I realised I have mentioned several times in my recipes about how I make my own vanilla sugar. Rather than explaining it each time from scratch, I decided to make a separate post that I can link to, so here goes.
I know most of you are used to baking with vanilla extract, which is perfectly fine. As long as you get some vanilla scent into your baking product, I am happy. =) But for some reason, I prefer using vanilla beans. But buying them and scraping a bit at a time can be quite expensive, to be honest. Sometimes you may want to use the whole vanilla bean, but if you need just a tiny bit, the rest could easily go to waste.
Also, rather than buying smaller individual packages of vanilla sugar, why not make a large batch, use a whole vanilla bean at once and always have some vanilla sugar on hand? Store it in a tin can or a glass jar, but make sure to cover tightly with a lid. Pack it nicely, wrap a ribbon around the lid and give it away as a gift. I think it looks really cute that way and anybody (if they are like me in any way) would be pleased receiving a homemade gift like that.
Use it for baking, put some in your morning latte or cocoa, sprinkle over crumble or fruit salad. Honestly, vanilla makes everything taste better. So let’s see how easy it is to always have some vanilla sugar on hand!
preparation time: about 10 minutes
Granulated white sugar*
* This “recipe” is a method rather than a recipe containing specific amounts of ingredients. The amount of sugar will most likely depend on the size of your jar. I have a nice tin that can store about 500 g of sugar, so that’s about the amount of sugar I use.
1. Take a vanilla bean and place it on your cutting board. Take a sharp paring knife and cut it lengthwise trying to cut only through the top skin.
2. Split it open and fan out. You will see black paste containing seeds. That’s what you are looking for. Scrape them out with a knife.
3. Do one of two things. First, put the sugar in a jar, add the black paste, close with a lid and shake it well. If needed, stir it with a fork to get the paste more evenly distributed throughout the sugar.
Alternatively, put sugar and vanilla bean paste in a food processor and pulse it until sugar breaks a bit. (It does not have to reach the icing sugar texture, my food processor can’t even go that far.) But I think this method makes a more intense flavour as vanilla paste is much more evenly distributed among the sugar. Transfer to a tin and close with a lid.
Whichever method you use, make sure to add the used vanilla bean to the jar. It still has a lot of aroma, so it would be a shame for it to go to waste.
4. As you use up the sugar, fell free to add some more for as long as you can still feel the vanilla scent. Every once in a while, make another batch using another vanilla bean.