I recently hit the mother-load, finding an unusually large amount of vanilla beans hiding in the back of my spice drawer, I must have gone through a weird stock-pile obsession and then forgotten about them. With too many now to know what to do with, my wheels started turning. Making my own vanilla infused vodka was my first experiment, which went exceedingly well, it is simply delicious, and I am now on my 2nd batch. Here, I decided to split the bean and stick in into a jar of sugar. Amazingly, little vanilla seeds fleck the sugar and impart a subtle, but unmistakable vanilla note. Use as you would in any recipe which calls for sugar. Or add to your morning coffee. I must mention, this could make a sweet little sugary gift - (I am all about coming up with different DIY gifts) - the tiny black dots scattered in pure white sugar is quite intriguing and looks really beautiful.
Give it a try, take one vanilla bean (per 2 cups of sugar, roughly), split it lengthwise, and add it to sugar. Mix it well, best to use a jar and shake it to loosen the seeds from the bean. Store in an air tight container with the bean still in the sugar.