Vanilla is such a magical ingredient. “Plain vanilla” – ha. It’s far from plain, though I really have no idea how to describe it. Intoxicating. Warm. Familiar. Yummy. But I guess I don’t really need to describe it. It’s vanilla. You know.
Surely we’re all familiar with cooking with vanilla extract. Delicious in and of itself. Vanilla beans are a fairly new addition to my kitchen, though certainly one of my very favorite ingredients. They take vanilla to the next level. When you see a cookie or cupcake or scone or scoop of ice cream dotted with those tiny little telltale black specks, you know you’re in for a treat.
Vanilla sugar is simple enough. It’s plain old white granulated sugar infused with vanilla from the beans. Add it to hot cocoa, tea, cakes, cookies, your morning cup of coffee, and anything else you want for a bonus hit of vanilla. You can top your morning oatmeal with it. You can sprinkle it over sliced strawberries. Or you can just open up your jar of vanilla sugar now and then and inhale deeply. It will make everything seem right with the world.
You can also make these scrumptious little morsels with it:
I’ll be sharing the recipe for these bad boys later this week.
Oh, and if you’re not sold yet, consider the holidays. I love, love, love the idea of buying special little glass jars, printing some fun labels, and giving containers of vanilla sugar as neat Christmas presents. So if you’re someone who’s usually on my list, please pretend you didn’t just read that.
So what do you think? Are you ready to make some vanilla sugar? Let’s do this thing.
- Approx. 6 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- Add the sugar to a glass jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Slice the vanilla bean length-wise, piercing only the top layer of the skin. Press the back of the knife against the bean and up lengthwise, squeezing the oily, miniscule black seeds out.
- Add the seeds and the bean to the sugar. Place the lid on the container and shake it up.
- Store for a week, until the vanilla infuses the sugar. Use in place of regular sugar wherever you desire.
- Whenever you use a vanilla bean in a recipe, just add the seeded or discarded bean to the sugar.
Originally published on The Hazel Bloom April 10, 2012. Updated and posted on Kitchen Treaty November 13, 2012. More about this