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Learn how to make vanilla sugar with two ingredients: whole vanilla beans and granulated sugar. It is sweet & fragrant and delicious in cookies and cakes.
I mentioned last week that 2022 was the year of the vanilla bean. I stumbled across a couple of groups on Facebook that are filled with people cRaZy about all things vanilla beans: pure vanilla extract, vanilla sugar, vanilla salt and even vanilla paste. Real vanilla extract is so much better than imitation vanilla.
If like me you have a batch of real vanilla extract started but want to add a kick of fresh vanilla to your recipes now, this homemade vanilla sugar is for you. It makes a great gift, too.
It is common in boutique gift shops and specialty food stores. It is most commonly granulated sugar infused with vanilla flavor. You’ll find thousands of different techniques and “recipes” to make your own, but today I’m sharing our favorite method.
Our homemade vanilla sugar has just two ingredients: granulated sugar and vanilla bean pods. Granulated sugar can be whatever brand you love, but the vanilla beans should be quality beans in order to have the best flavor.
This leads to our next question.
You can buy vanilla beans at the grocery store and on Amazon, but beans aren’t cheap, so you don’t want to waste your money. Where do you buy the freshest, most quality beans?
I purchase the vanilla beans through Vanilla Bean Kings. You can purchase the ethically sourced beans in their store at any time. However, they also have a co-op. Once a month they offer the lowest prices they possibly can on a certain vanilla bean. Anyone who is part of their community can order the beans at the low price. Sign up on their mailing list or join their Facebook group to hear about upcoming co-op sales.
The most common is the Madagascar Vanilla Beans. I just bought some through Vanilla Bean Kings that were gourmet, Grade A and they smelled amazing. Other popular beans are Mexican vanilla beans. Mexico is known for their vanilla!
Grade B vanilla beans are drier and thinner than Grade A, but they still are loaded with flavor and perfect for extraction and sugar.
Although you can vary the amount of vanilla beans you use for sugar, the recommended amount is one vanilla bean per one cup of sugar (220 grams). If you are grinding the beans into the sugar, you may be able to get away with 1 bean per 2 cups of sugar (440 grams).
Many people like to use this sugar in their coffee, but end up with vanilla powder floating in the top since the vanilla powder will not dissolve.
A second method for vanilla infused sugar is to stick fresh vanilla pods in a container, Ziplock bag or or jar of regular sugar. Seal and allow the sugar to be a desiccant and absorb some of the moisture from the beans. Shake every so often to distribute the sugar evenly. The sugar won’t “extract” the vanillin from the beans, but it will add aroma to the sugar.
Let the beans sit in the sugar for several weeks or a month.
This method will make the sugar a little clumpy since vanilla beans have a high moisture content, so you may need to run it through a food processor to break up any clumps before baking with it.
Remove the beans from the sugar and use them to make vanilla paste or allow them to dry for vanilla powder. Then substitute vanilla sugar for normal in your favorite dessert.
Try one of these:
Store the sugar in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.
In a pinch, yes. Use 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract with 2 cups of sugar. Please note this will discolor the sugar, leaving the sugar a little browned rather than pure white. It also won’t have the pretty vanilla bean specks in it.
Yes. This is the great start to a sugar scrub!
Drying the beans and mixing the powder with sugar is the fastest way to make it. It can be done in an afternoon.