Generally, I think it’s absolutely insane to prep for Christmas six months before the actual holiday. However, I do make one exception. I make a homemade vanilla sugar that’s so awesome it’ll knock Santa’s boots off! And it makes perfect sense to whip this up in July because the longer it sits in your pantry, the more fragrant and tastier it gets.
Once December rolls around, this sugar is completely infused with vanilla flavor and trust me – it’s delicious. Slap on a bow and it’s ready for gift-giving. How’s that for a Christmas in July craft idea?!
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 spent vanilla bean
Pick and Prep Your Jar
My top choice is a 9 oz. olive jar. They’re tall and skinny and make a nice presentation. Plus, you can fit a long vanilla bean inside. And it also holds a good amount of sugar. But really, any reusable glass jar will do as long as it’s clean, sanitized and free of smells.
If you’ve been making and eating lots of homemade jams this summer and are looking for a reason to get rid of some mason jars, those work nicely too.
Collect Spent Vanilla Beans
What exactly is a “spent” vanilla bean? Well, it’s what’s leftover after you’ve scraped out all of the seeds. While most people throw them out, I use them for this vanilla sugar recipe. Those spent beans are full of vanilla flavor. Talk about a zero-waste project!
Every time you use a bean, make a cup of this vanilla sugar. By Christmas, you’ll have lots of jars of homemade vanilla sugar to give away!
Make Your Vanilla Sugar
Add your sugar and spent vanilla bean to a jar and shake. Yup, that’s it. Store it in the cupboard, give it a shake very once in a while to break up any clumps – and cross “holiday gifts for the neighbors” OFF your to-do list!
3 Awesome Ways to Use Vanilla Sugar
- Obviously, you can use it to bake.
- It adds the most wonderful flavor to a cup of hot coffee, tea or hot cocoa.
- Sprinkle it on holiday cookies instead of artificially-colored sprinkles.