With a sharp knife, slice vanilla bean from end to end. Pull open the cut side to expose the vanilla bean caviar. Set aside.
Add star anise, cardamom pods, one cinnamon stick and cloves to spice bag. Tighten string to close.
Use a mallet, hammer or ice cream scoop and give it a few smashes. (If using a tea ball, smash the spices on a cutting board first and then add to spice ball.)
Add half the sugar and the cocoa to Mason jar. Cover jar with lid and shake to combine.
Stuff the spice bag into the Mason jar.
Add vanilla bean and one cinnamon stick.
Add enough sugar to almost fill the jar.
Cover jar and shake well.
Let the jar sit for three weeks, shaking it every so often. It needs time for the sugar to become flavored.
Recipe can be easily doubled, tripled or more.Nutrition values are for real sugar.
For Gift Giving and Hostess Gifts
Add one whole star anise, a couple of whole cardamon pods and a couple of whole cloves to Mason jar, so the recipient can see the various spices used. Because they are whole, they won't strengthen the Spiced Vanilla Sugar much.
Use cellophane and wrap the Mason jar. Tie with a pretty strand of material and make a bow.
Use colored cellophane for holidays!
Originally published July 18, 2018. Republished January 14, 2020 to add video and photos.