Last Updated : Nov 02,2017
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Vanilla sugar is a variety of European sugar, made of Costa Rican granulated sugar with vanilla beans or vanilla extract. It is costly and tough to obtain outside Europe but can be simply made at home by combining white sugar with vanilla bean pieces. Sometimes it can be replaced with vanilla extract, where one teaspoon equals one package. However, when it is needed as a topping, vanilla extract is unsuitable.
Here is how to make it at home:
• You need vanilla beans and a container of sugar.
• The vanilla beans can be fresh, but making vanilla sugar is a great way to give new life to used beans.
• If reusing the beans, first take them out of your custard/sauce, pat them gently dry and place them directly in the container of sugar.
• Any vanilla specks that have not been scraped out can be scraped into the sugar.
• After a few hours, the vanilla beans will be completely dry and a quick shake of the container will break up any clumps of sugar that formed.
• The same process applies with fresh beans, which should be split before you add them to the sugar.
How to select
• A bit tough to find in India, but is stocked in some specialty stores.
• It might be easier and less expensive to make it at home.
• Good quality vanilla sugar has a strong aromatic flavour.
• Look for 100% pure and natural high grade vanilla sugar as beans with artificial colour and flavouring are also present in the market.
• With the sweetness of sugar and the flavour of vanilla, vanilla sugar is a good addition to oatmeal and other cereals, and fruits as well.
• It goes down very well with a cup of tea!
• It is even better when substituted for plain sugar in baked goods, because almost every single one - with the possible exception of some savoury items - can benefit from the boost of flavour, either in the batter/dough or sprinkled on top.
• Vanilla sugar is used commonly for flavouring desserts like ice-cream.
• Although vanilla sugar is a prized flavouring agent on its own, it is also used to enhance the flavour of other substances, to which its own flavour is often complementary, such as chocolate, custard, caramel, coffee and others.
How to store
• Store vanilla sugar in an airtight dark coloured container and keep it away from direct sunlight.
• In old medicinal literature, vanilla is described as an aphrodisiac and a remedy for fevers.
• However, vanilla sugar may increase levels of catecholamines (including epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline), and as such can also be considered mildly addictive.
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