nothavanas: (shortcake)
From Cook's Illustrated Sept/Oct 2009 issue, 1.5x

9/8 cup Everclear (instead of vodka, because we might drink our vodka)
1.5 vanilla beans, split and scraped as much as possible.

Vanilla into a clean empty lingonsylt jar, ethanol microwaved until boiling and poured over. (I am so not used to handling ethanol anymore. Density, viscosity, and boiling point are very different from water.) Mixture allowed to cool to room temperature. Jar sealed, shaken, and labeled "vanilla extract start 12-7-14".

Recipe says to shake gently every day for a week, then strain and store in a cool dark place.

Hm! A suggestion via Twitter is to dilute this all-ethanol extract with distilled water to get 65% water, 35% ethanol. I guess that is what is usually done. Now I am concerned about potency of this extract. There's only 5% water in the everclear. If some of the flavoring extracts into water, I won't be getting much of it. The recipe also doesn't call for diluting, since vodka is much more water-based. That means I might not have enough bean for the quantity of vodka present.
Best case, it won't matter, and I can just use this stuff straight. Worst case, I'll do a second extract with new beans into water, and then mix the two to get the right ethanol-water ratio.

Altered procedure after further discussion:

5.5 oz of above mixture was poured off, leaving behind solids and as much sediment as possible. An additional half of a vanilla bean was split, scraped, and added. 5.5 oz filtered water (brita pitcher) was heated to near-boiling in the microwave, then added. Solution is now cloudy. Allowed to cool to room temperature.


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