Vanilla beans are one of those luxury baking items home cooks don’t use enough, especially in ways as simple as this. Vanilla sugar is simply sugar that has taken a nice, cozy nap with a vanilla bean or two. You can use fresh vanilla beans, or you can use vanilla beans that you’ve already used in another recipe.
For instance, instead of throwing out whole vanilla beans you’ve sliced in half and used to make vanilla bean ice cream, simply wash the vanilla beans, let them dry on a paper towel on your counter, and then put them straight into your sugar jar. Even after they’ve been used and washed, vanilla beans still have a strong fragrance that perfumes granulated sugar. (more…)