I put up my first batch of home-made vanilla extract on Oct.2--just now got around to trying it. Pure Heaven! If there are any bakers here who are not yet making your own, you have to try this! There's no comparison with the commercial product.
It couldn't be simpler: you put your vanilla beans in a bottle or jar with vodka or something else to draw out the goodness, cap it tightly, remember to give it a shake once day or so, and wait for a month or two. I put two good beans in 8oz. of vodka, and another two in 8oz. of brandy to see which I would like better. The vodka will work better for general baking-- a cleaner vanilla flavor. But in anything where a shot of brandy might be nice, say a cup of hot chocolate on a chilly evening, the vanilla brandy is the winner.
Another wonderful discovery thanks to TGN!