Vanilla sugar, or Vanille Zucker, is a popular ingredient in European cuisine. This sweetening agent is mostly used in baking and also makes a nice topping. However, this sweetener can be difficult to find in non-European countries. And to make up for it, you can use a vanilla sugar substitute in your recipe. Here are some of the best options for you.
Best Alternatives For Vanilla Sugar
Vanilla sugar has a potent but not overpowering vanilla taste. This sweetener works best in brownies, strawberry shortcakes, biscotti, vanilla martini, tea, and coffee. However, avoid using it in intensely flavored desserts like chocolate cake. The strong flavors can suppress the vanilla flavor and using it would go to waste.
1. Vanilla Extract
It is the most appropriate substitute you can use. Vanilla extract is more widely available than vanilla sugar. However, it can’t replace vanilla sugar in baking recipes like cakes or cookies. You’ll need to add sugar or another sweetener.
However, it contains alcohol. The alcohol retains much of its flavor and aroma, intensifying it. Hence, it is apt for strong-flavored recipes like chocolate pancakes or cookies.
Use it as a topping or a sweetening agent. Without sugar, you’ll need to add several tablespoons of vanilla extract for the appropriate sweetness. Adjust the flavor as per your preference.
2. Vanilla Syrup
For recipes that require baking, vanilla syrup makes the best alternative for vanilla sugar. It is widely used in baking cakes and cookies. Along with the vanilla flavor, vanilla syrup also contains almost the same sweetness as vanilla sugar.
The vanilla flavor in this syrup is moderate so it’s best to use it in mild-flavored sweets. Or, you can add more of it if the recipe can take some more sweetness. Apart from the velvety taste, vanilla syrup also adds a nice aroma to the food.
Use this substitute when preparing cookies, brownies, tea, or other desserts.
3. Vanilla Powder
Vanilla powder is very similar to vanilla sugar in terms of flavor and texture. It is made by drying vanilla pods and grinding them. Since it includes vanilla pods, it has a more rich flavor. This powder fits well for baking purposes.
You can use it in equal amounts as vanilla sugar. But in milder recipes, reduce the amount. It’s best if you start adding vanilla powder in small amounts and add more as needed.
Use it when baking choco-chip cookies, chocolate cake, coffee, or other desserts.
4. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is among the most loved sweeteners across the world. So when opting for a non-vanilla alternative, this is your best bet. Moreover, maple and vanilla have pretty similar tastes. And you’ll get the characteristic earthy, sweet, and caramel taste of maple.
If you’re preparing a sour recipe and need hints of a sweetener, go for maple syrup. Its darker color and intense flavor blend well with the other ingredients.
You can go for a 1:1 ratio. But depending on the other flavors in your recipe, you can adjust the amount. It’s always better to start with smaller amounts.
Use it when making waffles, pancakes, coffee, or other desserts.
5. Coconut Sugar
It is the healthiest alternative on our list. Coconut sugar is caramel in color and tastes similar to brown sugar. It is obtained from the sap derived from the coconut tree.
You can use it similarly to vanilla sugar. It can be employed in baking goods, beverages, and other desserts. Use it when making biscotti, waffles, cakes, coffee, and tea. Follow a 1:1 ratio when baking. In other recipes adjust the amount as per your preference.
6. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is made from molasses. It is the secret reason behind its characteristic color and caramel-like taste. This sugar is almost equal to vanilla sugar in terms of sweetness. And the texture is also the same. So brown sugar can be used in almost every recipe that calls for vanilla sugar.
Include brown sugar in your cake, cookie, or pancake dough, and other desserts and beverages. Fruit cakes taste delicious when combined with the flavor of molasses from brown sugar.
Use it in the same amount as you would vanilla sugar.
7. Regular Sugar
If you’re in the middle of preparing a recipe and can’t get any other alternative now, settle for regular sugar. It has the same sweetness as vanilla sugar, minus the vanilla taste. To compensate for it, you can add vanilla extract separately.
However, while using this combination in mild-flavored recipes, cut down the amount of sugar. It won’t make a difference in baking recipes. So here you can use regular sugar in equal amounts as vanilla sugar.
It can replace vanilla sugar in almost every dish.
How to Substitute Vanilla for Vanilla Sugar
Vanilla sugar isn’t easily available Stateside and even when available for purchase, it tends to be on the expensive side of things. Thankfully, there are several substitutes available. Better yet, you can create a decent vanilla sugar replacement using vanilla extract and regular sugar.
Using the extract is a departure from the conventional way of making vanilla sugar. It’s also way quicker than making your own vanilla sugar and much less expensive than buying it from the market.
Here’s what you need:
- Vanilla extract (1 tbsp)
- Sugar (2 cups)
Thoroughly mix the vanilla extract and sugar. You may want to whisk the mix for more than a minute to ensure proper mixing. While our recipe has specific numbers, you can change them to fit your requirements. However, maintaining a similar ratio will help keeping the intended flavor intact.
As the next step, place wax paper in an appropriately sized, open, and broad container. Pour the sugar and extract mix onto this paper. This will allow the vanilla essence and sugar to mix well and have a better distribution of the flavor.
Let this mix rest for three hours. Then shake up the wax paper, and give the mix another three hours to rest.
Once this time is up, you’ll have flavorful, vanilla-infused sugar ready to work in place of conventional vanilla sugar.
Pick The Best Vanilla Sugar Substitute
The requirements of your recipe determine which option would be best for you. If you’re planning on baking, vanilla syrup, vanilla powder, and maple syrup are ideal choices. As for toppings, coconut sugar and vanilla powder work best. But if you only need it as a sweetener, you can use regular or brown sugar. Depending on these factors, you can determine which vanilla sugar substitute would be the best pick for you.