Vanilla extract is really simple to make, the only thing is that you have to wait a few weeks before you can use it, but its really worth it money-wise compared to commercial extracts. There are only two ingredients, the vanilla pods and spirit alcohol. The traditional alcohol to use is vodka, but other spirits have their benefits. I use dark rum as I think it adds something to the flavour, but you could use brandy or whisky as well.
1) Cut open three vanilla pods length ways, and cut into halves or thirds so that they will be submerged by the liquid. 2) Cover with about 240ml of your chosen alcohol in a sealable jar or bottle and replace the lid tightly. 3) Shake occasionally and leave for about two months before using. You can top up with alcohol every so often to prolong it, and it will keep for years. Your home-made extract will be stronger than shop-bought ones, so use sparingly. Click on the label below to find recipes with vanilla.