Homemade Vanilla and Corn Free Baking Powder; Baked goods can’t live without them

My husband Victor and I spend our Sundays in Malibu, CA. We work at two churches there, and drive to and from them every Sunday. Neither of us really have an office, so we end up spending a lot of our time in either church’s parish hall, or just trying to kill time between the church service and when youth group begins, 3 and-a-half hours later.

Sundays are some of the hardest days of the week for me because I don’t have the luxury of my kitchen, or even my regular grocery stores, so I usually bring my food. However, when I get bored, I crave certain foods, especially sweets, and itis so hard to find treats I can eat and don’t have a negative effect on my body. Pure ice cream from creameries used to be a go-to, but lactose hasn’t been sitting well with me lately. So, rule that out.

I will walk through aisle after aisle in the grocery store, jealous of people who can just walk in and not worry about what’s in the food they want to eat. It’s hard to not get jealous of them. The bakery is the worst!  Even the gluten free items usually have corn in them, so when I was first diagnosed, I made it my mission to find a recipe for baked goods that would satisfy my sweet tooth, but also not get me sick.

In most of the recipes I found, I realized that they still contained vanilla extract and baking powder, both of which contain corn. Vanilla extract is made by soaking the vanilla bean in bourbon, which is made from corn mash. And baking powder has corn starch in it to keep it from clumping (in addition to aluminum) most of the time. But I wasn’t going to let this stop me from eating my sweets, so I found recipes and figured out how to make my own corn-free vanilla and baking powder.


  • 3 whole vanilla beans (these can be found at specialty spice stores, Whole Foods Markets, or online).
  • 1 potato vodka, at least 16 oz. (this can be found at most liquor stores; make doubly sure it is distilled from potatoes and not corn).
  • 16 oz. Mason Jar

Place the vanilla beans into the mason jar and fill the jar with Vodka.  Seal and store in a dark, dry space for 3 months.

It takes awhile for the fermentation to happen, but you can continue to reuse the beans over and over again.  I usually always have potato Vodka in my freezer so I can just add to the jar.

Use in any recipe that calls for Vanilla.

Corn Free Baking Powder

  • 1 Tsp. Cream of Tartar (make sure it is GMO free)
  • 2 Tsp. Baking Soda

Combine with a fork and store in a small container that you can reseal; I use a washed out old spice jar.  Use this as your baking powder from now on.  It is aluminum free and it is very easy to make.  It is also Corn Free!!!

*Some recipes call for arrowroot, but I think this recipe works well without it.

About the Author:

At Mary Lee Kitchen, we believe that what we eat matters. Each of us has the right to know what is in our food. Over the years the food industry has negatively impacted our health and well being. This has caused the rise of food allergies, food sensitivities, rise in child obesity- which are just a few of the harmful side effects of the food manufactures created. It is time for us to implement change. I am a food artisan that creates allergy free products that are made in a sustainable way. Through my own experience with rare food allergies, I have learned how to cook in a way that is inclusive for all diets. Through food education, recipes, and products I support the gathering of all people around the kitchen table.


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