Homemade vanilla sugar is one ingredient that I always like to keep in the kitchen. Specked with vanilla beans, the sugar can be used in place of regular sugar in most recipes and can really boost the flavor in a cake or a batch of cookies. It’s easy to make, but it’s not the only flavored sugar option out there. Another type of sugar I like to make is citrus sugar, and I’m a big fan of lemon sugar in particular.
All you need to make lemon sugar is a fresh lemon or two, some sugar and an airtight container. Pour the sugar into your container and zest a lemon right into the sugar. I tend to use one large lemon for about 2-3 cups of sugar, depending on the size of the lemon and how lemony I want my sugar to be. Zesting releases the natural oils of the lemon and those oils absorb quickly into the sugar. Stir well, then let the sugar mixture sit out for at least an hour to dry slightly. Close up the container, give it a good shake and then store it in your cupboard so that it is ready any time you need it. To refresh the mixture after you use some up, add in some regular sugar and stir everything around. You won’t need to zest in more citrus unless you use up almost the whole batch.
This can also be made using orange zest or lime zest, instead of lemon zest, if you’d prefer to keep a different flavor around. In addition to being mixed into recipes, citrus sugar is also great for making drinks. Lemon sugar tastes great in tea and lemonade, as does orange sugar. Lime sugar is delicious for rimming glasses for daiquiris, mojitos and other cocktails.