I love opening up a jar of vanilla sugar and inhaling its wonderfully sweet vanilla aroma. You can use this sugar in a variety of ways and it’s delicious when used in muffins, cakes, biscuits or desserts. For something different, just add a spoonful to your hot chocolate or coffee.
When buying vanilla pods, always try to ensure that they’re fresh, and never dry or hard. Fresh vanilla pods should feel soft, almost supple, and when you cut them open they’re very sticky on the inside.
Although I use vanilla sugar quite often, I never worry about running out of it too soon. Because every time vanilla seeds are required in a recipe, I just pop the used vanilla pod to my jar and top it up with extra sugar, if needed. Personally though, I don’t use white sugar when making this, as I much prefer golden/raw caster sugar instead. However, this is just my own preference, so you can of course use white caster/superfine sugar if you wish to.
Just keep in mind that if you want to get the maximum flavour from your vanilla sugar, then you will need to make it at least a couple of weeks in advance, before using it.
With Christmas just around the corner, it also makes a gorgeous homemade gift.
1 x large sterilised airtight jar
500g (17.6 ounces) raw/golden caster sugar or white caster/superfine sugar
4 x vanilla pods (organic if you can get them)
In a small food processor, add 200g (7.1 ounces or approx. 1 cup) of the sugar and then split your vanilla pods, adding the seeds to your sugar.
Now process until the seeds are thoroughly blended through the sugar.
I like to pass the now blended sugar through a fine mesh sieve in to a bowl, just to remove any large particles.
Now you can add the remaining sugar to the bowl and mix until well combined.
Depending on how wide your jar is, you may need to cut the vanilla pods in half, so that they can easily fit in. Now pour in about half of the sugar and then place the vanilla pods in the jar, before you top it up with the remaining sugar and give it a good shake.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s really important to allow the vanilla sugar to sit for a couple of weeks, so it can mature and deepen in flavour, before using it. You can see in the photos below that the sugar on the left has just been made, due to its dry appearance. Whereas, the sugar on the right has matured, and become slightly damp, after absorbing all those oils and flavour from the seeds and the pods!