How to Make Vanilla Sugar
Vanilla sugar is a wonderful ingredient to have on hand. Anywhere you would use sugar as an ingredient you can substitute vanilla sugar.
A few years ago I made homemade Vanilla Extract. It turned out so good and was so easy to make. I noticed my supply was getting low so I made it again last Christmas for a Homemade Christmas #SundaySupper. Both times I made homemade vanilla extract I had plenty of Vanilla beans left over. Vanilla beans are very expensive and the more vanilla beans you buy the better the price is and I do like to get the most bang for my buck.
The problem with buying a large quantity of vanilla beans is that they tend to get dry and brittle if not stored properly. Honestly I still haven't figured out the correct way to store vanilla beans because every time I have bought them no matter how I have stored them they have started to dry out. They are still usable and will still add the wonderful vanilla essence to recipes but they are harder to work with since it is very difficult to split and scrape a dry vanilla bean. Since vanilla beans are expensive and I am frugal there was no way I was going to throw out the vanilla beans so I came up with a way to turn those dry and brittle vanilla beans into the best vanilla sugar I have ever tasted.
What is Vanilla Sugar
Vanilla Sugar is simply sugar infused with the essence of a vanilla bean. If you buy it in the store it is very expensive for a very small amount. But it is very easy to make vanilla sugar at home if you happen to have a bunch of vanilla beans laying around that you thought were past their prime but just couldn't bear the thought of throwing away.
How to make Vanilla Sugar
There are a couple of ways to make vanilla sugar. I've tried adding a few plump and moist vanilla beans to a jar of sugar. It worked great but because of the moisture in the vanilla bean the sugar became damp and clumped. It was hard to use the vanilla sugar because the sugar would clump.
To make vanilla sugar using vanilla beans that have dried out a bit you will need a blender that has some power to it. I used a Blendtec blender but you can use whatever blender you happen to own. Take 6 vanilla beans and break them into piece. I only broke each vanilla bean into fourths. If you are using a regular household blender you may want to break the beans into more pieces. Place all the piece of vanilla beans in the blender and pulse until the beans are totally broken down into very small pieces.
As you can see some of the vanilla bean pieces didn't break up on the first go around. Pulse the vanilla beans again until they look like the next picture.
Once the vanilla beans are ground into very small pieces scrape the sides of the blender down. There will still be some pieces of the bean pod. That is fine. You will be sifting them out later.
After you scrape all of the vanilla bean off the sides of the blender pour 2 to 3 cups of granulated sugar in the blender and put the lid back on. Hold the lid in place and shake it up good. Most of the vanilla will mix with the sugar. Put it back on the base of the blender and give it 2 quick pulses. No more than 2 pulses are needed. If you do it anymore you will end up with powdered vanilla sugar. Which is fine but for this batch I wanted the vanilla sugar to be closer to the texture of granulated sugar.
Pour the vanilla sugar into a mason jar. Cover the jar and leave it for 2 weeks or longer. Sift the large pieces of the vanilla bean pods out with a fine mesh metal strainer. Pour the sifted vanilla sugar back into the jar and cover. You may use the larger shifted pieces of vanilla bean to make another smaller jar of vanilla sugar by mixing the pieces into a cup of sugar and sealing in another container.
Use the vanilla sugar any time you'd like to add a vanilla flavor to a drink or recipe.
How to use Vanilla Sugar
- Use vanilla sugar to flavor your coffee .
- Replace part or all of the sugar called for in any baking recipe.
- Make vanilla iced tea.
- Sprinkle vanilla sugar over a pie crust before baking
Semi dry or dry vanilla beans have been used with this technique. You can try using fresh, plump and moist vanilla beans but I can't say they will work as well. Leaving fresh vanilla beans exposed to air will speed drying them out if you don't have any dry vanilla beans around to use.
- 6 dry vanilla beans
- 2-3 cups granulated sugar
- Break vanilla beans into pieces
- Pulse in a blender until vanilla beans are chopped up into very small pieces.
- Mix vanilla bean powder with sugar.
- Seal in a covered jar for 2 weeks or longer.
- Sift large pieces of vanilla bean pods out of the sugar with a fine mesh metal strainer.
- Pour siftes vanilla sugar back into the jar.
- Cover and use in any recipe calling for sugar.
Don't throw away those old and dry vanilla beans. Use them to make vanilla sugar.