A couple days ago I was sitting in my biology class, listening to my teacher talk about evolution, the past of earth, and fossils. Fossils were a subject that have fascinated me ever since I was a child, it amazed me how an animals body could turn into stone, however I never quite looked into it, intimidated and confused by the complex terms I didn’t understand, being the age of seven(even though I did try making my own fossils). However, when I grew older, I switched on to a different scientific fascination, forgetting about fossils until now. I’ve finally found out how fossils become the way they are, and the strange thing is, when I was reading about this, it reminded me vaguely of vanilla sugar. No, I don’t always relate everything I learn to baking, however this was one time I did :)
So with fossils what happens after its buried is that the minerals in the bones of the organism and other hard tissues get replaced with metal ions and other inorganic materials, and also combined with the pressure of the sediment on top of the whole thing transforms it.
With vanilla sugar you have two simple elements, sugar and a vanilla bean, with the insides scraped out. Now you leave them in an air tight jar for a while. The sugar starts to take on the smells and tastes of vanilla like the bones did with the metal ions and inorganic material. However in the end, unlike the process of fossilization, you end up with a delicious vanilla tinged sugar that adds a little flair to everything you put it in.
So, you ask, what exactly is vanilla sugar, and what do we do with it?
Well that’s simple. It’s simply sugar that has this amazing vanilla taste to it, and you can do many things with it, like spoon a bit into your tea, or coffee in the morning, however I mostly prefer using it for making creme brulee, trust me it makes a difference compared to regular granulated sugar!
So I’ll start over from the beginning for how to make it.
A vanilla beans with the insides scraped out or used(i usually use mine in ice cream, and keep the pods around for exactly this purpose).
An airtight jar | I usually make really big jar of this but for depiction purposes:
and lastly: sugar. Just plain ol’ granulated sugar.
so what do you do with these?
- Take the jar and fill it up with sugar(not fully to the rim. Just below is good.)
- Take your vanilla bean, and push it into the middle of the sugar, like so:
3. Put it in the pantry wait for a month. Yes a month. Although I recommend checking on it every week and a half, because I’ve heard other food blogs say that their vanilla sugar was made much faster than mine. How do you know its ready? You open the jar, and the first you smell is the light aroma of vanilla, and if you taste the sugar it should definitely taste vanilla-y.
Bon apetit :)