This vanilla sugar recipe hardly qualifies as a recipe - more of a tasty habit really. Homemade flavored sugar tastes so much better than store bought and it can come in handy, even serving as a subsitute for vanilla extract if you are caught short. You will frequently find it called for in French dessert recipes.
In France, many people buy vanilla sugar in small packets (about 2 teaspoons of sugar to a packet) and use it to flavor cakes, cookies, and other desserts. Many times it substitutes for vanilla extract.
I've got to wonder how this stuff stays on the market, because frankly it tastes awful. It is made with artificial vanilla flavor (ethylvanillin) and if you take a small taste out of curiosity like I did, be prepared for a rude shock. It actually bites back with a flavor reminiscent of saccharine.
Anyway, there is no need to buy it as making your own homemade vanilla sugar is dead easy. The flavor of vanilla becomes stronger as it sits and the sugar will definitely give your recipes a good vanilla boost. Plus you will be equipped for those French recipes calling for vanilla sugar and yours will taste better. By the way, if you want to save money on vanilla beans, buy them in bulk. The savings is phenomenal.
This recipe calls for using a fresh vanilla bean, but I have heard of people using the beans that they have already used in a recipe to flavor their sugar. If you decide to do this, be sure to rinse the bean off and allow it to dry before adding it to the sugar.
Makes 4 cups
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