Vanilla sugar is one of the ingredients I cannot do without. It is incredibly versatile and I use it when making cereal bars, baking cakes, to sweeten a cup of tea, flavour natural yoghurt or sprinkle it on French pancakes. My husband even uses it during the final fermentation stage of his beer making! In France, it comes in handy little sachets, but I could not find them here (my friend Cécile would just say that I was simply not looking hard enough – quite possible!). I just thought I would make it myself, as it does not involve any work, and it actually turned out to be much nicer than the ready-made sachets. I have been doing this for the past six or seven years, and have not used a single sachet since.
All you need is a lidded jar or air-tight container, white sugar and vanilla pod, and you will never run out of this wonderfully fragrant sugar.
Just fill your chosen container half-way with sugar, split your vanilla pod in two and scrape out a bit of the seeds to mix them with the sugar, then cut your halves in the middle.
“Plant” your four quarters of vanilla pod in your sugar, fill to the top with sugar, and within a few days, you will have deliciously fragrant sugar.
When I run out of vanilla sugar, I just add more to my jar and mix it all a bit. The flavour blends really quickly, and I do not change my vanilla pod in the jar more than once or twice a year.
When I need a vanilla pod for a recipe, I use the one in my sugar jar, and replace it with a new one.
If you add a nice scrap of fabric around the lid, a tag and a ribbon, it also makes a pretty, inexpensive present.