Archive for the ‘Ingredients’ Category


Coffee and Vanilla Liqueur plus Vanilla Sugar

May 11, 2009

Is homemade coffee and vanilla liqueur better than Kahlua? I’ll admit that I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison, but the homemade is pretty darn good. Plus, Kahlua is hard to spell and there’s an accent over the u and I don’t know how to make special characters in WordPress. So instead of figuring out special characters, I’ll make some coffee liqueur. Not that liqueur is all that easy to spell either, but at least there’s no accent.


The liqueur is easy to make, though potentially messy when you get to the point of pouring it into the bottles. Do what works for you because what works for me doesn’t even always work for me. Pouring and funneling are not my strong points.

One of the ingredients for the liqueur is vanilla sugar, which uses dried vanilla bean shells (the part of the bean that’s left after you scrape out the inside). If you don’t have any vanilla sugar, just use plain sugar in the liqueur. But if and when you get some vanilla bean shells, give the sugar a try; why not recycle the shells rather than tossing them out? You can use the sugar anywhere where a bit of a vanilla taste would be welcome. I like to use vanilla sugar when I mix up some cinnamon sugar.

OK Jill, I made this and now I have two quarts of coffee and vanilla liqueur. What do I do with it?

  • Pour a little bit over some vanilla ice cream – super-delicious!
  • Mix up a cocktail! I’m a fan of the potent Black Russian, which is two parts coffee liqueur plus one part vodka over ice. Add a splash of milk or cream to that and you’ve got a White Russian. I’m sure there are a ton of cocktail and coffee drink recipes out there that use coffee liqueur.
  • Put it in a pretty bottle and give it as a gift.
  • Sip it straight up. Strictly for research purposes, I had a few sips after I took the photo and it was good!

Coffee and Vanilla Liqueur

From a recipe I clipped from the newspaper at least a million years ago

2 cups water
2 ounces instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups vanilla sugar
1 quart vodka (I stick with the cheap stuff)
1 vanilla bean

Bring water to boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat and stir in instant coffee, vanilla extract, and vanilla sugar until dissolved. Add vodka and mix well.

Split vanilla bean lengthwise (don’t scrape out the insides) and add half to each of two 1-quart bottles. Carefully pour vodka mixture into the bottles (I find it easiest to dip a measuring cup into the saucepan and pour it through a funnel into the bottle). Seal the bottles with a cork or cap. Store at least two weeks before serving. Makes two quarts.

Vanilla Sugar

From the same million-year old newspaper clipping

4 cups granulated sugar
2 or more vanilla bean shells, dried*

Put sugar and vanilla bean shells in a sealed container and store for at least two weeks before using. Every once in a while, when you think of it, give the container a shake.

*After scraping out the inside of a vanilla bean to use for cooking or baking, set the shell on the counter to dry.

%d bloggers like this: