Vanilla infused sugar has to be the easiest recipe I know. It is also tempting to eat it straight from the canister, although you probably shouldn’t. Every time you open the lid, the heavenly smell of vanilla envelops you. The hardest part of the recipe is waiting the 3 to 6 weeks for the flavour of the infusion to fully develop. This is another recipe that you can increase the quantities to give as a gift. An additional bonus to this recipe is that it utilises a vanilla bean that has already been spent. That is, you have scraped the delicious caviar out and used it for another luscious morsel. Instead of throwing away the empty pod, you can utilise it and make some vanilla sugar, vanilla extract or even some vanilla syrup. Some people like to remove or sift out the solid particulate out of the castor sugar, but I like how it looks left in. At the last minute, I got creative and decided to add some star anise to my vanilla sugar base to add a little je ne sais quoi. What a fabulous idea that turned out to be.
VARIATIONS: Infused sugars are not limited to just vanilla, although vanilla is the most well known. Cinnamon, cloves, glace ginger, rose petals (organic), violet petals (organic), lavender,fresh rosemary, dried orange, mandarin or lemon peel can all make wonderfully different infused sugars, and they make great gifts. My favourites are ginger & cardamom infused sugar, and vanilla & star anise infused sugar.
USES: Depending on the flavour, there are a multitude of uses for this delicacy. Scatter over your crepes, have it in your herbal tea or latte, substituted for regular sugar in your baking, muddle it in a cocktail or rim the glass with it, mix it with butter and smear it on hot toast or rain it over cookies before baking them. You could even pour it over Crème Brûlée before flaming it with a blowtorch. Yum!
Begin by pouring half your sugar into your storage jar. Now look at the sugar. Do not eat the sugar. This is important.
Push the vanilla beans into the sugar. Try and spread them out so they can more easily share their perfumed goodness into their environment.
Now top up the jar with more sugar. Leave about a 2.5cm (or 1″) gap so that you can shake the sugar jar freely.
And here is where I decided to add the star anise. I would have added it in three steps if I had planned to use it – 1/3 on the bottom or the jar, 1/3 when half the sugar was added, and the rest after all the sugar was in the jar. As it was, I just inverted the jar a few more times, and used the handle of my wooden spoon to push the pods deeper into the sugar.
Happy Sprinkling 😛
VANILLA AND STAR ANISE INFUSED SUGAR
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Infusing time: 3 to 6 weeks
Yield: 4 1/2 Cups
- 900 grams/28 oz/ 4 cups caster (superfine) sugar
- 5 split and spent vanilla bean, caviar used in another recipe
- 9 – 12 star anise
- 1 kg/32 oz jar, to store
Place 1/3 of your star anise into you clean and dry jar. Pour half the sugar (2 cups) into the jar. Insert your spent vanilla pods into the sugar. Try and spread the pods so they can come into contact with as much sugar as possible. Scatter a further 1/3 of the star anise on top of the sugar and vanilla bean pods. Add the remaining sugar to the jar. Top the sugar with the last portion of star anise. Shake the jar. Store in a cupboard or pantry. Shake the jar every few days, and start using when flavour has developed to your satisfaction. If desired, sift out the spices at this time.
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