I keep a container full of vanilla sugar in the back of my pantry that I refresh every time I have an extra vanilla bean around. Making your own vanilla sugar is a great way to repurpose vanilla beans that you have already use to infuse a custard or other sauce with vanilla, giving them a second life (and getting your money’s worth!) in the kitchen. Vanilla sugar isn’t something that I often see in stores, but there are a few companies that make it available for purchse. One of these is Rodelle, a company that specializes in vanilla and vanilla extracts. Their vanilla extracts are excellent, but if you are going to branch out from the standard baking vanillas, their Vanilla Sugar is also a must-try.
I make my vanilla sugar with regular white sugar, the kind that I use in most of my cookies and cakes. Their all-natural vanilla sugar is made with coarse, crunchy sugar crystals and is completely infused with vanilla extractives – meaning that it has the same intense smell as vanilla extract and the same dark color, but it is sweet and flavorful at the same time. I have to admit that their vanilla sugar has more vanilla flavor than any other vanilla sugar I’ve tried, whether homemade or at a high end restaurant. I still use my homemade vanilla sugar for baking because I find that the finer sugar is a little more versatile in recipes, but this sugar gets sprinkled on buttery cinnamon toast, added to coffee drinks and used to finish off muffins and scones with both vanilla flavor and a crunchy texture from large sugar crystals. The vanilla sugar is a little bit more difficult to find in retailers than their vanilla extracts, but it is worth keeping an eye out for if you, like me, are a vanilla fan.