Here’s a fun fact: I once paid over $10 for a teeny, tiny jar of lemon-infused sea salt flakes because I was hoping they’d inspire a new cookie recipe. That teeny, tiny jar of flavored salt has been sitting, unopened, in my pantry. I guess I’m still waiting for that bolt of inspiration.
What was the point of telling you that story? Well, you know how you walk into a specialty shop and see all sorts of interesting jars of artisan condiments or small batch bottles of jams or extracts? You’d be surprised to learn you can make a lot of those things at home.
I have been trying to find subtle ways to up my cookie-making game, and using good quality vanilla seems to be a great place to start. I figure, if adding a little extra pure vanilla extract to my baked goods can make such a huge difference in flavor, imagine what infusing sugar with vanilla would do!
Vanilla sugar looks and sounds fancy and complicated, but it’s really neither of those things. What it IS, is a great way to add subtle, sweet vanilla flavor into certain baked goods, your morning coffee, fruit, cinnamon sugar toast, homemade whipped cream, cocktails, and so much more! It’s a fun and easy way to get a lot of use out of a rather expensive little bean.
There are different types of vanilla bean/extracts. I happen to prefer the Madagascar Bourbon variety because the bean produces a sweeter, creamier flavor. Its vanilla flavor is straightforward and pure. It works great for baked goods that just need that little extra something to complement the other flavor notes in your recipe. If you’re looking to infuse your homemade vanilla sugar (or extract) with a more pungent, bold flavor you can opt for using Mexican or Tahitian vanilla.
Middle Eastern dessert recipes don’t typically utilize vanilla, but I’m all about changing that up and can’t wait to experiment with vanilla sugar.
How would you/do you use vanilla sugar in your cooking/baking? I’d love to read more about the unique ways you use this special condiment.
1 3/4 – 2 cups of granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean pod (I used a Madagascar Bourbon bean from Rodelle because they were on sale at my local grocery store. My preference is Nielsen–Massey.)
- Measure out 1 3/4 – 2 cups of granulated sugar. (This really depends on the size of the glass jar you are using. If you have a bigger jar and want to use more sugar, try to keep the ratio at 1 vanilla bean to every 2 cups of sugar.)
- Take a small paring knife and cut the vanilla bean lengthwise in half. Using the back of your knife, scrape out the seeds from the entire bean and place the seeds in the bowl with the sugar.
- Using a fork or a whisk, evenly distribute the vanilla bean seeds throughout the sugar. You’ll see lovely little specks of vanilla all throughout.
- Take the remaining vanilla bean pod and place it inside the jar.
- Using a funnel, pour the vanilla sugar inside the jar.
- Put the cap on tight and store the vanilla sugar in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks before using.
- Use and enjoy!
Note: Vanilla sugar (including the vanilla bean pod) has a pretty long shelf life. So, don’t worry about removing the pod after you’ve let the sugar and vanilla do their thing.