Joy the Baker

DIY Vanilla Salt and Vanilla Extract

November 14, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Salt

I’m stocking up.  I’m trying to be less of a disaster.  I’m trying to be thoughtful and prepared.

The road from this to that is paved with vanilla beans!

It’s time to get prepared for the holiday gift-giving season!  We need to be prepared with little tokens of love and holiday spirit from now until the very end of December.  Totally.  It’s true.  Hostess gifts, little gems for the mailman, a present for the landlord, a surprise gift for that neighbor you called in a panic past midnight because an opossum set off your sensor light outside and you’re convinced that someone is going to murder you… we need gifts to give, stat.

I’m slowly starting to stock up on this year’s holiday gifts.  I’m like a Doomsday Prepper,  without the guns and camouflage, and with more cute jars.

Let’s make our own vanilla salt and vanilla extract!  We’ll look like gifting pros.  Bandwagon:  hop on!

Homemade Vanilla Extract


Original photography shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital SLR. The filmmaker’s camera.

Maybe you’re reading this thinking to yourself… vanilla SALT!?

Yes.  Vanilla Salt.

One of my  most treasured baking ingredients (besides butter) is salt.  Salt is our great balancer.  It can’t all be sugar and butter and sugar and butter.  We need salt to balance out the sweetness and accentuate the flavors of our baked goods.

I substitute vanilla salt in most of my baking recipes.  It adds a nice little kick to things like pudding, cookie doughs, and caramel sauces.

This particular vanilla salt is made of coarse grey sea salt, so it’s best used in dishes that the salt can dissolve into, or dishes that you want to find a hint of extra salt in.  I really like Vanilla Salt sprinkled on top of these Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Cookies.

Of course, Vanilla Salt can also be made using a finer grain sea salt.

DIY Vanilla Salt

Print this Recipe!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Madagascar Vanilla Beans from Beanilla (I find these to be really great beans!)

Grey Celtic Sea Salt

Small Square Glass Jars or these Small Square Hinge Top Jars

Split vanilla beans vertically down the center of the bean and scrape out the moist seeds. Rub the vanilla beans into a small bowl of sea salt.  Rub it in.  Disperse the seeds.  I used about 1 bean per 3/4 cup of salt. Fill small jars with vanilla scented salt.  Toss in a small piece of the used vanilla bean pod for good measure.  It will help keep the salt extra vanilla-y. Vanilla salt will last forever and a day.


 Now let’s talk about Vanilla Extract!  It’s a staple in my kitchen.  It’s also my perfume (totally normal).

I love making my own Vanilla Extract because I can make it exactly what it needs to be:  strongly vanilla and heavily boozy.  Having a bottle of homemade vanilla extract on hand is also really helpful when you use vanilla beans for a recipe and don’t know what to do with the pods.  Just throw the used pods into the vanilla bean jar, top it off with booze, and you’ll always have extract on hand.

These little jars also make lovely gifts.  Nothing says “I care” to a baker  like vanilla beans and booze.

DIY Vanilla Extract

Print this Recipe!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Madagascar Vanilla Beans from Beanilla (I find these to be really great beans!)

4 oz Round Glass Bottles

Your choice of alcohol:  bourbon, vodka, or rum.  It’s entirely up to your taste.  I love the depth that bourbon adds to my extract (and my life).

Split vanilla beans vertically down the center of the bean and scrape out the moist seeds. Place seeds  in a clean bottles.  Add the scraped vanilla bean pod to the bottle as well.  Fill the bottle with the alcohol of your choice.  I used about 2 bean per 4 ounces of alcohol. If you’re using larger than 4oz bottles, add a few more vanilla beans to the jar.  Place the lid on the bottle and shake.  Allow the bottle to steep for at least 6 weeks before using.  I store my extract in a cool, dry place before using or gifting.  Extract will last indefinitely.  Just add more vanilla bean pods and top off with alcohol as the extract bottle empties.  

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