With a bunch of vanilla beans purchased online in bulk, you can do so many delicious things.
Vanilla Sugar: Empty vanilla pods are placed in a container of sugar to infuse a heady vanilla fragrance and flavour into the sugar. You can package the vanilla sugar into pretty glass containers for Christmas gifts. Alternately, you can finely grind the empty pods with a little sugar (I use my Bullet) and then gently and thorougly handmix that in with a larger container of sugar. You will in this case, get vanilla-speckled sugar.
- Vanilla Sugar can be used in baking, in place of regular sugar
- as a flavoured sugar for your tea (don't used the speckled sugar for beverages)
- or coffee
- and is beautiful in glass containers for gifting.
- coffee beans for Vanilla Coffee
- whole tea leaves for Vanilla Tea
- beautiful homemade tea bags: a tablespoon of the Vanilla Tea Leaves wrapped in a square of double-layered cheesecloth that is tied with thin twine and decorated with a paper label at the end of the twine
- Other Vanilla Cookies: sables, sugar cookies, vanilla chocolate diamonds, Vanilla Tiffany Snowflake Cookies
Vanilla Extract: After several months of infusing your vodka with empty vanilla pods, you will have created vanilla extract. The more often you bake and use vanilla beans, the stronger your extract and the quicker you'll attain an extract ready for use. I have a bottle of vodka that is perpetually being topped up with new vodka and replenished with vanilla pods as the years pass by. When my extract looks and smells ready, I decant the liquid--just what I need--into a smaller glass container for everyday use. The rest of the extract stays in the larger bottle until I require it. The large bottle of vodka and infusing pods is left in a cool dark place to age. It is quite easy to maintain your vodka supply as all you need to do is toss your empty vanilla pods as you use them into the bottle of vodka.
- If you're gifting vanilla extract, you can purchase small lidded glass bottles from the dollar store, make your own labels or pretty it up by etching the glass with whatever design you wish.