Vanilla beans, and vanilla sugar

I heart vanilla beans.  They are one of those amazing ingredients that make everything they touch magical.  I buy mine from Penzeys or Costco and store them in my pantry.  They can last for a couple of years, and I love having them on hand.  Want to know how to use them?
Using a small paring knife, cut in half lengthwise.  Then use the back of the knife to scrape out all the amazing goodness. : )  For recipes that call for vanilla extract, just remember that about 1/2 of 1 bean is equal to 1 tsp of vanilla extract.  Only, it tastes WAY better!
What to do with the pod? Wait! Don’t throw it away! You can simmer it with something to add vanilla flavor, like a berry sauce, or my favorite, make vanilla sugar!
Just throw it in a jar with some sugar and leave for a week or two.  You’ll have sugar infused with vanilla flavor when it’s ready! 
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