A note from Ashley: this post first appeared as a guest post by me on Going Home to Roost. I wanted to republish this recipe because over a year later, I can finally give my results: THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. I was so sad when it was gone. I really need to have a batch brewing at all times. Not only is it more intensely fresh vanilla-flavored, but it is a lot less expensive. Why buy cheap, imitation vanilla, when you can get the real thing for a similar price?
This is also a great time to review this project, because the holidays are in a few months, and if you get started now, you could have plenty of bottles of homemade vanilla extract ready for gift-giving.
1 vanilla bean
3 ounces of vodka
Starting 1/2" from top of vanilla bean, slice length-wise down the bean, and stop 1/2" from bottom of bean. fold bean in half, and place in air-tight container. Fill the container to the top with vodka. Store in a dark place for two months, when it is ready to use. Shake occasionally.
Glass containers with corks would work perfectly - I used a plastic, screw-top bottle I picked up at Hobby Lobby. Handmade vanilla extract makes a fantastic gift - even after the extract is used up, the bottle with the bean still in it can be re-filled with vodka to make extract again.