By Sarah Laitzel
I love finding unique, useful gifts that I can make and give to my family and friends each year. Sometimes it’s homemade bread and cookies, maybe a scarf or some canned goods from the summers bounty. I not only do it to save money but to add a heartfelt personal touch. This year, I decided to try my hand at homemade extracts for baking with. They turned out so well, are pretty, and so EASY to make. I made vanilla, orange, and lemon extracts, good for cookie, bread, and cake recipes. For the vanilla extract, simply buy a 750 mL bottle of white or light rum ( no need to break the bank), and 9-10 vanilla beans (amazon.com). Split the beans but don’t cut through and add them to the bottle of rum. Recap and let sit for 3-4 weeks before bottling in smaller 1-4oz bottles to give away. For the orange and lemon extract, coursely grate 4 or 5 oranges and lemons onto separate plates or cutting boards and divide gratings between 4-5 4 oz bottles. Fill with vodka and cap. Allow these to sit for several weeks as well. Tie on a cute label with some twine and ribbon and they are ready to go!
Visit my blog at simplysarahliving.wordpress.com for additional thoughts, short stories, and poetry.