Most people who get into baking graduate very quickly from 'Artificial' vanilla to real or pure vanilla extract... Then progress through the quality levels until they find one that tastes great at a price point they can live with.
That was the path we followed - and then we scoffed at the idea of making our own. How could it be any better than the best we could afford? Well it can be much better.
home made vanilla extract recipe
Oh and before you panic about there being VODKA in this... Vanilla is only soluble in alcohol, so yes that stuff you buy at the grocery store is at least 35-40% alcohol (in fact by law it has to be).
1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
1) Slit the vanilla pods in half, scrape out the beans and put them in a jar.
2) Chop up the vanilla pods into small bits and put them in the jar as well.
3) Cover with the vodka, shake it up and place in a dark place for 5 to 6 weeks to steep.
4) After 5 to 6 weeks it should be a deep dark brown colour and ready to use.
5) Strain out the vanilla bits if desired.