As I've mentioned, I have a tradition of getting up early every morning to take our dog, Mr. Darcy, on a walk for a little "Me & Mr." time before Mike leaves for work... funny, I always wanted to be that 'type' of person that got up early for a morning walk- little did I know that I all I had to be to become an early riser was to have a baby!

I love this time of day when the air is a little chilly and crisp.  Before we head out the door, I prepare a thermos of coffee to take along.  A scoop of this vanilla sugar makes my day (...or coffee, at least).   As I sip that hot coffee with a subtle hint of real vanilla, it seems like the flowers smile as we walk by and the birds sing a little sweeter.  It is a great way to start the day.

My favorite projects are simple tasks with minimal effort that have huge rewards.  We all remember the saying from when we were young, “A little effort can go a long way.”  Never has it been more true than with Vanilla Sugar and Vanilla Bean Syrup.  The best example of this is putting a vanilla bean that has been scraped of its bean in a jar of sugar.  Simple.  From then on, when you use that special sugar (that took you seconds to put together) in your baking or your morning coffee, it will be extra special. 

With only a couple vanilla beans and some sugar, you can create vanilla sugar that will bring the authentic vanilla bean aromatic to cookies, scones or creamy custards.  Use it in place of regular sugar in recipes that call for both sugar and vanilla extract.

List of Ingredients:
    1 vanilla beans
    5 cups of sugar
    1 medium airtight canister

For the Vanilla Sugar, begin by scraping the seeds from one vanilla bean.  To do this, slice the vanilla bean in half, length wise.  Using your knife, run the blade down the center of half of the bean, scraping out the dark brown seeds from the pod.  Set the vanilla bean pod aside. Add the seeds to a food processor along with 2 cups of sugar.  Process the seeds and the sugar until you can see the small seeds evenly distributed.  Add the processed seeds and sugar to a medium canister.  Add 3 more cups of sugar and the scraped vanilla bean pods to the canister.  Place the airtight lid on, then shake the canister to mix the vanilla sugar with the regular sugar until well mixed. 

For the Vanilla Syrup directions, click here!

For more baking pantry inspiration - see my mini Baking Pantry Upgrade... it will make you want to head to The Container Store!