So we've all watched tv chefs make something that involves a vanilla bean, and inevitably that chef will suggest that a great way to recycle that vanilla bean is to stick it into your sugar bowl to make vanilla sugar.
... But what the hell do I do with vanilla sugar? I'm sure there are a myriad of things to do with vanilla sugar; but being more of a cook than a baker, I can't think of one, and I'm very interested in hearing some ideas.
Creme Brulee, Coffee Pot de Crème, Chocolate Mousse, Puddings, Pies; you can use it in any recipe that calls for sugar where a bit of vanilla flavoring might enhance the dish. But you don't have to drop it into your sugar canister. Store it in a jar along with some granulated sugar and use it when it makes sense in a recipe you're working with.
Vanilla sugar can be used for any sweet recipe, but if you don't bake or cook desserts you might not want to go to the trouble of making it.
I make an intense vanilla pudding by soaking the split pod and scraped out beans in the warming milk, using a bit of homemade vanilla extract, and the vanilla sugar for a sweetener. Vanilla sugar is awesome sprinkled over fresh berries or macerated with them. If you like flavors in your coffee or tea, sweeten it with that. Iced herb teas are nice with it. It's also good in smoothies as a change from honey. Whipped cream. Hot chocolate made from scratch with bittersweet chocolate, a touch of cinnamon and vanilla sugar. And after all those sweet suggestions, I've discovered that you can flavor Splenda in the same way, if sugar intake is an issue.
anytime you use sugar-think vanilla sugar!
I recently added vanilla pods that had been sitting in sugar to fresh coffee beans and let the bean steep while the coffee brewed-in a word: amazing!