Make Vanilla Sugar not Trash


Image of vanilla sugar

Don

The humble vanilla bean / pod

The vanilla bean in magnificent it its dark dreary half shrivelled disguise of a pod nestling its tiny seeds away from prying eyes. The pod looks like something you would throw out in disgust after finding it hidden beneath your fridge not an aromatic flavouring to add depth and flavour to your golden cakes. When the vanilla bean has served it’s purpose it can live on and make a delicious vanilla sugar that you normally find in quality baking shops or gourmet restaurants. Of course they charge a fortune for it in the shops and yet you can make this in a blink of any eye. It also gives you advantage when people ask you how you make your cakes so tasty you can say

“I always use a gourmet vanilla sugar”

This will produce a look of awe from your friends and perhaps a scattering of understanding nodding even though they may not know what it is; it sounds impressive. If you are lucky most will not dare to ask what vanilla sugar is for not wanting to look dumb. For those that do – there is no harm in sharing your secret if you wish.

Homemade Vanilla Sugar = You are a Baking Queen ūüôā

All you need to do is:

1 x air tight storage jar (Kilner are good)

1 x vanilla pod / bean emptied of seeds (after being added to your cakes)

Cut the vanilla bean / pod into several pieces – not too small that you forget to fish them out when you bake with the sugar – it’s not good to chomp on one of these pods as they do not taste nice raw. Add your used pods to a storage jar / airtight container. Pour caster sugar over the top – I use golden caster sugar for my vanilla cakes as it make them taste smoother and more like a vanilla ice cream and gives your cake the slight twist in flavour to a normal victoria sponge for example. Place the vanilla sugar wannabee mixture in a dark cupboard ( the baking one is a good idea so you don’t forget where you put it!)

After a few days or as long as you want, the flavour will intensify the longer you leave it. Use it in reciepes that call for vanilla extract and sugar such as cakes, creme brulee etc. Why not have a teaspoon in your coffee – because your worth it and you can!

Enjoy x
Look at the choc & toffee cookie  recipe or toffee fudge meringue to see where I have used this wonderful sugar.
Next on my list will be making some vanilla extract as I want high quality and low price = win win!

Chocolate and toffee cookies

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Cookies are on the agenda today as they will always make you feel better when it is your first week back at work after a break.  I like cookies as they will go great with my morning cup of coffee as I desperately try to wake myself up.  This recipe is adapted from the God of baking Mary Berry Mega choc chip cookie from the book  which you can buy here.  Chocolate is the best invention ever Рread why on my post here.

6oz (175g) soft margarine
8oz (225g) natural caster sugar (I store mine in a Kilner storage jar (see here for example) with used vanilla pods to make vanilla sugar)
2 eggs room temp
12oz (350g) self raising flour
4oz (100g) chocolate covered toffee pieces ( thorntons) chopped up

Preheat oven to 180c / gas 4 / 150c fan oven

Measure all ingredients and place in mixer.
Mix until a smooth dough.
Use 1 tbsp or 1 cookie scoop and set cookies well apart on lined baking trays.
Place in oven for 15 mins until lightly golden.
Place on wire rack to cool.
Store in airtight container.

Put kettle on and enjoy a warm cookie!

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