There couldn’t be two different levels of ease for these two recipes; the first is a no-brainer, and the second is only made complicated for those living in America, whose government seems to think you can’t think for yourselves anymore… because they’ve made the key ingredient for almond extract illegal, when it can be purchased in any grocery store in Europe… I’ll sympathize with Americans on this, if you’ll sympathize with me about having very limited access to very expensive crafts supplies here in Switzerland…
On with the show!
1 bottle of vodka – it can be the most inexpensive one on the shelf – it won’t effect the quality of the end-product.
1-3 vanilla beans
Slit the beans lengthwise, making sure just to slice one side and not all the way through. Slip the beans into the bottle of vodka (or whichever decorative bottle you choose that you’ve filled with vodka) and set aside for at least 2 weeks. Whala. Top up the vodka occasionally, toss in a new bean occasionally, and you’ve got an endless supply of top-quality (no additives, preservatives or chemicals) vanilla extract!
1 bottle of vodka – ditto as above
a few drops of bitter almond essence
(Photo credit and order possibility: www.bakerybits.co.uk). If possible, use an alcohol-based, rather than oil-based concentrate. Both work, however with oil-based you’ll need to shake it before each use, and store it in a dark, cool place to prevent the oil from going off.
Mix the essence together with the vodka, and set aside for a few days to two weeks (depending on how strong you’ve made the mixture – experiment to your own tastes). A good gauge is if you have some brand of imitation almond extract on hand, to taste and smell the comparison until you get the balance right to your liking.