I learned about vanilla sugar while living in Germany. There, cooks use vanilla sugar in very much the same way we use liquid vanilla. They’re sugar comes in tiny little packets, each one a perfect size for an average recipe. So, for example, if you were making chocolate chip cookies, instead of adding your teaspoon of liquid vanilla with your wet ingredients, you would add your small packet of vanilla sugar, about a tablespoon or so. Easy as pie.
Well, when we left Germany, I found myself craving vanilla sugar; it is so easy to use and I had become accustomed to adding a teaspoon to warm almond milk before I slept at night or adding it and a pat of butter to a package of frozen fruit, heating that combination on the stove, mashing or pureeing it and using it in place of maple syrup on our pancakes. Yummy!
There are endless ways to use this simple little recipe!
Which brings us to the instructions. You will need one or two entire vanilla beans. You can buy them at well stocked grocery stores or from My Spice Sage where two beans will cost you $5. Yes, I know it sounds expensive but you will reuse those beans again and again and again. My beans are at least 5 years old and still working their magic!
Place your vanilla beans in the container with a lid. I like to use a mason jar because I can keep an eye on my sugar levels. But any jar that closes tightly will work. If you need to break the beans in half, feel free. It won’t hurt the final product.
Top it off with good quality sugar (fair trade is best!). Let it sit for two weeks. Okay, I often don’t follow that rule if I forget to fill my jar and need more quickly. But the longer your sugar sits, the more infused it will be with vanilla. And let me tell you, there is nothing better than opening a jar of vanilla sugar and sticking your nose deep inside, inhaling and practically tasting vanilla goodness. It is an experience not to be missed.
After you have made your initial jar, feel free to keep adding sugar as you use it. Just give the jar a shake to distribute the new sugar with the old. Don’t worry if your sugar gets a little clumpy. Mine does here in DC and it doesn’t in California. But it hasn’t hurt the quality either way.
Let me know how you plan to use your vanilla sugar in the comments below!