You may have come across “vanilla sugar” as an ingredient in some recipes, especially in baking projects. And you may have wondered just what the heck it is. Well, it is exactly what it says — a combination of vanilla and sugar. You can buy vanilla sugar in small jars (I’ve checked online prices and a 2.6 oz. jar costs anywhere from USD6.40 to USD6.95) if it’s available in your area. If not, you can make it at home. It’s easy and it’s cheaper. All you need are vanilla pods and sugar.
Note that there are recipes that say you can use vanilla extract instead of vanilla pods. I’ve never tried that so I won’t recommend it.
Vanilla pods are available in deli stores and baking supply stores. At Cooks Xchange, two pods sell for over PHP200.00. Not cheap, definitely. But you can make four cups of vanilla sugar with those two pods. You can do the math and compare how much cheaper that will be than buying a 2.6 oz. jar (about half a cup) for the equivalent of USD6.40.
The vanilla pods that I used here didn’t come from a local store, however. I have a friend, a former classmate at the U.P. College of Law, who is now based in Delhi. She was home for a vacation last month and she brought home vanilla pods. For me. A LOT OF VANILLA PODS. She said she was in a spice store in Delhi one time and she thought of me. Oh, how sweet. Thank you, Joy, they will go a long, long way for a lot of cooking and baking projects.
So, let’s make vanilla sugar, shall we?
Take a vanilla pod and slit it vertically. Scrape off the seeds inside.
Put about half a cup of sugar in a jar and add the vanilla seeds. Cover tightly and shake until the vanilla seeds are well distributed and there are no visible clumps. It’s easier if you start with just half a cup of sugar.
Add the vanilla pod to the jar and fill up with a cup and a half of sugar.
Shake, shake, shake. You have your vanilla sugar.
For best results, leave to infuse for about a week before using.