Make your own Vanilla Sugar

vanilla beanI love vanilla! It makes my world a happy place. When I add vanilla to a recipe, I always go the ‘extra mile’ or teaspoon. Double vanilla– that’s my motto when it comes to flavor. Why, you ask? Because vanilla makes everything better. (At least for me)

Before Cortez, the Old World had never heard of vanilla. Vanilla got it’s name in the early 16th century from Spanish explorers arriving on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. The word vanilla comes from the spanish word vaina which means pod or sheath. The simple translation is little pod. If you’ve ever seen a vanilla been you can understand how they came up with the name.

Premium vanilla beans should have a wonderful, rich aroma, be sleek in appearance and oily to the touch. If the beans are mildewed, dry, brittle, or have very little scent, they are not a good choice.

There are several varieties of beans to choose from. The most common being the Bourbon bean, or Madagascar vanilla. These beans are long and slender with a thick, oily skin. They have a rich fragrance,and contain numerous tiny seeds.

Mexican beans are similar to the Bourbon beans although they are a little smoother and have a woodsy, spicy fragrance.

Tahitian beans are shorter, plumper, and contain a higher water and oil content. The skin on these beans is thinner, and they have fewer seeds. The aroma of the Tahitian vanilla bean has more of a floral and fruity smell. Their aroma is often compared to wine, cherry, prunes and sometimes even licorice.

To make vanilla sugar, all you have to do is toss the vanilla bean into the sugar container (after you have scraped the seeds out). The wonderful aroma and flavor of the vanilla bean will flavor your sugar ‘in the most delightful way‘ (song and music notes floating in the air).

You can use both the seeds and the bean pod in your recipes, often times more than once. So, don’t discard them too soon. I leave my used vanilla pods in my sugar for a long, long time. Every time I open the sugar container it fills the room with a faint scent of vanilla. I love it!

I founds some delicious Rodelle Vanilla Beans at Costco, or you can order them online.

Ciao, and thanks for stopping by.

–Happy Baking