Homemade Gift Idea: Vanilla Sea Salt

I love the holiday season. Many recent evenings have been spent browsing Pinterest for holiday decorating and gift giving ideas. I’m such a sucker for homemade gifts that get all prettied up in festive packaging. Fancy ribbon, colorful tags, and cute jars – yeah, I’m pretty much smitten with it all.

Last year I made Homemade Vanilla Extract to share with family and friends. The extract was quite a hit, so I thought that I’d keep with the vanilla theme and whip up a batch of Vanilla Sea Salt.

If you have never used vanilla sea salt, you’ll want to rectify that immediately. It’s subtle flavor is absolutely perfect for a variety of sweet treats such as Sweet and Salty Brownies, Fleur de Sel Caramels, Bars and Chocolate Tarts. And you can even use it on savory items such as pan seared scallops and fresh lobster. Imagine vanilla flecked salt rimming your favorite margarita! So many possibilities with a little jar of salt!

Join Katie and I this week in sharing your favorite recipes that feature vanilla for a chance to win an incredible gift basket from Beanilla. Beanilla has been my go-to source for all things vanilla related for over 3 years. I am confident in saying their products are the absolute best that I have tried. Their entire line of beans, extracts, pastes, and powders will turn you into a vanilla addict!

Join in on the fun and link up your recipe for a chance to win a gift basket from Beanilla! You’ll also definitely want to check out Katie’s idea for a Homemade Vanilla Sugar Scrub.

Packaging Info

– The jars seen in the photos are Weck Mini Mold Jars.

If you have a Silhouette Machine and are interested in the shapes and fonts I used, here is the info:
– Snowflake Doily by Loni Stevens cut on light blue card stock with a 2.4 inch width
– Plain circle cut on white card stock with a 1.49 inch width
– Vanilla font is called Liorah BT, Sea Salt font is called Pharmacy

Vanilla Sea Salt

Prep Time: 10 minutes


1 cup sea salt
4 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved


1. In a large bowl, combine sea salt and vanilla seeds. Use the tips of your fingers to rub the vanilla seeds into the sea salt until they are thoroughly combined.

2. Spoon salt into individual jars, cover tightly, label, and store in a cool, dry place.


- Depending on how you package your vanilla salt, this recipe will yield 2-4 gift jars.
- I used Mexican Vanilla Beans to make my Vanilla Salt, but any type of high quality vanilla beans will do.
- Don't throw those empty vanilla beans away, make homemade vanilla sugar.

Adapted from CHOW

How To Participate

For a chance to win an Beanilla Gift Basket Gift Card {updated 12/5/11} valued at $150. Beanilla wanted to callow the winner to pick their own items, so the prize is now a $150 Gift Card! Woo-Hoo!

  1. Write and post a recipe on your blog featuring VANILLA OR VANILLA BEANS.
  2. Include “Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Beanilla.” in your blog post.
  3. No blog? Just leave your recipe in the comments section.
  4. Add your link to the widget on either GoodLife Eats or My Baking Addiction (we have the same widget code, so only add it on one site).
  5. Submit your post before December. 12, 11:59 PM.
  6. Anyone can participate in the link up, but the prizes will ship to US addresses only.
  7. More detailed info are available here.

Link Up Your Recipes:

Love any of the recipes featured in today’s Holiday Recipe Exchange? If so, be sure to to use the Ziplist Web Recipe Clipper to add your holiday favorites to your online recipe box.

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This Week’s Prize:

Beanilla Vanilla Gift Card valued at $150

Prizes provided by Beanilla.

Recipe Theme Schedule:

30 Responses to “Homemade Gift Idea: Vanilla Sea Salt”

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — December 5, 2011 at 8:14 am

    This is so awesome! Love this.


  2. Kathryn — December 5, 2011 at 9:15 am

    What a wonderful idea, there are so many great uses that I can think of for vanilla salt!


  3. Cookbook Queen — December 5, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I love this idea!! So many uses,and the presentation is GORGEOUS!! I so need some of this in my life.


  4. Veronica @ Café con Leche — December 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I make Silk Nog pancakes with extra vanilla for yummy flavor! Just make regular pancakes, substituting the eggnog for milk, and putting in 1 whole tablespoon of vanilla! super delish!


  5. Tracy — December 5, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Vanilla sugar, with beans you’ve used for something else and rinsed and dried. Whenever I make vanilla ice cream, I rinse the custard off the pods and dry them, then put them in a jar and cover with sugar.


  6. Jim Porter — December 5, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Here’s a great recipe using both vanilla AND vanilla bean:

    Vanilla Bean Buttercream

    3 Sticks Butter (room temp)
    1 Tbsp Vanilla (we use Mexican vanilla for a unique taste)
    1 Vanilla bean (we use fresh Madagascar beans)
    1-2 Pound bag confectioner’s sugar
    1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

    Cream the butter on high, add vanilla and the “caviar” from one vanilla bean. Beat well. SLOWLY add the confectioner’s sugar with mixer on low, then pour in the whipping cream. As soon as the sugar and butter start to combine, turn mixer on medium/high and beat for 3 minutes. If it’s too thick, add a little more cream and if it’s too thin add a little more sugar. This is the best tasting buttercream EVER!


  7. Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — December 5, 2011 at 11:59 am

    AAHHHH!! I LOVE Beanilla!! So much more affordable that grocery store vanilla beans.


  8. Ann P. — December 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    This is a great, quick, useful Christmas gift–I love it! Those are some wonderful suggestions on how to use vanilla sea salt, and I think I’d have fun coming up with more ways to use it :)


  9. Candice @ Sailing on Paper — December 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    What a unique and beautiful gift! Thanks so much for sharing!


  10. Erin — December 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Never would think to mix vanilla beans in salt!

    As for the giveaway, can I submit an older post? So long as I edit and include that phrase?


    • Jamie — December 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      Yep, that’s totally fine!

  11. I MUST make this! I’d sprinkle this on everything.


  12. Tracy — December 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I love this idea! I’d use it in just about every single thing I bake. Such pretty packaging, too!


  13. Amy @ uTryIt — December 5, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    What a lovely and generous prize. :) I’m sharing my Meyer Lemon Curd with Vanilla Sugar Recipe here. :)


  14. Amy @ uTryIt — December 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    The second recipe I’m sharing is Pinwheel Cookies. They are whimsical and got the perfect balance of vanilla sugar cookies and chocolate sugar cookies. Kids of all ages would be pleased to receive them for the Holiday, including those that are kids at hearts. :)


  15. Liz — December 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I use vanilla in so many things!

    One of the recipes I can think of off the top of my head is my recipe for vanilla cookies.

    Combine 2 softened sticks of butter, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 cups flour, and 1 tbs vanilla. Scoop onto cookie sheet and make indentation with thumb. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

    I top mine with chocolate frosting. YUM!


  16. regina — December 6, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Love love love vanilla and vanilla beans love that wonderful warm aroma the sweet smell of home. My boys love Strawberry Smoothies with vanilla
    1 cup frozen strawberries
    1 cup milk
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    Whirl in the blender, enjoy!


  17. Ellen — December 6, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    These are my favorite cookies to bake for anyone at anytime!

    Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • ½ cup packed brown sugar
    • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
    • ¾ cup toffee chips

    Heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease cookie sheets, combine sugars, butter, egg and vanilla. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Stir in chips.

    Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Let cool for 1 minute before removing from cookie sheets. Cool completely before storing.


  18. Susie D. — December 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I love vanilla. This is our favorite cake frosting:
    Fluffy Buttercream Frosting
    5 Tablespoons Flour
    1 cup Milk
    1 teaspoon Vanilla
    1 cup cold Butter
    1 cup Granulated Sugar
    In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.

    While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.


  19. Natalie — December 6, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Awesome idea and recipe!


  20. abby — December 6, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    this looks beautiful! I always have vanilla bean leftovers that need a home and you can only use so much vanilla sugar. Love the fonts you used too.


  21. Dawn — December 6, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Just read about vanilla salt on Eat the Love the other day. Definitely have to try it!


  22. Sherlene — December 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    *Please see note at end of post.

    Balsamic vinegar is a nice counterbalance to the sweetness of fruit. So, don’t be put-off by the thought before you try it!

    Sherlene’s Vanilla Bean Balsamic Vinegar

    You can use dark or white Balsamic vinegar (the white blends better with the color of most fruit, I like the contrast and richer flavor of the dark on fruit).

    Carefully pop out the plastic strainer in the bottle of Balsamic vinegar (keep it clean), drop a vanilla bean, which has been pierced in several areas, into bottle and replace strainer, then re-cap bottle tightly.

    *Let stand at room temperature for a week or two.

    Serve a few dashes on stone free fresh or canned peaches served in individual pretty little bowls. Or try this, heat frozen peaches that have been topped with sugar to taste and heated in the microwave, let cool or chill, then add a dash of vanilla vinegar. (I place frozen peaches in a microwavable bowl, no water, a good scoop of sugar and cover it with a plate. Zap a minute or two depending on amount preparing until the sugar has melted completely and formed a simple syrup.) I think balsamic vinegars are best on very sweet or sweetened fruits.

    After a month or so the pickled vanilla bean can be used as a garnish on top of the fruit by scrapping out the inside of the bean or sliced into small strips.

    *I guess it would be proper to tell you to get a jar, wash it and lid in dishwasher or boil. Pour in heated vinegar (which does speed up the fusion process), drop in vanilla bean, seal well and place in refrigerator for a couple weeks. So be forewarned. However, aside from actually making pickles, my granny just stuck things into the vinegar, closed it up and let it sit on the counter, period. It never hurt any of us and she lived to be over 80 yrs. old.


  23. Traci — December 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Wow I would absolutely go to town with that gift card! I’ve been dying to try out the vanilla sugar scrub and vanilla spiced sugar for homemade gifts this year!


  24. Jenna C — December 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I make a very simple vanilla bean glaze fairly often. 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, 1 cup plus a tablespoon or two extra confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped.

    That’s a fabulous prize!


  25. Ashley C. — December 9, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Vanilla Cream Pie! :)

    1/2 c gran. sugar, plus 2 tbs
    1/4 c cornstarch
    1/8 tsp table salt
    5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
    2 c milk, whole or 2 percent
    1/2 c evaporated milk
    1/2 vanilla bean (about 3-inches long, split lengthwise)
    2 tbs unsalted butter
    1 tsp brandy
    1 c heavy cream
    2 tbs confectioners’ sugar
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    Graham Cracker Pie Shell

    1. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan. Add yolks, then immediately but gradually whisk in milk and evaporated milk. Drop in vanilla bean. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently at first, then constantly as mixture starts to thicken and begins to simmer, 8 to 10 minutes. Once mixture simmers, continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer. Remove pan from heat; whisk in butter and brandy. Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and whisk them back into filling.
    2. Pour filling into shallow pan (another pie pan works well). Put plastic wrap directly over filling surface to prevent skin from forming; cool until warm, about 30 minutes. Pour warm filling into pie shell and, once again, place sheet of plastic wrap directly over filling surface. Refrigerate pie until completely chilled, at least 3 hours.
    3. Whip cream to soft peaks. Add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla; continue to whip to barely stiff peaks. Spread over filling and refrigerate until ready to serve.


  26. Laura @ HappyCanadianHome.com — December 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Great idea – I have a homemade gift exchange this weekend and I can do this without even going to the store!


  27. Nicole G. — December 11, 2011 at 3:48 am

    This is an awesome idea! I don’t have a blog, but I do have my absolute FAVORITE recipe for Vanilla Buttercream frosting.

    Vanilla Buttercream

    1 cup (2 sticks butter, salted or unsalted)
    1-2 cups powered sugar (may need more depending on the consistency you are looking for)
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    In a stand mixer (or hand mixer) fitted with a whisk attachment, blend the butter until smooth & creamy about a minute or so. Add the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, making sure to whisk out any lumps. Add the vanilla and whisk for a few more seconds. If need be, you can add some heavy cream to thin out the frosting. For a DELICIOUS variation, I’ll sometimes throw in a brick of Philly cream cheese. (Vanilla cream cheese frosting is amazing!)

    This frosting (with the cream cheese), is amazing on pumpkin or apple cider cupcakes & as a finishing touch, a little vanilla sea salt would MAKE them absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks again for an adorable/tasty gift idea!


  28. Albert Vu — November 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I got here from Toradora!


  29. Albert Vu — November 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I got here from the anime Toradora!


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