Baking cookies has always been a guilty pleasure for me. The first recipe I ever created was a monstrous cookie adapted from three distinct recipes. Even as an adult, I have a well-practiced system that ensures perfection each and every time. However, there is one special ingredient that makes my cookies even more unique than the rest – spiced rum vanilla extract.
Let’s face it. Really good vanilla extract is extremely expensive. This is especially true because it’s a critical ingredient for a vast majority of my baking. So I started to research ways to create my own extract and discovered it’s really quite simple. A majority of the recipes found in cyberspace recommend using quality vodka as the base. The pureness of the vodka tends to allow the vanilla flavor to shine through. However, I always found the final result to be a bit flat. So I decided to experiment with other spirits to see if I could create something more robust.
Spiced rum offers caramel notes and warmth that complements the vanilla in wonderfully rich ways. It also helps to bring out the flavor of other spices in my recipes including cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. This recipe is unique enough for holiday gifts. I simply divide the finished extract into clear bottles with a few spare beans to showcase its homemade glory. Then a quick tie of raffia completes the overall look for a perfect gift for the holidays.
- 1 (750 ml) bottle spiced rum with screw cap (Captain Morgan)
- 8 whole vanilla beans
- time and patience
- Remove ¼ cup of rum from the bottle to allow for liquid displacement. Carefully cut a slit, without piercing through, down the length of each vanilla bean.
- Carefully add each bean to the bottle of rum. Replace the cap and gently mix by tipping the bottle. Allow to sit in a cool dark place for 6-8 weeks. Occasionally tip the bottle to blend the flavors.