What Is Vanilla Sugar And How Do You Use It?

There are no two things that hold a uniquely special place in the hearts of many the way that vanilla and sugar do. There is something so extraordinary about the aroma of fresh vanilla bean wafting through the air — especially if it's baked into a sweet and sugary baked treat

According to Bob's Red Mill, vanilla sugar is a secret baking staple common throughout much of Europe, but it's mainly used in Germany, Poland, and Hungary. This sweet little addition to baked goods is something that is incredibly simple to make and will take whatever you are making to another echelon of flavor. Bob's Red Mill adds that finding vanilla sugar within the United States can pose a slight problem since it is such a niche product, but the company adds that it can be found at specialty grocery stores for a higher price than regular sugars normally used in baking pastries and desserts. So, unless you're in a rush, you can easily make it for a fraction of the cost in your home.

Vanilla sugar can be used in almost anything

According to Sally's Baking Addiction blog, all you would need to make a small batch of this at your home is one vanilla bean and about two cups of sugar. Let it sit for a while, and then you're set! 

Epicurious explains that when vanilla sugar is properly set, the final result will make the normally white sugar look caramel with small flecks of vanilla bean seeds throughout the mixture. The consistency, according to Epicurious, should be somewhat crunchy and a bit chunky in nature. 

In terms of how long you need to let it soak up all the vanilla flavor, Sally's Baking Addiction notes that in order for you to achieve the optimal intensity in the sugar, it should be kept for at least two weeks. Bob's Red Mill notes that shelf life for vanilla sugar is that of regular sugar (the company says you can keep it for almost two years). In terms of what you can add it to, vanilla sugar can be used in anything from cakes to cookies to pies. You can even use it in coffee and tea. Bob's Red Mill attributes this to the fact that, unlike vanilla extract, vanilla sugar interacts with food the same way regular would (but with the added vanilla flavor).