Regular readers will know that we are huge Pinterest fans. Every visit, I find something new and different to inspire us; whether it be a craft project, recipe, an amazing up-cycling project or a beautiful holiday destination. It's like the perfect, endless, glossy magazine full of amazing images. I am aware, of course, that some of these glorious images must have teams of designers behind them, and that not everything that we see on there has been thrown together on a kitchen table, in the way you and I might!
There are a few pins that I come across again and again, and each time a little voice in my head says 'I wonder if that really works?' Well, there is only one way to find out! Welcome to our series of Pin-Tested; where Craft Invaders try out crafty pins that inspire us, and find out how easy it is to recreate that pin at home.
There are lots of pins on Pinterest for making home-made extracts, and each one recommends using a different base spirit. Since we couldn't establish which one would give the best result, we decided to make 3 batches; Brandy, Irish Whiskey and Vodka.
The process itself is super simple.
Simply split or cut up some good quality Vanilla pods, and add to your spirit base, ensuring the pods are totally immersed in the spirit. We used Madagascan beans, which have what most of us would consider the traditional vanilla flavour.
We used 3 large pods per jar, and approximately 100-150mls of spirit. Simply cut the pods into lengths that will sit easily within the spirit, place in a clean, glass jar, and pour the spirit over the top. Some recipes add a little water or sugar at this stage, but we didn't.
Pop the jars in a dark, cool cupboard, taking them out a couple of times a month (or whenever you remember) to give them a shake. The general consensus is that you need to leave it to steep for 4-6 months. We have just started using ours and it's about 5 months old.
We are really pleased with our results. We are using our home made extract as a direct substitute to shop bought in recipes (my daughter used it today in her Valentine Cupcakes shown below) and it has a lovely concentrated vanilla flavour. We are keeping ours in the jars we made it in, with the vanilla pods, so it can continue to mature. And as for the one we like best? We had a family vote, and we all agree that the Brandy base smells and tastes the nicest, so that's the one we would recommend!