How to make flavored sugars

Michele Borboa, MS

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Crafty home chefs have been putting used vanilla beans in sugar bowls for decades. Not only does it extend the life of a pricey ingredient -- vanilla beans can go for $3 each to $200 per pound -- it creates a uniquely flavored sugar that gives a lovely vanilla depth to everything from baked goods to specialty drinks.

vanilla sugarVanilla flavored sugar is only the beginning when it comes to turning a kitchen staple into a gourmet treat. Flavored sugars are fun to have on hand at home but they can also become much appreciated gifts when presented in pretty tins or ribbon-wrapped mason jars. Give these flavored sugars a try and then come up with some of your own gourmet sweeteners.

Vanilla Sugar

Makes 1 cup Ingredients: 1 vanilla bean, used or fresh 1 cup granulated sugar Directions: For used vanilla beans, scrape any excess vanilla specks out of the pod and into the sugar. If using fresh vanilla beans, split bean lengthwise and scrape specks into the sugar. Stir the sugar then submerge bean into sugar and store in an airtight container.

Citrus-kissed Sugar

Makes 1 cup Ingredients: 1 cup granulated sugar Grated zest of 1 orange, 2 lemons or 3 limes (or a mix) Directions: Place sugar and citrus zest in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. At this point, you can store in an airtight container or continue to pulse to make a fine-grain sugar before transferring to an airtight container.

Lavender Sugar

Makes 1 cup This sugar is especially good in lemon desserts. Ingredients: 1 cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons lavender buds Directions: Place sugar and lavender in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. At this point, you can store in an airtight container or continue to pulse to make a fine-grain sugar before transferring to an airtight container.

Mint Sugar

Makes 1 cup Try mint sugar in chocolate desserts or tea. Ingredients: 1 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped Directions: Place sugar and mint in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. At this point, you can store in an airtight container or continue to pulse to make a fine-grain sugar before transferring to an airtight container.

Lemon Thyme Sugar

This is an interesting herb-citrus sugar that is delectable in blueberry pie. Ingredients: 1 cup granulated sugar Grated zest of 1 lemon 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves Directions: Place sugar, lemon zest and thyme in a food processor and pulse to combine. At this point, you can store in an airtight container or continue to pulse to make a fine-grain sugar before transferring to an airtight container.

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Michele Borboa, MS
Michele Borboa, MS is a contributing editor for SheKnows.com specializing in health, fitness, and all things food. She is a veteran health and fitness professional, personal chef, and mom in Bozeman, Montana. She is also the author of the time-saving cookbook Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy (Fair Winds Press, July 2011). You can contact Michele at michele.borboa@sheknows.com or give her a tweet at http://twitter.com/micheleeborboa.

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