‘Tis the season for holiday baking and there’s nothing like homemade vanilla sugar & extract to make your festive treats taste even better. They are quick, and super simple to whip up. The hardest part is waiting patiently for the vanilla to infuse.
Both can be used to enhance the flavor of baked goods, beverages, ice cream, and more. A bottle of vanilla extract or a jar of vanilla sugar would make a lovely gift, as well.
Vanilla sugar is common in Europe. It is used in baked goods or sprinkled onto cakes, pies, or cookies. It can also be stirred into coffee or tea.
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups granulated sugar
Cut a vanilla bean in half, lengthwise, and use a knife to scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and sugar to a blender and blend til the seeds are well incorporated and the sugar becomes soft & fine.
Pour the vanilla sugar into a jar. Add the vanilla bean pod, submerging it in the sugar. You may need to cut it so that it’s fully covered.
Cap the jar with a tight fitting lid and let the sugar infuse for at least 2 weeks.
Vanilla extract is a common ingredient in many cookies, cakes, muffins, and other baked goods. It can also be added to coffee, hot cocoa, cocktails, and more.
- 4-6 vanilla beans
- 8 oz (approximately 1 cup) of gold rum, bourbon, or vodka
Add vanilla beans to a bottle. Pour alcohol of your choosing over top of the beans and cap the bottle with a tight fitting lid.
Using more beans will result in a more potent vanilla flavor. Your choice of alcohol will also influence the taste of the finished extract. Vodka is clean and light, while rum and bourbon impart more complex notes.
Store the bottle out of direct sunlight and shake every so often. Let infuse for at least 2 months. For a more flavorful extract, infuse 6-12 months. It’s well worth the wait!
Looking for ways to use your vanilla sugar & extract? In my next post, I’ll be sharing a recipe for Vanillegipfeli, Swiss vanilla Christmas cookies, which calls for both.
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