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Thursday, February 11, 2016

How I make Vanilla Sugar

So since I have vanilla beans on hand, and just picked up a few 4 pound bags of sugar on sale recently... And since I'm down to a half jar of Vanilla Sugar... I decided it was time to set up some more. Good vanilla sugar takes a while to really cure nicely. For me, it's a goodly couple months before I consider a jar steeped enough to use.
What is vanilla sugar? Why, simply white sugar infused with vanilla beans. What is it good for? All sorts of sweet applications that use vanilla. Like if you make pound cake, cookies, or meringues- use vanilla sugar and vanilla to kick up the vanilla. Works great for homemade ice cream, and is excellent in jellies. Makes a tasty addition to your coffee and several hot teas :)

Onto making it...

This is your whole list of everything you need.
Vanilla Beans and a 4 pound bag of sugar
jars to put the sugar into
a bowl, whisk, and spatula to stir your sugar up
a knife and cutting board to slice your beans on

 Mmmmm, I use five beans for this. One bean per pound of sugar, plus one bean for the batch.  These are lovely and fresh, very flexable and easy to cut.

 After you slice down the bean, use the back of your knife to scrape your bean. Yes, the back of your knife. Works easier this way, trust me.

 Mmmmm, lot of beanie goodness just piling up on that blade.

 5 beans yield of guts, yum. this gets stirred into the sugar. Yes, the pods and all their remaining clinging goodness are getting used later on.

 Now to start the sugar. Use about a third of the bag to start off with, and use all the bean guts.

 Before the first whisking. You are going to whisk it it because it will break up the vanilla blobs easier. You use less sugar because it's easier that way too. Once the vanilla is well distributed, add another third of the bag of sugar and whisk that in. Once that is well distributed, use the spatula to stir in the last third of a bag of sugar.

This is the whole bowl of sugar, after stirring. Now to fill the jars :)

 The stripped pods, with much goodness clinging to them, yum.

 Cut them up into 5-6 segments, you will be distributing them equally among your jars.

 Two quart jars, filled about a third of the way full of sugar, ready for the first batch of beans.

 Here's about a quarter of the beans in one of the jars. After tossing in your beans, close up the jar and shake well. Open jar up, add another third of sugar and another quarter of the beans, close up the jar and shake well. Add the final third of the sugar to the jar and shake well again.
Keep in mind that you are doing this to two quart jars.

This is what a full jar looks like. Nice distribution of little black flakes, and you can see some of the beans. There will be about a cup of sugar left over. If you really want to pack it into the jars, you can make it fit. I don't bother, I just use a pint jar for the leftover sugar. That sugar will receive my leftover beans from the last batch of vanilla sugar, sort of start a mother. But you want to make sure you use all 5 fresh bean pods between the two quart jars.

Now all you have to do is seal the jars, set them aside in a cool, dark, and dry place.. and in a few months when summer baking and sweet preserving comes in, you will have some sugar ready for use.

And that's how I make vanilla sugar.

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