The holiday season is officially in full swing, which means ugly sweater parties, dinner with friends, family gatherings, and unannounced guests. This month we'll be providing a few of our favorite quick-fix honey recipes for impromptu entertaining. Stay warm out there!
Camembert with Berries and Honey
Toss sliced berries with a tablespoon or two of honey. Slice a round of camembert in half and spoon the berry mixture over the middle and across the top. Serve with water crackers or a crusty baguette.
Feeling adventurous? Try adding a handful of toasted almonds or some fresh mint. Brie also works well if you can't find camembert in your grocery.
Shortbread cookies are one of our favorite baked goods and are surprisingly easy to make. Three basic ingredients – flour, sugar, and butter – are transformed from simple pantry staples into a delicious, crumbly treat. In many ways, this mirrors our approach to honey: keep it pure and let the flavors speak for themselves.
We recently stumbled across these at a small coffee shop off the beaten path and have been itching to recreate them. These are seriously delicious cookies. Slightly chewy on the top. Light and buttery underneath. And insanely fragrant from raw, natural honey. If possible, these are even more addictive than classic shortbread. Hope you enjoy these as much as we do.
Yield: 8-12 cookies
1-2/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/4 cup HONEY
1/2 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt recommended)
Lightly grease the bottom of a 10” springform pan (or tart pan with removable rim).
Pulse flour and sugar together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly and press into the bottom of the pan using your fingertips. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Carefully dock the refrigerated dough with a fork. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the shortbread from the oven and pour the honey evenly over the surface, spreading with a pastry brush or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with salt and return to the oven to bake for another 2-3 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the ring from the pan and cut into wedges while still warm. Allow to cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.
Rinse your hands with cold water and dry before pressing the dough into the pan with your fingertips. This will help keep the butter cold and the dough from sticking to your hands.
Some crumbs will remain around the edges after pressing the dough into the pan. A few more crumbs will form while docking the dough. Don’t worry. This is normal.
Use a sharp knife and make sure to cut the shortbread into pieces while still warm. If you wait until it cools completely, you may shatter the cookies when cut
If you haven’t tried baklava before, you’re missing out. Flaky sheets of pastry filled with butter and spiced walnuts and then drizzled (read: drenched) with a scented honey syrup. Baklava takes a little time and patience but is simpler to make than you’d expect. The secret to our recipe is infusing simple syrup with lemon, vanilla, and cardamom before finally adding the honey. The addition of lemon helps cut through the sweetness of this treat and adding the honey last helps preserve the delicate floral notes of raw, unheated honey. Enjoy!
Yield: about 96 pieces
1 bag (14-16 oz) chopped walnuts
1 ½ cup sugar, divided
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 pound frozen phyllo pastry sheets, thawed
1 cup water
1 lemon (zested and juiced), or 2 Tbs lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp cardamom seeds (optional)
1 cup HONEY
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 °F. Lightly butter the bottom of two 9" x 13" rimmed cookie sheets.
In the bowl of a food processor, add walnuts, ½ cup sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse to combine until the walnuts are finely chopped and crumbly. Set aside.
Unfold pastry sheets and cover with a damp towel to prevent drying out (see cook’s notes). Carefully place one sheet into the bottom of a pan. Brush with butter and cover with another sheet of pastry, repeating until you have used ten sheets of pastry. Brush the top layer with butter and then spread half of the walnut mixture over the top, pressing gently and covering evenly out to the sides and corners. Place another sheet of pastry on top of the walnut mixture. Carefully brush with butter (this layer may slide around a bit) and then cover with another sheet of pastry. Continue layering pastry and butter until you have used another ten sheets (20 sheets total). Brush top layer with butter. Trim edges if necessary to fit inside the pan. Repeat with remaining ingredients for the second tray.
With a sharp knife, cut completely through the layers lengthwise (into five strips along the long edge of the pan) and then diagonally to form diamonds. Aim for pieces about 1-2 inches across. The smaller pieces at the ends will end up as triangles rather than diamonds.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and flaky.
While the baklava bakes, prepare the syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar with the water, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly (to about 115 degrees) then stir in honey and vanilla.
Remove baklava from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pour honey syrup evenly over the baklava. Cool completely before serving. If not serving immediately, tightly cover and store in a cool place.
Phyllo leaves will dry out quickly and will become brittle. Work quickly and use a damp towel to cover the leaves between additions, folding back and re-covering while assembling the baklava. The phyllo we purchased is ~40 sheets per pound (9” x 13” sheets). If you can only find larger dough, cut in half before using. Alternatively, feel free to use a larger pan and trim off the excess before baking.
Resist the urge to combine the honey with the sugar syrup before boiling or while it's too warm. If you can avoid overheating the honey, more of the pure honey taste will stay intact.
If you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to swap out some of the walnuts for almonds or pistachios.
The beginning of autumn is a wonderful time of the year – cooler weather, freshly extracted honey, the long-awaited return of football…and, of course, seasonal allergies. Well, maybe that last one isn’t quite so awesome. But, there are few things that bring comfort quite like baby back ribs, and these are some of the best we’ve tasted. Honey for sweetness and caramelization. A double hit of spice from the dry rub and the Kansas City-style barbecue sauce. All for under thirty minutes of active prep time, so you have more time to cheer for your team and scream at the refs for being blind. Enjoy!
2 racks baby back ribs
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs chili powder (chipotle, hatch, or dixon recommended)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1 Tbs oil
1/4 sweet onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili (chipotle, hatch, or dixon recommended)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water
4 Tbs ketchup
2 Tbs dijon or whole grain mustard
1 Tbs soy sauce (tamari recommended)
1 Tbs worchestershire sauce
1 Tbs vinegar (white or apple cider)
1/3 cup HONEY
salt and black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and place off to the side.
In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat oil over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, paprika, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful not to scorch the spices. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute while stirring. Add water to the pan and stir to combine. Add ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, worchestershire, vinegar, and honey, whisking to combine. Simmer until sauce has reduced slightly and thickened. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and set aside.
Pat the ribs dry and then liberally season on both sides with the spice rub, pressing to ensure good contact. You can start cooking immediately, but allowing the ribs to sit at least two hours (preferably overnight in the refrigerator) will let the seasonings absorb into the ribs.
When you’re almost ready to cook, preheat your oven to 300 degrees and arrange a baking rack in the center of the oven.
Wrap each rack of ribs in a double layer of aluminum foil (meat-side down) and crimp to seal. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until the meat starts to pull away from the bone.
Remove ribs from oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Preheat broiler. When broiler is ready, peel back foil from ribs, tip to the side to pour off any liquid/fat, and brush the sauce on the bone-side of the ribs. Broil until slightly charred and the sauce is bubbling. Carefully flip ribs over, apply sauce on the meaty side, and return to broiler until slightly charred and bubbling. Slice into 2-3 rib segments and serve with any remaining sauce.
If the thick outer membrane is still on your ribs (bone side), remove from the rack prior to applying the dry rub. We like to use the handle of a dinner spoon to get it started and then a firm grip with a kitchen towel to remove the membrane in one piece.
Although we did these in the oven, you can certainly use a large grill if you have access to one. Pile the coals on the side of the grill or light the outside burners to create a cooler zone for slow-cooking the ribs. Finish off over high heat after applying the glaze to create charred spots.
Sauces are always a matter of personal preference. If you like more heat, try adding cayenne pepper or a splash of your favorite hot sauce. If it's too hot for you, adjust by adding a little more honey.
Depending on who you talk to, cupcakes are either a fashionable trend or completely over-hyped. Personally, we just like to think of them as delicious. After all, what’s not to love about more cake and fewer dirty dishes?
We recently made these for a birthday celebration, but this small batch recipe is easy (and delicious) enough that it’s become our go-to recipe for chocolate cupcakes. Here, we replace the usual white sugar with raw, unfiltered honey. Chocolate is certainly a wonderful thing in its own right, but we really enjoyed the use of honey in this recipe. Unlike many cupcakes that are overly sweet, this recipe allows the subtle flavors of good quality cocoa and honey to really shine. So instead of washing down your cupcake with a glass of milk, you can save room for another cupcake. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!
Yield: 12 cupcakes
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup HONEY
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour (all purpose)
4 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 Tbs milk
1/2 cup marzipan (1-2 tsp per bee)
1/2 oz (half a square) baking chocolate, semi-sweet or milk, melted
If you haven’t already, bring your butter, egg, and milk up to room temperature (or close). Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 12 cup muffin tin by greasing or lining with paper or parchment.
Using a hand mixer, cream butter. Add honey in a slow stream while beating until light and fluffy. The mixture will look thicker than a typical butter/sugar base.
In a separate bowl, beat together milk, egg, and vanilla. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, stirring to combine. Set aside.
While the mixer is running, alternately add the wet and dry mixtures to the butter. Three additions, scraping down the sides and bottoms of the bowl between additions. Mix until well blended.
Spoon batter into prepared cups, about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Tilt cupcakes in the pan to allow moisture to escape. Allow to cool in pan for 3-5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Decorate each with buttercream frosting, sprinkles, and a marzipan bee.
Cream butter until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides occasionally. Add the vanilla and milk until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). If too thick, add a little more milk. If too runny, add a little more sugar.
Pinch off a piece of marzipan about the size of the first joint of your thumb. Knead until the marzipan is malleable and then roll into a slightly elongated oval. Gently press two almonds into the body of the bee to make wings. If necessary, use a toothpick to give yourself a little wiggle room. Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to paint stripes and eyes. Allow to dry before decorating cupcakes.
While we certainly enjoy the use of a stand mixer for preparing baked goods, we find that a regular hand mixer works well for this small-batch recipe. Use the butter wrapper to grease the inside of your measuring cups to ensure smooth pouring of your honey.
Makes 2 quarts
Serving Suggestion: Best if served chilled over ice. You may also add thinly sliced limes to add taste and color.
As a small business owner doing stuff with honey I try to find some of the coolest honey recipes out there to try. Unfortunately (and fortunately) my honey is already flavored so there are different ideas for what I make than the delicious varietal stuff like the folks here at Golden Hills produce. This recipe for Watermelon Water struck my fancy since watermelon is such a stunning summertime treat I couldn’t help but want to put it together into a drink. It didn’t work well with anything my business makes flavor wise, but I wanted to share it with some people who could use it with a great product and Matthew was generous enough to allow me to post it up on the Golden Hills Honey blog.
So if you’re looking for a change of pace in your summer drink routine and want to put some of your great local honey to use try out this recipe for Agua de Sandia.
Jesse is the owner of the small specialty food business that currently produces a line of premium flavored honey, Ocarina Foods, Inc.
This recipe and blog post was provided by Nate in Madison, WI. I can vouch for the muffins; they really are amazing!
Honey and bananas are a terrific combination: add a smear of peanut butter and you've got a sandwich that will satisfy any sweet tooth. The common problem with bananas, though, is that there always seems to be one or two in the bunch that turn brown and mushy before you get around to eating them. Typical solutions are banana bread or smoothies (or throwing them out). Not having a loaf pan (oh the shame) or a blender (oh the greater shame), we decided to improvise and whip up a batch of banana muffins. The usual accomplice for banana bread is some variety of toasted nut, either walnuts or (less commonly) pecans. Digging around in the pantry yielded neither of these but rather several half-empty bags of chocolate chips used to make our Chocolate Chip Cookies with Honey. Not to be thwarted by an insufficiently stocked pantry, we made a quick substitution and ended up with a truly amazing muffin - dense, sweet, and delicious. Many traditional banana breads are excessively sweet and monotone - the equivalent of getting punched in the face by a banana wrapped in sugar cubes. The addition of salt and the substitution of raw honey for some of the sugar yielded a baked good that is complex and wonderful. The taste of honey accentuates the sweetness of ripe bananas and will leave your friends and family asking "what is that extra something in here?" Assuming you share.
Use caution when making these - they're addictive. Enjoy!
Honey banana chocolate chip muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey (preferably natural and minimally processed)
2 ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
1 egg (large)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon spiced rum (optional, recommended: Kraken)
1/3 cup milk
2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup each all purpose and whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Coarse sugar for dusting (demerara, turbinado, or coarse white sugar)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with papers or grease lightly.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Use a fork or a whisk to combine. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Gradually pour in honey while beating. Beat in the bananas. Mixture will likely curdle. Don't panic, this will fix itself later. With the mixer running, add in the egg, vanilla, rum, and milk.
Slowly add in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. The resulting batter will be rather thick.
Generously spoon the batter into the prepared cups and sprinkle with demerara or turbinado sugar. If you prefer super high crowns on your muffins, allow the batter to sit for 10 min before baking. Take this time to clean your mixing bowl or have a nice cup of coffee.
Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes, tilting them in the cups to allow steam to escape (no one likes soggy muffins). Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
I haven't tried this one personally, but I would be really curious too after trying some Burt's Bees products over this cold, dry winter. These instructions are from The National Honey Board, which has tons of great ideas about ways to use honey.
24-karat Gold Silk Body Butter
I'm happy to share some interesting information that a customer forwarded to me today: Pottery Barn has provided some excellent tips about how to Host a Honey Brunch. Be sure to check out all the details on their website! This is a great way to incorporate honey into your Spring entertaining.
Pottery Barn wisely recommends showcasing the subtle flavors that make local honey so special. They give ideas about how to pair honey with different fruits, cheeses, and breads from your local farmers' market.
When you pick up your locally produced honey, make sure you ask us about our limited edition beeswax candles too!