Inexpensive white sugar infused with a single vanilla bean or pod can produce endless rich rewards—from cakes to ice cream.
There are some ingredients that are worth the extra pesos you have to plunk down for them, and vanilla is one of them. Not the extract-y liquid that comes in tiny dark brown bottles at your local grocery, but rather the pure, unadulterated bean plucked from the exotic orchids that produce the pricey, fragrant spice.
One way to stretch your pennies on pure vanilla—while still reaping all that glorious flavor—is making your own vanilla-infused sugar. The resulting sweetener can be used in everything from a cup of tea or coffee to baked goods to morning oatmeal.
To make vanilla sugar, using the back of a knife, scrape the seeds of a 1 whole vanilla bean into 2 cups of sugar. Pour half of the sugar mixture into an airtight container; add the vanilla bean and pour the remaining sugar over. Seal with a lid and let the mixture sit in the pantry for two weeks or so before using.
This lovely, moist pound cake can easily be turned into a shortcake dessert with fruit and whipped or ice cream.
Macadamia nuts and white chocolate are the counterpoint for the toasty taste of brown butter.
Loaded with calcium and beta-carotene (from the squash), this thick creamy drink is substantial enough for dessert.
Take a spice-rich banana flavor, and top it with creamy, lemony frosting.