Wow when you do a fair bit of baking, the vanilla essence/extract bottle seems to disappear like nobody's business! I had been thinking of making up some myself, as it will also be great for Xmas gifts. And you need to get started now, as it takes up to 8 weeks of steeping to mature.
So I split some beans, and threw them into a jar with some vodka; some recipes suggest bourbon or other hard liquor, but I think watching the clear liquid turn beautifully brown over the weeks is more fun! I can't believe how much it has changed after just one day; it is already looking mysteriously and sumptuously golden brown.
You need to give it a shake a couple of times a week, and then after 6-8 weeks, bottle it and give some away to lucky friends and family for Xmas.
6 plump moist vanilla beans
500 mls (2 cups) of vodka (or other liquor of your choice)
Slit the beans in half horizontally after cutting into 2 or 3 pieces
Place them in the bottom of a jar
Pour over the vodka
Let it steep for at least 6 weeks
Strain it and bottle it
You can place a piece or 2 of the beans into each bottle for extra flavour.