Q. What is vanilla sugar? I can't find it in my supermarket, and the clerks there had never heard of it.
A. Vanilla sugar is mostly a homemade item that is sold commercially primarily in gourmet shops or from online gourmet vendors.
Vanilla sugar is a term used by cooks for sugar that is flavored with a vanilla bean.
You can make vanilla sugar at home very easily by splitting a vanilla bean, scraping out the seeds -- use them in a recipe -- and burying the split vanilla bean into a container of sugar.
Cover tightly, and, after about a week, the vanilla bean will have flavored the sugar with a perfumey vanilla scent and taste that will improve everything from a coffee cake or cookie topping to a cup of hot cocoa.
Vanilla sugar is also good as a substitute for regular sugar in scones, quick breads, or almost anything that would benefit from a vanilla undertone.