Monday, May 10, 2010

Wonderous Vanilla

Vanilla is such a wonderful thing, isn't it?

I've been researching vanilla ice cream recipes, and came across this one. part of it includes a vanilla sugar recipe.
Vanilla sugar? hello! i LOVE vanilla sugar.... i use it in my hot chocolate recipe, and would use it elsewhere, except that it's so stinkin' expensive!!! a few tablespoons for $4?

Now, i like the recipe but there was no way i was buying an OUNCE of vanilla beans. at my rough estimate (the two beans i bought being 4g and about $6) it'd cost me about 40 dollars for an ounce of beans.  This being said, i altered the recipe. here's what i did:

Vanilla Sugar, in two parts

2 vanilla beans
3 1/2 cups vanilla sugar, divided

you will also need a mortar and pestle, a sharp knife and cutting board, and containers to store your sugar, as well as a sieve.

1. Slice open the vanilla beans. Use the knife to scrape out the seeds and juicy bits. Add these to the mortar, along with sugar (up to 1/2 cup, depending on size of mortar). Macerate thoroughly, to break apart the seeds and the fleshy bits. Add remaining sugar (to a total of 1/2 cup) and stir, then sieve to remove fibrous bits.

This vanilla sugar can be used in ice-cream making at a rate of 1tbsp sugar = approximately 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract. 

2. Take remaining pods, and dice finely. In batches, mash them with sugar, then strain out the bits, adding them back to the mortar. Repeat until either A) the sugar no longer becomes sticky and brown tinted or B) your arms get tired.  Add the bits and remaining sugar (i used 3 cups total) to a container. store for two weeks to allow the flavor to leach fully into the sugar, then strain out the bits.  This sugar is quite strongly scented, and could be further diluted with plain sugar if desired!

This second vanilla sugar can be used in anything, including coffee, desserts, or anything you can imagine! 
the flavor seems to be as strong as store bought vanilla sugar, possibly stronger!

see the yummy flakes of vanilla goodness?

that means:
store bought vanilla sugar: $4 for about 4 tbsp

2 beans              $6
3 1/2 c sugar     $.50?
total               56 tablespoons of tasty goodness, and a HUGE SAVINGS!

i am so going to be giving some as gifts to family! yum yum yum!

I also tried the recipe for the Philadelphia-style ice cream using method 3 and flavoring with 1tbs vanilla sugar (seed type) and 1/2 tbs vanilla extract. it is DIVINE!  (and so so fattening... but that's a recipe 'tweak' for a different day, methinks!)  

hope everyone had a good weekend, and a good mother's day where applicable :)


  1. I'm a big fan of anything with a vanilla bean and sugar near it. :)

    As for your comment on my blog--15 lbs is quite a bit of wool! If you think that an average adult sweater (Medium, unisex, whatever) uses about 2 lbs of handspun yarn using wool, well, it's quite a bit. However, if you're working with the roving instead--for cushions, rugs, whatever--the 15 lbs goes by quickly. It is also an enormous deal, even if you're having it shipped to Winnipeg! Enjoy... sniffly Joanne

  2. hey Joanne,

    i don't do any rugmaking or weaving, but i'm hoping to influence some of my fellow reenactors to begin spinning, and thought we could split shipping costs on an order. i don't think i'd go so far as getting fifteen pounds, but looking on their site, even a few pounds order works out to be a pretty good deal, compared to what i've seen available elsewhere!
    as for the vanilla... well, IMO, chocolate wins over vanilla.... but most of the best chocolate has vanilla in it anyway!