It is pretty easy to figure out how to use vanilla sugar. Substitute 1/4 cup (50g) of vanilla sugar for every 1/4 cup (50g) of regular sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Definitely not “Plain Vanilla”
Wherever the term “Plain Vanilla” came from, it was never accurate as to the history of the flavoring and the complexity of the taste. Using vanilla sugar instead of vanilla extract can remind us of how good it can be.
Why Vanilla Sugar?
Well, it usually just tastes better. Vanilla extract contains alcohol and is a bit astringent and off-putting in many recipes. For example, my Fresh Fig and Apple Cake is much better with vanilla sugar.
Plus as discussed below, it is simple to make. Lastly, and not to be overlooked, just opening the container and taking in the smell is a great pick-me-up.
Making Vanilla Sugar
Making vanilla sugar is pretty easy. You need an airtight container, a vanilla bean, and about 2 cups of sugar. Add the vanilla bean and the sugar to the container, close it and wait about one to two weeks. That is it.
“Wait a minute,” you say. “Shouldn’t I split the bean and scrape the seeds out?” Well, you can, but then you have the seeds in your sugar that look like black specks. That is not bad depending on what you want to do with the sugar, but not necessary. I find the sugar adsorbs the vanilla just fine with not splitting and keeps well for months. Furthermore, maybe more importantly, I can continue adding sugar into the container to replace what I use, with no significant change in taste.
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups sugar
- In an airtight container add the vanilla bean and sugar.
- Close it and wait about 1 week or 2.
- After removing sugar for use, replace the sugar in the container with new sugar, with no significant change in taste.