Vanilla sugar can be found as a specialty (and expensive) item in some food markets, but this option is typically made with conventional sugar processed using bone char. I’m sure you could find vegan vanilla sugar in a vegan shop, natural foods store or online if you looked long enough, but when it’s this easy to make, there is no need to overpay for a product that you can create in minutes in your kitchen.
I rarely hear of people under about 40 or so regularly using vanilla sugar in their baking or as an everyday sweetener, but those of us who grew up with grandmothers or mothers who kept a full mason jar of it within reach at all times know that life would not be complete without its superbly sweet splendor.
Of course, if you do much German cooking and baking (or the above-mentioned grandmother, mother or another older relative is German), then you are likely already familiar with vanilla sugar, which is referred to as vanillin zucker, vanille zucker or vanille-zucker in German recipes.
Here are just a few examples of what you can do with homemade vegan vanilla sugar:
- Add it to baked goods in place of part or all of the sugar called for in your recipe
- Use as a sweetener for coffee or tea
- Sprinkle on fresh fruit
- Use as a sweetener for cereal or oatmeal
- Mix with cinnamon and sprinkle on toast
- Sprinkle on sugar cookies or vegan donuts
- Store in a canning jar and give as a host/hostess gift, housewarming gift or as part of a gift basket
- Use in place of unflavored sugar for any purpose where a hint of vanilla will enhance the flavor
Vegan Vanilla Sugar Recipe
What you need:
1 cup sugar (vegan, of course)
1 vanilla bean
1 canning jar (or similar container)
You can easily double or triple this vanilla sugar recipe if you have a jar that will store two or more cups of sugar.
What you do:
1. Add your sugar to the canning jar.
2. Split the vanilla beans in half with a knife.
3. Add the vanilla beans to the sugar.
4. Shake it up.
5. Store in your pantry, a cupboard or some other dry, dark recess in your home.
6. Add more sugar as your supply depletes to get the most out of your vanilla pods.
7. Remember to give your jar of vegan vanilla sugar a good shake every now and then to ensure proper flavor distribution.
For the most flavorful results, you will want to store your finished product for about one week before use to allow the sugar to acquire a proper amount of vanilla goodness.
This is also a great way to reuse vanilla beans after you have used them in other recipes. If the vanilla bean is still intact after the first use, you can use it again by washing it, allowing it to dry thoroughly, and then following the above instructions to make vanilla sugar. Vanilla beans are pretty expensive, but fortunately they are also pretty potent, so this is one option that allows you to reuse vanilla pods to get more for your money. You can even keep reusing them to make more vanilla sugar for months after your initial batch.
You should be able to find vanilla beans in the natural foods section of your local grocery store or a health food store in your area. If you are having a difficult time finding them, you can also buy vanilla beans online.
Now that you know how to make vanilla sugar the cheap and easy way, come back and tell us what creative uses you find for this new addition to your pantry.
If you’ve been using vegan vanilla sugar all along, what are some of the ways you incorporate it into your baking or everyday sugar needs?