Vanilla sugar always reminds me of Christmas.
My mother, Gran Fran, uses confectioner's sugar with vanilla in it to coat her Viennese Crescent cookies (post coming soon!). I always keep a jar mixed in my refrigerator for a last minute baking project. My sister Noel (she of baking fame from this post) suggested making a confectioner's and a standard white sugar (or raw sugar) mixed with vanilla to give as gifts.
She said she mixes the standard vanilla sugar into coffee and it's delightful. It took me about ten minutes to make these sugars, yielding enough for three or four small jars to share with friends.
Vanilla beans are usually quite pricey. I've found a great place in San Francisco that sells both saffron and vanilla beans at very affordable prices. Here's a link to their site, saffron.com (yes, for reals), and they ship. They have a nice history of vanilla on their site, too.
Pair these sugars with some excellent coffee beans (or ground coffee) and a nice wooden spoon attached to the jar and you've got yourself a unique holiday gift.
Vanilla Sugar Bundle
yields 2 four ounce jars of confectioner's sugar and two four ounce jars of white sugar
- Scrape 4 vanilla beans into 2 cups of confectioner's sugar.
- Mix well and seal.
- Use the hollowed out beans to flavor 2 cups of regular white sugar.