It's time to start thinking about homemade kitchen gifts for Christmas. Not the cookies and such you'll make in late November and early December but the gifts that need to sit and mature. Here's one:
2 cinnamon sticks (2 to 3)
2 cups brandy 70º, minimum
Cinnamon Essence I make by taking whole cinnamon sticks and putting them into a bottle of some brandy.
It takes a little longer to get the flavor out, but after about a month you will have an amazing Cinnamon Essence that can be added to anything you want cinnamon flavored.
Try adding a little to a chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream recipe, or a cake frosting.
It is simply out of this world, and costs pennies to make.
You can make extracts of just about anything you like.
Peel the outer part of a citrus skin (lemon, lime, orange, etc.) and shove it into one of those old extract bottles (an airline liquor bottle is also perfect) and cover it with the alcohol of your choice (make sure it is at least 70º, and the higher proof the better) and you will end up making a fantastic citrus extract.
I have also used lavender blossoms to make a lavender essence, which nobody ever guesses in a recipe, but everyone loves.
The sky truly is the limit when it comes to making your own flavoring components.
You can also mix and match as you see fit.
Try making some cinnamon vanilla or cinnamon orange essence (or even vanilla orange).
The flavorings will remain potent for years (they will never spoil), and you will be happy to know that you are using 100% natural flavorings in all your cooking, and that they are made by YOU!
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