Small Man loves vanilla sugar in his tea, so much so that he’s been known to ask for it when dining out…
“I’d like English Breakfast tea with vanilla sugar, please.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t have any vanilla sugar..”
“Nevermind then, I’ll just have a glass of water, thanks..”
It’s surprising that more cafés and restaurants don’t offer it, as vanilla sugar is dead easy to make. It can be expensive though, so if you’re planning to make a large quantity, it’s worth sourcing reasonably priced pods. We buy ours in bulk from Chefs’ Warehouse and divvy them out amongst friends – $75 buys 500g (100+) of fat vanilla beans.
The easiest way to make vanilla sugar is to bung the sugar and scraped-out vanilla seeds into a food processor and blitz them together. This usually results in a powdered sugar, perfect for dusting the tops of cakes and pies.
I made this batch in a slightly different way, and was really pleased with the results. If you’re making it for gifts, this quantity will make 10 x 200g bags.
- 2kg (4½lbs) white sugar
- 5 vanilla pods
1. Empty the sugar into a large mixing bowl.
2. Line a chopping board with a couple of sheets of parchment paper or foil (be warned, vanilla will stain chopping boards). Slit each vanilla pod in half, and using the back of your knife, carefully scrape out the seeds.
3. Add the seeds to the sugar, and rub in well with your impeccably clean fingertips, breaking up any fibrous tissue in the process. When the mixture is well combined, bury the empty pods into the sugar, cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave it overnight to infuse.
4. The next day, break up any clumps that have formed overnight, and remove the empty pods (Pete used ours to make vanilla syrup). At this stage, the sugar can be used as is, or it can be whizzed in small batches in the food processor to smooth out any remaining lumpy bits. It only needs a very short spin – just enough to refine the sugar a little without grinding it into a powder.
We’re running late this year with our Christmas gift making, but I’m feeling better now that we’ve made a start. I have ganache for truffle centres setting, fruit soaking in brandy, and a new cookie recipe to play with.
How are Christmas preparations going at your place?