I went to a bakery downtown in Las Vegas and they had the best lemonade I had ever tasted. I made every effort to get the server to reveal some of the ingredients of the lemonade. The secret? Vanilla sugar. Now where on earth do you get vanilla sugar? Well after much research, I found that there really isn't a recipe for vanilla sugar. But there are two ways to make your own. 1) Bury a cleaned and dried vanilla bean in a container holding 2 cups of sugar. Cover container tightly and put aside for 1 week. The vanilla bean will be good as long as it is fragrant and you can replenish the sugar as it is used. Or, 2) take the cleaned and dried vanilla bean and mix with 2 cups of sugar in a food processor on high. Once you have vanilla sugar, you can make vanilla lemonade!
6 juicy fresh lemons
3/4 cup of vanilla sugar
6 cups of water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 of a vanilla bean
1. Stir together 3/4 cups of sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan on low heat. Using a sharp knife, slice a vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds from the skin using the edge of the knife. Add seeds and vanilla bean into saucepan. Remove when sugar is dissolved and let cool. This will be your simple syrup.
2. Juice 6 lemons over a bowl. Run the liquid through a sieve to remove any seeds. Add lemon concentrate, simple syrup, 5 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract into the pitcher. Stir well.
3. Taste mixture. Adjust sweetness with more sugar or use more water if too sweet.
4. Serve over tall glasses with ice and enjoy!