I’m sort of embarrassed to even post this because it’s SO EASY. But it’s one of those things that are so delicious that it will change your life, so I had to tell you guys about it! And you’ll feel so fancy when you pull it out of your pantry, no one needs to know how easy it is to make.
Honestly, all you do is stick a split vanilla bean in some sugar and store it in an airtight container. The longer it sits, the stronger the vanilla flavor gets. You can even refill in with new sugar once the container is about halfway done and still have tons of flavor.
Vanilla bean sugar has so many uses, too! It really shines in coffee or tea. You can use it in place of normal sugar in any recipe, and it’s particularly wonderful in baked goods such as muffins, quickbreads, cakes and pies. Add it to your homemade ice cream recipes for an extra vanilla boost. Put it in your homemade jams – strawberry/vanilla jam is my personal favorite. It’s my secret ingredient in rice pudding. And it takes already decadent homemade whipped cream to a different level. Maybe try it in Carla’s Arroz con Leche recipe?
But most of all, it makes lovely gifts. Package it up nicely and add a card with suggested uses. Make it extra-special by putting it in a fun etched jar. I gave mason jars full of vanilla bean sugar as Christmas gifts several years ago, and I’ve had requests for refills ever since!
Homemade Vanilla Bean Sugar
Place 3 cups of sugar in a medium bowl. Take 1 vanilla bean and make an incision down the length of the pod with a paring knife. Spread the pod open, and use the dull side of the knife to scrape out the beans.
Place the beans and the pod in the sugar, and use your fingers to scrape any remaining beans out of the pods. Leave the pods in the sugar.
Toss the sugar with your hands to thoroughly distribute the vanilla beans. Use within a year.
A tip if you’re giving as gifts: cut the spent vanilla bean pod into smaller pieces so you can put a piece of it into each container. It still has a wonderful scent and will impart flavor to the sugar.