Honey, Let's Make Vanilla Paste
Updated: Aug 1
At the beginning of quarantine I cleaned out my pantry about the same time I was getting low on vanilla extract.
Finding some very old vanilla beans, I decided to see if I could breathe new life into them by submerging them in vodka to make my own extract.
Four montha have gone by, and I have begun to use the homemade vanilla. It smells wonderful and tastes great in my baked goods.
Since I had success with the extract, I wondered if I could also make my own vanilla paste.
I love using vanilla paste most of the time that vanilla is called for. It's easier to deal with than futzing with a vanilla bean, less expensive, tastes amazing and gives you those beautiful brown specks that shout vanilla.
In the past I have bought Nielsen-Massey brand vanilla bean paste at Williams Sonoma.
I remembered it costing around 25 dollars for a jar, which would last me a very long time.
Last I checked, however, the paste had gone up to about 37 dollars. And I've also been using vanilla more than twice as much as I used to.
A little research showed that you can make homemade versions of vanilla paste using corn syrup, agave and I even found one version with stevia.
The tip that interested me the most was a hack utilizing honey and the vanilla beans that have been soaking in vodka to make vanilla extract.
Though six months of steeping is recommended to make extract, it is usable after 8 weeks. Mine had been steeping for 16 weeks. We were good to go.
After straining my homemade extract into a jar, I chopped the remaining beans into quarters.
I wasn't allowed to finish the process because Remy wandered into the kitchen and wanted to do everything herself.
She picked up by throwing the beans into the food processor with some honey.
Then, she strained the mixture through a small sieve placed over a funnel. She funneled the vanilla paste into a small Ball jar.
The extract, without beans soaking in it, is good indefinitely.
The vanilla bean paste is good for a year.
I was so pleased with the experiment that I have ordered vanilla beans so I can make more of both.
E-bay, I found, is the most cost effective place to buy vanilla beans. About 5 beans make 8 ounces of vanilla extract.
I recently bought 20 Grade A Madagascar beans for 32 dollars.
That's enough to make 32 ounces of vanilla extract, and about 16 ounces of vanilla paste.
Tahitian and Mexican vanilla beans are even less expensive.
One ounce of McCormick vanilla extract is selling for about $5.50 at Target.
That's a pretty substantial savings, even factoring in the cost of the honey and vodka.
Not to mention that making your own staples from scratch is fun.
Next I plan to try my hand at vanilla sugar and vanilla extract made with bourbon.
I'll let you know how they turn out.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions on make your own extracts, flavorings or staples of any kind, please drop me a note in the comment section below. I'd love to hear from you!
8 ounces vodka
5 or 6 vanilla.beans
We used Madagascar beans, but Tahitian and Mexican beans are options you can choose. I chose Madagascar those are they type of bean used in the paste I've previously purchased.
Split beans down the middle lengthwise. You do not have to go all of the way through the bean.
Submerge beans in the vodka, in a bottle or jar with a lid.
Place in a cool area away from the sunlight.
Give the bottle or jar a shake every week or so.
It is usable after 8 weeks, but best after 6 months.
Vanilla Paste Hack
5 vanilla beans, previously soaked in vodka
1/2 cup honey
Chop the beans into quarters. Place in a food processor with the honey. Process until the beans are incorporated.
Scrape the mixture out of the processor and into a small sieve placed over a funnel and into the container you plan to use for storage. Use a spatula to press down on the mixture until the paste has gone through the funnel. Discard the remaining pulp.
* You can use more or less beans depending on the taste you want to achieve, the size of the bean and the type of bean.
Here's where I found the vanilla paste hack: https://veenaazmanov.com/homemade-vanilla-bean-paste-baking-basic/