Imitation vanilla extract in Pastry & Baking Posted October 9, 2003 I macerate the vanilla beans in the alcohol for a few weeks and the end product is superb, and usually better than anything I buy.How exactly do you do this? What ratio of beans to alcohol do you recommend? Do you crush the beans or use them whole? Do you use already scraped beans? Do you remove the beans after a few weeks, or leave them in? My typical recipe is to use two sliced and roughly chopped vanilla beans into 500 ml of alcohol. I put this into a 750 ml brown glass bottle with a tightly fitting cap. I let the solution macerate for at least three weeks, and I give the bottle a vigorous shake every two days. Depending on the quality of the vanilla bean (which can vary), this produces a strongly-flavored vanilla extract which is to my personal taste. There can be some fine particles in the extract, so if I am making a recipe that would not benefit from the particles, I pour a little bit of the solution through a paper coffee filter to catch the particulates.