make all of them. You might want to bookmark this post, because I plan on sharing lots of recipes over the holiday season that will use these!
Take two cinnamon sticks, and place in a clean pint jar. Cover to top with clear 80% proof vodka, any kind will do. Cap tightly, place in dark cupboard, shake every day or as often as you remember for six weeks. Use in any recipe that calls for 1 tsp of cinnamon or more. I use it in stir fries, coffee cakes, and even in flavoring coffee for “those” mornings.
Take 1/4 cup mint tea leaves, Â and place in a pint jar. Cover with the vodka, and cap tightly. Leave about 1 inch space between the top of the liquid and the cap. The leaves will float at first, and this one is a little messy to make but SO WORTH IT. It will need to be shaken for six weeks, then strained, but will make some of the best mint extract you have ever tasted. Last year I tried peppermint leaves instead of spearmint, and while it was good, it was a little sharper tasting than I expected. So use spearmint leaves instead, as it has a milder but warmer mint flavor.
Yep, this is a new one. I love making ourÂ Citrus Sunshine Breakfast CakeÂ throughout the winter and cold months as it brings a spot of brightness in taste and flavor while it is baking. A couple months ago I tried this combination in an extract and fell instantly in love with using it. It is so versatile that we have used it in baking AND cooking, and with everything from that same cake to coconut chicken curry. Take one orange, and remove the entire peel, cutting into thin strips, then place in a clean pint jar. Add six whole cloves, and fill with vodka, leaving a 1 inch space between liquid and cap. Store, shake, and enjoy in six weeks, which is the perfect time for bottling up and sharing for holiday gifts, if you can bear to spare some.
Double Strength Vanilla Extract:
I mean, you can’t have too much of something amazing right? I would encourage you, if you want to make some amazing gifts for family, this would be a total winner, so make it in a quart jar. Â These are the direction for a pint jar, just double it: Â Take five vanilla beans and cut into pieces, and place into a clean pint jar. Cover with vodka, leaving a 1 inch space between liquid and cap. Â Store, shake, give it six weeks, and be amazed. You can get vanilla beans right here for the best price and best quality, and your purchase can support my family just a little each time.
(see that image at the top? Yep that is what it looks like before adding liquid)
Total new favorite as this smells amazing when you first make it, but after six weeks is one of those incredible and versatile extracts I have fallen in love with. This extract makes the very best gingersnap cookies I have ever tried, one of the recipes that will be coming up in our HomeSpun Christmas lineup that is right around the corner. I have made homemade vanilla pudding and ice cream with it, as well as flavored an incredible cheesecake that my family LOVES. You can’t go wrong with this extract. Another variation if you like Mexican food, is add the peel of one lime to it, and it makes a fabulous addition to your spanish rice, or enchilada filling. Take one small piece of Ginger, about the size of two of your thumbs, and cut into pieces. Make sure to cut enough that you expose as much surface as you can. And yes, leave the peel on. Then cut up two vanilla beans and mix together. Place in a jar and cover with vodka to one inch of the cap. Cover, store, and shake for six weeks, then strain out pieces of ginger and vanilla. It will knock your socks off with how good it is.
If you have issues with using vodka, you can use glycerin instead, the extracts however will need to be kept for a shorter period of time and once opened, in the fridge until they are gone. Alcohol extracts can last for 5 years or more, but glycerin have a shelf life of, at most, one year. To make glycerin extract you use the same amounts of materials listed, but add half water and half glyercin to cover. It will also extract the goodness and flavors from the materials used.
I hope you are excited and planning ahead for Christmas! I am ready to fully enjoy the holidays with my family, starting with sitting around a table loaded with goodness straight from the hand of the Lord, and be reminded fully of how thankful I am for His provision for my family this year.
Blessings to you and yours,Â
PS–if you are reading the other article from last year about making extracts DON’T waste your time on making the almond one. It did not turn out well at all, and that is because you need to actually use something called bitter almonds (not regular edible almonds) for that flavoring, something we will be touching on again later this year.