0 Pressure Cooker Vanilla Extract Experiment! Alcohol & Vanilla Facts

Far left, 3 month old pressure cooker extract - the 3 bottles on the right are fresh out of the cooker.
Far left, IKEA 34 oz Korken bottle- IKEA 17 oz Korken bottles on the right.

Making vanilla extract in an electric pressure cooker is simple and easy. Toss some vanilla beans with some vodka, bottle, and voila! You have vanilla extract, ready to use within a week or two, not 4 to 6 months when using the traditional method. 
**It is important to read the post carefully for safeguards in using this method. Please do not use a stovetop pressure cooker for this method**

Heating the vodka with your vanilla beans shortens the time to only a couple of weeks - so you get to enjoy your vanilla extract that much sooner. Perfect as a last minute gift for someone that enjoys the luxury of pure vanilla extract. The process of making vanilla via heat extraction is not new, however, using an electric pressure cooker as a method of extracting the vanilla is relatively new.

You can even find pressure being used to quickly age whiskey into real bourbon in this article (from 2013). The whiskey is transferred into stainless steel vats with oak, with the pressure pushing the liquid in and out of the pores of the oak like a sponge, and ta-da! Bourbon that takes 2-10 years to age now only takes 1 week!  Now, hopefully that explains how you can get full flavored vanilla extract in such a short time.

Folks that are making their own vanilla extract are asking some questions, which I can hopefully answer here. I will continue to post additional answers here, as I find them along the way.

My vanilla smells strongly of alcohol. Will it go away?

Not entirely. Your vanilla is made primarily from alcohol and once made, it will smell strongly of alcohol. Give your vanilla extract about a week  or two for the alcohol to mellow and for the vanilla essence to take over. Your vanilla extract, like a fine wine, will continue to age and get better.

It looks like some liquid evaporated during processing. 
Is my vanilla extract still ok?

It may be ok. It depends on how much liquid has evaporated. It is important that your pressure cooker seal is seated correctly and that you have your pressure valved closed or set to 'sealing' prior to starting. If you notice more than 1/2 cup has evaporated, you will want to test the alcohol levels of your extract with a hydrometer. (See Hydrometer results below). Check your electric pressure cooker seal and vents to make sure they are operating correctly.

When pressure cooking, it is normal for some evaporation to occur through the pressure valve during the heating process. Once the cooker has reached pressure, the float pin comes up and if your pressure valve is sealed, or closed, the liquid loss is minimal from that point.

When I make vanilla extract with 7.3 cups of vodka in my 6 quart pressure cooker, my yield is a little over 7  cups, with only 5% loss. The boiling point of alcohol is 173°F at sea level and the boiling point of water is 212°F, so it is normal for some alcohol to evaporate first. I tested 80 proof (40% alcohol) and 100 proof (50% alcohol), and you can see the final alcohol levels in the results below. My altitude is 4500 feet and water boils at 204°F. My assumption is that the higher your altitude, the more quickly you will reach pressure and have less liquid loss.

Total yield of vanilla extract with 1.75 liters

Is my vanilla extract shelf stable? 
What roles do alcohol play in vanilla extract?

Yes, your extract using this method is shelf stable. As long as you have followed the directions carefully, sterilized your equipment, and are storing your vanilla properly, your extract will be fine.

This is the biggest question and the main purpose of my vanilla extract experiment. The FDA requires any mass produced vanilla extract to contain 35% alcohol to be labeled as "pure vanilla extract." There also needs to be 13.5 oz of beans per gallon or about 20-30 beans, about 14 cm in length used in making the extract. This translates roughly to 1.4 beans per cup of alcohol. This is the ratio I use for determining the number of vanilla beans in my vanilla extract recipe.

Alcohol serves 3 purposes in making vanilla extract.
  • Solvent to extract the vanillin from the bean
  • Acts as a suspension or carrier for the extract
  • As a preservative to help prevent bacteria or mold from growing in the extract

My friend Jen purchased a refractometer, with the purpose of measuring the alcohol in our vanilla extract. With readings of 17% Brix, I tried to figure out how to convert Brix to calculate the alcohol levels. I reached out to a few vanilla companies and to Northern Brewer for answers.

FDA, McCormick's, Nielson Massey and Rodelle Vanilla all responded. I wrote that I was making homemade vanilla extract (didn't explain the method) and was wondering if my extract was ok below the 35% FDA alcohol requirement levels. I used a refractometer (which I know now is the wrong tool to measure alcohol) and measured my vanilla at 17% Brix, which I thought was the alcohol content. Northern Brewer Company told me that a refractometer measures the sugar, not the alcohol content, and recommended purchasing a hydrometer to accurately measure the alcohol of my extract.

Northern Brewer's response to using the refractometer:
A refractometer can not be used in this way, sorry.  It measures sugar and can be used to calculate alcohol concentration in fermented beverages by comparing starting and finishing sugar concentrations.  It sounds like you are making a tincture with already made alcohol.  The tool to measure with is a a proof and tralle alcoholmeter(hydrometer) and a glass test jar.

Rodelle was the first vanilla company to respond:

McCormick's was next to respond:
"In answer to your question, the alcohol in our Pure Vanilla Extract is not expressly used as a preservative, but to draw out the flavor of the vanilla bean; however, alcohol does have a preserving effect. The level of alcohol can decrease over time due to evaporation."

I did receive a response from the FDA, but it looks like they couldn't give me any info, as they are the keeper of the records...
"Thank you for contacting the e-CFR helpdesk at the Office of the Federal Register.While this office compiles and publishes the Code of Federal Regulations, we do not write those regulations. Consequently, as we are careful to state on our website, Federal Register staff members are not qualified to interpret, explain, search for, or recommend any regulations other than our own, which appear in 1 CFR Chapters I and II.You should be able to find information at our site, www.ecfr.gov, using the search feature in title 21."

Nielson Massey's response:

"Thank you for your email and for your interest in our products. The production of Pure Vanilla Extract is very highly regulated by the FDA in its Code of Federal Regulations. The FDA dictates that pure vanilla extract must contain 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon of liquid and be 35% alcohol. The agency also limits the permissible ingredients beyond beans and alcohol. If interested, click here, http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=92fb9fcebb6e12d3719d0138abea3a42&mc=true&node=se21.2.169_1175&rgn=div8, to read the FDA's definition and here, http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=&SID=92fb9fcebb6e12d3719d0138abea3a42&mc=true&n=pt21.2.169&r=PART&ty=HTML, for the FDA's addendum on how to determine the 13.35 ounces.
The same regulation does allow for lower alcohol Pure Vanillas. Instead of being labeled Pure Vanilla Extracts they are labeled as Pure Vanilla Flavors. These products contain less than 35% alcohol and are perfectly safe and legal. You should have no concern if your homemade vanilla is at 17% alcohol."

As you can see,  I got a variety of responses! When researching, I consider the source very carefully. I appreciate the quick response from Rodelle and love that they have a vanilla lab to verify that a minimum of 25% alcohol is needed for antimicrobial and shelf stability. McCormick's and Nielson Massey do not seem to be concerned about the low alcohol levels.

Since my homemade vanilla is not going to be mass produced or sold to the public, I'm not concerned about meeting the FDA alcohol level requirements, which as Rodelle pointed out, is a very old law.  

If you are planning to sell your vanilla extract, you may want to use 100 proof alcohol or Rum, as the results will keep the alcohol near or above the 35% requirement to be labeled as pure vanilla extract. You will still want to make sure your equipment and bottles are sterilized and that you store your vanilla extract properly.

This Mexican vanilla has no alcohol. It is imitation.

If you want to measure the alcohol content of your extract, you will want to get a hydrometer that measures distilled spirits, not fermented beverages like beer and wine.

I purchased a hydrometer/alcoholmeter, Proof and Tralles from Amazon. It arrived broken and they credited my account.  I contacted a local brewery and asked if they had one, ($7)  and yep, they did!

I researched several cylinders and based on reviews, I settled for a Graduated glass 250 ml cylinder, ($12). Northern Brewer suggested 200 ml of extract to allow the proof and tralles to float for an accurate reading. It arrived well packaged and in great condition. I was thrilled to be able to get this set up for under $20 and all in one piece.

It is very simple to measure the alcohol levels in your vanilla extract.

1. Take the temperature of your extract. This hydrometer is calibrated to read levels at 60°F, so if your extract is at a different temp, you will need to reference the chart included that will give you the temperature correction.

2. Pour your extract into the clean/sterilized cylinder.

3. Place the hydrometer carefully into the extract, give the hydrometer a gentle spin to remove the air bubbles, and read the line where the surface of the extract touches.

4. Check the chart. Now you have the total alcohol that is in your extract.

Alcohol Temperature Correction Chart

November Extract Temp with Thermapen
November Extract Reading 25%
Vanilla Extract from 11/16
Kamchata 80 proof $12.28
10 Rodelle Vanilla beans, split and scraped $8.37
High Presure 60 min
7 min to pressure
40 min NPR
Tested Alcohol levels 4 months later
Temp 60°F
25% Total Alcohol
1.75 liters = 59.17 ounces, 7 1/3 cups

Alcohol next day readings of 3 vanilla extracts are below. The extract is darker than the photos, as they were taken in bright daylight for accurate reading. The alcohol % has been corrected according to the temperature correction chart included with the hydrometer.

The Alcohol % has been corrected for the temperature of each extract

Kamchata 80 Proof $11.49  58 oz
10 Frontier Vanilla beans, split .875 oz $10.22
Low Pressure 60 min
8 min to pressure
49 min NPR
127°F vanilla extract temp out of the pressure cooker
Total vanilla extract: 52.875
55 oz total vanilla extract
Room Temp: 74°F
Temp Corrected Alcohol 25.5%
Total Cost: $21.71 ($0.39/oz)

Montego Bay Silver Light Rum 80 proof $14.49
10 Frontier Vanilla beans, .875 oz $10.22
High Pressure 60 min
7 min to pressure
49 min NPR
166° Temp out of the pressure cooker
56.01 oz total vanilla extract
Room temp: 69°F
Temp Corrected Alcohol 32% 
Total Cost: $24.71 ($0.44/oz)

100% PROOF EXTRACT Baron Rothschild 100% proof $17.25
10 vanilla beans, .873 oz $10.22
High Pressure 60 min
7 min to pressure
42 min NPR
168°F Temp out of the pressure cooker
57.045oz Total vanila extract
2.99 oz loss, .37 cups, about 1/3 cup
Room temp: 74°F
Alcohol level: 40%, subtract 4% = 43.5% 
Total Cost: $27.47 ($.48/oz)

My vanilla extract looks cloudy. Is it bad?

No. Vanilla extracts that don't use sugar look cloudy because of the matter (scraped vanilla beans) is floating around in the liquid. (Source 1) (Source 2) If you prefer a clear vanilla extract, you can simply split your beans (forgo the scraping), or you can pour the extracted vanilla through a coffee filter over a sieve. Storing your extract in the fridge or freezer can make your extract cloudy, as it speeds up the natural separation of the vanilla essence from the liquid base.(Source #1) (Source #2)

What is the storage life of vanilla extract? Does it go bad?

The first key to extending the life of your vanilla extract is to properly sterilize your bottles. Next is keeping your extract in a cool, dark place, away from light, heat and moisture. Keep it tightly sealed, and make sure your vanilla beans are submerged in the extract. Do not store it in the fridge or freezer. (Source)

How do you know if it's gone bad?
Smell your vanilla. I had some vanilla extract from Mexico many years ago that went rancid after two years. Come to find out that the inexpensive vanilla from Mexico is not pure vanilla extract and does not use alcohol. Imitation vanilla has a very short shelf life, whereas pure vanilla extract has an indefinite shelf life when stored properly.

Look at your vanilla extract. Your vanilla beans should be submerged into the extract. Exposed beans can dry out and can possibly be exposed to bacteria. You will want to either add more vodka to cover your beans, or do what I prefer - cut the beans with sterilized kitchen shears to 1"-2" pieces.

Does it matter what vodka or alcohol you use for your extract?

Yes, there can be a difference in taste. You want the most neutral alcohol for the purest vanilla taste, which is vodka. However, in my opinion for baking, the cheaper the alcohol, the more vanilla you can get for your dollar.

Different proof liquors will result in varying final alcohol results: 80 proof means that 40% of the liquor is alcohol, and the rest is distilled water. Making extract with 80% proof vodka will give you a final 25% alcohol, 100% proof will give you at least 40% final alcohol and white rum can give you at least 30% final alcohol volume. You can use any of the following liquors for making extract for a variety of flavors:

Vodka - made from potatoes or grains. Potato vodka is a good gluten free option; very vanill-y.
              Corn vodka, also another gluten free option; makes classic tasting vanilla
              Rye vodka - gives a nutty taste; very pricey
              Wheat vodka - cheapest available; great for baking
Rum - white rum is sweeter and more fragrant; made with molasses & sugar cane)
Brandy - sweeter than whiskey, the taste varies, depending on the fruit used and its age
Bourbon - corn based liquor - pick a flavor you like. Bourbon vanilla extract uses beans from the island of Bourbon, located in Madagascar.

(Source: Wide Open Eats: Which Vodka Makes the Best Vanilla Extract

Does it matter what vanilla beans you use?

It can. You will want a high quality vanilla bean. Before purchasing vanilla beans, read the reviews and price it per ounce. Because of the vanilla bean shortage, beans are being harvested earlier and have a lower quality.

As you can see from the picture above, all of these vanilla beans are labeled Madagascar.  The Rodelle beans are thick, plump, and longer that the other beans. The Spice Islands and Frontier beans on the left are about 6.5" long, while the Rodelle bean on the right is 7.5" long. They all worked well for making vanilla extract. Unless labeled, you can assume most vanilla beans are Grade A.

Grade A vanilla beans are plumper, oily, more moist, more expensive, and are primarily used for baking and cooking, but can be used for making vanilla extract.

Grade B beans are also called 'extract' beans and are drier than Grade A beans. They are priced lower than Grade A and are more economical to use for extract. You may not be able to 'split' the beans, but can cut them into 1"-2" lengths for your extract.  (Source)

Do not store vanilla beans in the fridge or freezer. The cold air will dry them out and may promote mold on your vanilla beans. (Source)

Is making your own vanilla more cost effective?
Right now, Costco has their 16 oz vanilla extract for $24.99. ($1.56/oz)
Online, it is $25.69 through Costco and $39.83 on Amazon.  ($1.60/oz - $2.48/oz)

Last year, I was able to buy this same vanilla for $10. It has almost tripled in price!

The Rodelle vanilla beans in 11/16 were $16.74 for 10 beans total, or $1.67 per bean.
        (are now $27.45 or $2.75 ea on Amazon. They are seasonal at Costco)
The Frontier vanilla beans on 5/17 were $45.99 for 45 beans, or $1.02 per bean.
        (are now about $65 for 4 oz, approx 45 beans, $1.44 per bean)
        (Vitacost has 4 oz (~ 45 beans) Frontier beans for $45.99, but they are out of stock. You can have them email you when they are in stock)
The Spice Islands beans were a gift, cost unknown.

Why are the prices so high?
There is a shortage of vanilla beans from the largest producer, more than 3/4  (79%) of the world's vanilla fields, and the reasons vary: (Vanilla Queen, additional source)
  • Growing and harvesting vanilla beans take time (3 years) and are labor intensive, harvested by hand. 
  • Poor crop in 2015 drove prices up
  • Many of the beans are low in quality, due to quick curing. Quick curing leads to smaller beans and a lower flavor profile, but other countries stepped up with better quality beans.
  • Madagascar was hit by a category 4 hurricane on March 7, 2017, destroying about 30% of the vanilla bean crop.
Price comparison
Compare to the $1.60/oz - $2.48/oz for Costco's Vanilla extract:
11/16 Kamchata 80 proof $0.51/oz
3/17  Kamchata 80 proof $0.39/oz
         Rum   80 proof       $0.44/oz
         Rothschild 100 proof $0.48/oz
The 6.5" bean is the perfect length for the IKEA 17 oz bottle 

I found these 17 oz bottles at my local IKEA for $1.99 each.
Filled with 16 oz of vanilla extract, here are the total costs for each type that I made this year -
Compare this to $24.99 for 16 oz. at my local Costco!

Kamchata $8.24
Rum $9.04
Rothschild $9.68

Even though the prices of vanilla beans have gone up in the last 4 months, it is still more economical to make your own vanilla extract. When using the method of making your own extract in an electric pressure cooker , you to have wonderful vanilla extract in weeks, not months, and can enjoy your extract more quickly than using traditional methods.

Alcohol levels are important to shelf stability of your extract; you want levels of at least 25% or more. If you prepare and store your extract properly and the beans stay below the extract levels, it will have an indefinite shelf life.

Using a higher proof vodka resulted in a much higher final alcohol content, although an inexpensive vodka, especially for baking, will be your best bet. Do not try making extract with a higher than 100% proof alcohol. It will alcohol flavor will overpower the vanilla and smell too strongly of alcohol, no matter how long it ages.  I'm really liking the sweetness of White Rum vanilla extract for the flavor in no bake cookies and frostings.

Using low pressure resulted in slight lighter color, whereas the yield and natural release pressure times were about the same as using high pressure.

My next vanilla extract experiment will be to see if I can re-use the beans from my extract to make another batch of vanilla.... my guess is that most of the vanillin has been extracted from the pressure process, but stay tuned to find out!

Enjoy making, using, and gifting your very own FAST vanilla extract!


0 Marble Bundt Cake: Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Chocolate and peanut butter, a classic combination, come together to create this moist cake that is covered in a decadent peanut butter glaze. I love using a classic bundt pan, that shows off the marbling of this cake beautifully.

The original recipe is a mash up and comes from Better Homes and Gardens, a cookbook that I've had since my college days. When I made it the first time, it made way too much batter, so thanks to My Kitchen Calculator, I was able to scale it down to fit my 10" bundt pan perfectly!

A typical cake recipe will have about 6 cups of batter, perfect for a 9"x13" cake, or a couple of 9" rounds, 2 dozen cupcakes, or a 10 cup bundt pan. The pan I'm using in this post is from Nordic Ware and I have loved using it for many years. I even use a mini-bundt pan for special, single serve cakes.

After the butter, sugar, and eggs are mixed together, you add sour cream. If you don't have sour cream on hand, you can add thick, plain yogurt. I love making my own homemade yogurt!

Vanilla extract is added - did you know you can make your own vanilla extract in a pressure cooker?

Flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt are blended in, and the cake batter is divided in half.

Creamy peanut butter is whisked in half of the cake batter...

... and melted semi-sweet chocolate goes in the other half.

Using a separate spoon (an ice cream scoop is easier!) for each batter, they are alternated into a greased and floured 10" bundt pan.

After all the batter is scooped into the bundt pan, stick a knife into the batter and begin swirling.

Only do a few swirls ... if you swirl it too much, you will lose your marbling effect and end up with one single color.

Ooooh....so pretty!

Check your cake at the end of baking by sticking a toothpick into the center of the cake. The toothpick should be clean, with only a few crumbs attached. If there is raw batter stuck to the toothpick, put your cake back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Put your baked cake on a wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes.

This is important, especially with bundt cakes.

If you try to remove the cake, hot from the oven, the cake will stick to the pan and break off from your cake.

If you let your cake completely cool, it will sweat in the pan and not come out with a clean, baked crust.

So - set the timer for 10-15 minutes, place your wire rack on top of the cake and flip it over to reveal a perfectly baked cake, with the entire crust attached.  Let it cool completely for about 30 minutes.

Mix up your powdered sugar, creamy peanut butter, and enough milk to create a nice, thick glaze.

Caution: this glaze is finger lickin' good. You've been warned!

Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and let it naturally drip down the sides...

Cut into your cake and check out the marbling - the moist, tender crumb - the sweet, peanut butter glaze.... and enjoy every, delicious bite!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Marble Cake
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 heaping teaspoon of baking soda (really, it's 1/3 teaspoon, but heaping 1/4 teaspoon will work!)
1/4 heaping teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream (or thick, plain Greek style yogurt)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Peanut Butter Glaze
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4-5 tablespoons of milk

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour a 10" bundt pan. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In an stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat your butter for one minute.
Add the sugar and mix till creamy.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Mix in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again.
Add some of the flour mixture, then some of the milk, then flour mixture, etc, alternating both ingredients until completely mixed.
Remove half of the cake batter, approximately 2 1/2 cups, into another bowl.
Stir in melted chocolate into one half of the batter; stir in peanut butter into the other half of cake batter.
Using a large spoon (or ice cream scoop) for each batter, drop spoonfuls of each into the prepared bundt pan, alternating between chocolate and peanut butter cake batter, until the pan is filled.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean, with only a few crumbs attached.
Put the baked cake onto a wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Place your wire rack on top of the cake and invert (flip over) to remove the cake from the pan.
Allow your cake to completely cool, about 30 minutes.
Make the peanut butter glaze by combining the powdered sugar and peanut butter (can use a stand mixer, hand mixer or whisk), then adding just enough milk to create a thick glaze.
When cake is cooled, pour/drizzle your glaze on top and let it naturally run down the sides of the cake.


0 Horchata in a Hurry! Pressure Cooker & Stove Top

Every time we go to our favorite Mexican restaurant, we have to get a tall glass of ice cold horchata, a refreshing milky drink made with rice and cinnamon.

Horchata can be time consuming to make, as the rice needs to be soaked. Soaking gives the rice grains a head start in cooking and yields a better flavor and texture. The rice for horchata is normally soaked for 3-24 hours.

Then the thought came to me - if beans can be quick pressure soaked, why not rice? I experimented with a couple of cook times using my Instant Pot pressure cooker. Cooking too long produced a thick sludge, which my son remarked that he was 'chewing' his drink.

White long grain rice is normally used for making authentic horchata, but you can use any rice that you want. A brown rice will give you a nutty flavor, and may need a slightly longer quick-soak time. I used inexpensive (Western Family Enriched) long grain white rice for this recipe.

*UPDATE* I used a long grain brown rice with a longer cook/npr time, and it is now our favorite version!
A reader tried Basmati rice, and it was cooked through with the 0/5 min npr time. If using Basmati, you may want to try a 0/quick release time.
Another reader used a medium grain white rice with the 0/quick release and it worked well.

Hubby commented, "Now, that's the kind of horchata you would get at a restaurant!"
Oldest son's comment? "I only go to certain Mexican restaurants for their horchata - I would definitely get this one. It has a different flavor than the traditional horchata, but this is very, very good!" Brown rice cook times are added in the recipe below.

1. First, you will want to rinse your rice. Why?

Rinsing rice is good for most long and medium grain rice, as it removes the starches on the surface, prevents clumping, and gives you a better, cleaner taste. The nutrient loss is minimal and you will avoid a "gluey" taste when you rinse your rice.

Simply add water to your rice, swish the grains with your fingers, and drain the milky looking water. Repeat this step 3 or 4 times, until the water looks clear.

2. Strain the water from your rinsed rice with a super fine mesh strainer.

3. Put your rice into your pressure cooker with cool water.

If you have access to cinnamon sticks, or even better, Canela Mexican cinnamon, put it in to cook with your rice. Canela cinnamon is milder than other varieties of cinnamon. I added powdered cinnamon later on in the recipe.

4. Cover your pressure cooker, close the pressure valve, select High pressure and set the time to ZERO.

Yep. Zero. The cooker will still heat up, and beep when the pressure cooker reaches pressure.
Allow the pressure to release naturally by leaving the cooker alone for 5 minutes.

5. Open the pressure release, and pour the rice into a fine mesh strainer, as there may be some water left.

6. Combine 1 cup of your water (or milk, if you want a creamier texture), rice, and blend. You can use a stand blender or an immersion blender. I find that the stand blender does a better job of blending the rice than the immersion blender - especially if you have a powerful one - but either one will work.

7. Add the rest of water, milk or combo of both.

8. Strain your mixture over a large bowl or 8 cup measure. Push the rice through the strainer with a spatula until you cannot see any liquid coming through. Scrape any rice off the outside of the strainer to your horchata milk.

What to do with the leftover rice? Make rice pudding!

If you don't have a fine mesh strainer, you can use a clean, cotton pillowcase or t-shirt. You can use cheesecloth, but you will need to use at least 3-4 layers. A tea towel will work, as well. You can pick up the corners of the material and squeeze any remaining liquid from the rice.

9. Add sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, blending well. I love to use Pure Vanilla Extract, and this is something that you can make in a hurry with your pressure cooker!

You can serve this horchata right away over ice, for a refreshing sweet treat.

Store any remaining horchata in a container with a well fitting lid, as it will separate, and you will want to shake it or mix it very well before serving.

This recipe will make 5 cups of very yummy horchata.
You can definitely double the recipe without changing the cook times.

You can use water, milk, or any combo. You can use whole milk, evaporated milk, or some sweetened condensed milk (reduce the sugar if using sweetened condensed milk).
You can use any sweetener of your choice: sugar, a simple syrup (1:1 water:sugar cooked till sugar is dissolved), agave nectar, stevia, or warmed honey.

I was able to make this horchata start to finish, in 30 minutes. I think you should give it a try!


print recipe

Horchata in a Hurry! - Pressure Cook or Stove Top
Enjoy a tall, refreshing glass of this sweet milky drink, with a touch of cinnamon, found at many Mexican restaurants. This recipe cuts down the long soaking time that it take for rice to soften and make this a creamy drink. 
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice, or brown rice, rinsed in cool water till clear
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar, or sweetener of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups of milk, or combo of milk and water. Milk will give you a creamier texture. My favorite combo is to use 2 cups milk, 2 cups water.
  • ice
1. Put the rinsed rice in the pressure cooker. Add the one cup water, stir to make sure rice is covered.2. Close the pressure cooker and the pressure valve.3. For WHITE rice, select HIGH pressure for ZERO minutes. For BROWN rice, select HIGH pressure for 10 minutes. 4.When the cook cycle ends, allow a natural pressure release: WHITE RICE=5 minutes BROWN RICE=10 minutes. 5. Open the pressure valve, in short spurts, till you can open it fully. 6. Strain the water from the rice using a fine mesh strainer. 7. Add 1 cup of the milk to the rice and blend, using a stand blender or immersion blender. Add the rest of the milk (or water), blend well.8. Strain the rice/milk mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pushing the rice through with a spatula. Scrape off any of the thick rice off the outside of the strainer and put back into the milk mixture.9. Add sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Blend well. Chill & serve over ice.  
Prep time: Cook time: 10Total time: Yield: 5 cups

Stove Top Directions - Ready in under an hour
Combine the rice and water.
Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. For Brown rice, boil for 15 minutes.
Drain water from rice.
Combine milk, rice, and blend together.
Strain through several layers of cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.
Add sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Blend well.

Chill, Serve over ice.

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