Skip to main content

Replenishing Vanilla Sugar

As I was getting ready to bake a large batch of cookies a few days ago, I reached into my pantry for some vanilla sugar and noticed that it was lacking in fragrance.  A very faint aroma of vanilla was still present, but it wasn't what it should have been.  Since I was already planning on adding a vanilla bean into one of my cookie doughs, I thought it would be best to replenish the existing vanilla sugar that I keep in one of my antique Ball jars.  It's so simple to do this and worth the few minutes it takes to make a perfect vanilla sugar. Vanilla sugar enhances so many desserts, cookie doughs, teas and even coffees.  I absolutely feel it's a must-have pantry item for all bakers.

For most recipes that call for vanilla extract I generally use my extra-infused vanilla essence (this is vanilla extract with a plump vanilla bean in the container), but if I want to make the recipe even more special, I boost the flavor by adding vanilla sugar in place of the regular granulated sugar.  I know of some bakers who love to use vanilla paste in their doughs no matter what and I don't blame them, because those flecks of vanilla bean make cookies look so enticing and taste extra scrumptious.

Let's replenish our vanilla sugar!

As I was making a cookie dough I decided to enhance it by splitting a vanilla bean in half and using the paste.  The mixer was creaming the butter and sugar at this stage, so it was time to add all of that delicious paste into the mixture. 

When splitting vanilla beans, you want to use a small paring knife to slice it lengthwise down the middle.  Expose the vanilla pod and scrape out the paste using the dull end of the knife.  You can clearly see how the paste just clings onto the knife tip.

Here is the vanilla bean that's been cleaned out.  In the Ball Jar I have vanilla sugar that needs some freshening up.

Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and pour the vanilla sugar from your jar. Strain it well.

Pieces of an old vanilla bean have hardened, bits of sugar have clumped and turned solid.  All of this needs to be removed and discarded.

You can see how much 'sweet detritus' was removed from the vanilla sugar. Pour the vanilla sugar back into the jar and embed the vanilla bean in it.  Seal the jar tightly.  

Cure the vanilla sugar for about one week, shaking the jar from time to time, and use it in your next cup of coffee or creme anglaise for a boost in flavor and aroma.

Look in your pantry and check to see if your vanilla sugar needs replenishing and freshening up.  If you don't have a vanilla bean or two in your cupboard, buy some the next time you're at the grocery store.  Making and replenishing vanilla sugar is one of the easiest things in the world, yet it's one of the best things you can add to a batch of cookies to make them stand out above the rest.  Assemble some this weekend!


Popular posts from this blog

Antique Salt Cellars

There was a time when salt cellars played an important role on the dining table for the host or hostess.  As a result of it being such an expensive commodity several hundred years ago, salt was seen as a luxury and it was the well to do that made salt cellars quite fashionable & a status symbol for the home.  A single salt cellar usually sat at the head of the table and was passed around throughout the meal.  The closer one sat to the salt cellar, the more important one was deemed by the head of the household.  Smaller cellars that were more accessible and with an open top became a part of Victorian table settings.  Fast forward to the 20th century when salt was no longer a luxury and when anti caking agents were added to make salt free-flowing, and one begins to see salt cellars fall out of fashion.  Luckily for the collector and for those of us who like to set a table with Good Things , this can prove to be a boon. Salt cellars for the table come in silver, porcelain, cut glass

Collecting Jadeite

With its origins dating back to the 1930s, jadeite glassware began its mass production through the McKee Glass Co. in Pennsylvania. Their introduction of the Skokie green & Jade kitchenware lines ushered in our fascination with this jade color.  Glassmakers catered jadeite to the American public as an inexpensive alternative to earthenware soon after the Depression, both for the home and for its use in restaurants.  The Jeanette Glass Company and Anchor Hocking introduced their own patterns and styles, which for many collectors, produced some of the most sought after pieces.  Companies marketed this beautiful glass under the monikers of jadite , jadeite , jade glass , jad-ite , jade-ite , so however you want to spell it, let it draw you in for a closer look.  If you want a thorough history of the origins of jadeite, collectors’ pricing, patterns & shapes (don’t forget the reproductions in 2000), I highly suggest picking up the book by Joe Keller & David Ross called, Jadei

A Tour of Turkey Hill with Martha Stewart and Friends

Martha Stewart led an intimate tour of her former Westport, Connecticut home and gardens for a few of my friends this past weekend.  From the photographs I've seen of that special day, it was an experience that will be remembered for a lifetime by those who were in attendance.  As much as I regret not going to this momentous occasion, my friends were kind enough to allow me to share their amazing photographs here on the blog. Let's take a tour of Turkey Hill with Martha Stewart and a few of my friends. Without the kindness of Jeffrey Reed, Dennis Landon, Darrin David, Anthony Picozzi and Colin Eastland, this post would not be possible.  It must also be stated that the fundraising event was graciously hosted by the current owners of Turkey Hill, the Bergs. Many thanks to the Berg family for opening up the property. Turkey Hill is the Federal style home that was purchased, renovated and landscaped by Martha Stewart and her then husband, Andy, back in 1970.  It was he