Vanilla Extract ~ Orange Sugar ~ Watercolor Tags
There is nothing better than receiving a decadent little something on your doorstep. Allison of La Fete, and I had the idea that it would be fun to work on our Christmas projects together, focusing on simple, affordable and delicious, because let’s be honest, I probably wasn’t going to be doing it on my own. We started with Madagascar Vanilla for our friend and neighbor gifts, and then thought of adding the orange infused sugar too, because really, why not? Who wouldn’t love to use some fancy sugar on their Christmas morning crêpes! We had so much fun making these! Allison’s house smelled amazing, I kept sneaking sugar, and the kids were playing musical parade! Lucy has a surprise talent with the harmonica. Who knew? We finished them off with some red and white twine, and these darling Homemade By tags, created by the AMAZING Jayne Swallow, of October Ink. We played around with watercolors, but you could also use some color pencils, and it would be a great project to involve the kids on! Coloring is Lucy’s favorite, so I’m putting her sweet talents to work. Bonus! You can download the free Christmas tag printable from Jayne’s website here! Also, instructions and supplies for the vanilla extract and orange infused sugar are listed below. Merry Homemade Christmas!
Homemade Madagascar Vanilla Extract: 4 ounces of Vodka, 2 vanilla beans, extract grade.
This might be the easiest thing I’ve ever made and the vanilla smells sooo good! The recipe takes all of 2 steps, so it doesn’t get much simpler. We decided on four ounce bottles, which equals half a cup. You could also double (or quadruple this recipe!) We went with a straight Vodka here, the
cheapest best we could find. Next time I think I will try Bourbon with Mexican Vanilla Beans. You could even put the beans straight in the bottle, if you are making the extract just for you. No judgement here. Sharing is hard. These are also super affordable. Our price breakdown per 4 ounces was a grand total of $2.50-$.70 for the bottle, $.80 for the liquor and $1.00 for two vanilla beans.
1-Split the vanilla beans, and cut to fit into bottles. We cut ours in half, so we put in 4 half-vanilla beans.
2-Top off with vodka, seal, and store in a cool, dark place.
3-Shake once a week for 8 weeks.
4-At the end of 8 weeks, your extract is ready! You can remove the pods, and strain out the vanilla bits of yumminess, but I think I will just remove the vanilla pods. I want to keep as much goodness as possible in these.
Voila! Easy peasy. Don’t worry if you don’t have yours done 8 weeks before Christmas (I didn’t.) Just add some instructions on your tag, or a little sticker with the ready by date.
Orange Sugar: A whole bunch of sugar, and some orange zest
Hows that’s for being official? This is another super easy project. We just combined sugar and orange zest, to taste. We used a mortar and pestle, but for larger quantities, you could use a food processor or blender. The orange zest is strong, so sprinkle judiciously and test as you go. Next time I think I will play around with different fruits–Pomegranate and Turbinado sugar, maybe? I’m planning on keeping my orange sugar on the counter, for when the fancy-pants mood strikes.
Homemade Tags at October Ink: I printed ours at Kinkos
La Fete Floral: Design genius of Allison Baddley
Madagascar Vanilla Beans: I bought extract grade beans. They aren’t as pretty and plump, but are more concentrated in flavor.
Extract Jars: If you live in Utah, you can pick these up and save some $$ on mailing.
Red and White Twine: Maison Confiserie et Boutique
Weck Jars: At your local kitchen supply store.