I recently made a little cello bag of homemade mini-vanilla wafers for my darling niece on her first birthday…
My kids loved vanilla wafers at this age, sweet, simple, bite-sized, and they melt in the mouth. I used this recipe: Homemade Nilla Wafers, and piped them out about the size of a dime.
The recipe calls for a whole vanilla bean, which I was delighted to find at my local grocery store!
They add such an intense, rich vanilla flavor to anything you use them for. But they are quite expensive (I believe I paid over $7 for two beans), so you really want to make the most of them.
When you use a vanilla bean in a recipe, you want to slice it down lengthways and scrape all of the seeds out. The teeny-weeny vanilla seed specks are suspended in a thick, brown, vanilla goo. Scrape them out with the back of the sharp paring knife you used to split the bean, and add them to your recipe.
What you are left with is a raisiny husk. It’s not really edible, but it can still be of use.
Put it into a container and bury it in sugar.
Cover it and leave it sit for a week or more. That used up husk will perfume the sugar so beautifully…
I spoon a little into my coffee every morning to help me get off to a good start.
It also makes a really nice gift if you package it up pretty. Maybe in a cute mason jar with an extra-special ribbon and an artful label?
Whenever your vanilla sugar supply starts to get low, just top it off with more sugar and stir it around. It’s a gift that keeps on giving!