Indulge your sweet tooth with honey this fall

It’s a great season to enjoy this sweet treat that a honeybee spends a lifetime producing

    Fall is an ideal time to celebrate honey at a time when this sweet treat brought to us through the hard work of honeybees is harvested.
    After all, it takes one honeybee a lifetime to make about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey, but a fraction of that time for a person to enjoy that sweetener.
    Honey is a wholesome food that’s delightful in tea and spread on toast. There are a host of other ways to enjoy this tasty food.
    Honey can be used in drinks, breads, sauces, vegetables, main dishes and desserts — as well as in beauty treatments.
    Unlike most sweeteners, honey contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. It’s also a rich source of carbohydrates.
    However, honey shouldn’t be fed to infants 1 year old or younger because of the risk of infant botulism.  
    Honey can be substituted in many recipes, but because it is significantly sweeter than sugar, you need less to achieve the same taste.
    In general, reduce the amount of sugar by half to one-third and add that amount of honey. Because sugar is as much as 18% water, liquids in the recipe should be reduced by one-quarter to one-fifth.
    When baking, you should reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent excessive browning, and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey, unless the recipe calls for sour milk or cream.
    When selecting honey, remember that the color and flavor depends on what blossoms the honey bees visit in search of nectar. The color ranges from almost colorless to dark amber brown and flavor from mild to bold. As a general rule, light-colored honey is milder in taste and dark-colored honey is stronger.  
    Honey can be stored at room temperature on the counter or pantry shelf, although it can crystallize. If that occurs, place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve.
    Honey is also a key ingredient in many home beauty treatments. For example, to create a firming facial mask, mix 1 tablespoon honey, 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon glycerin and enough flour to form a paste. Smooth it over the face and throat and allow to dry for 10 minutes, then wash it off.
    Following are honey recipes from the National Honey Board.

national honey board

Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Chips

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt
Pepper

    With vegetable slicer, mandoline or food processor, thinly slice sweet potatoes. Arrange slices in a single layer on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.
    Combine butter and honey in a small bowl and spread over the potatoes.
    Bake in a 400-degree oven for four to five minutes per side. Sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste.
    Makes six servings.

 

Honey Balsamic Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tenderloin

2 pounds pork tenderloin
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced

    Place pork tenderloin in slow cooker.
    Whisk together balsamic vinegar, broth, honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Pour over pork. Cook pork about four hours on low, until pork has an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove pork and allow it to sit for three minutes.
    Use two forks break meat apart, then return it to the slow cooker until serving.
    Makes four servings

 

Honey Berry Cristo

8 slices whole grain bread
1/2 cup goat cheese, softened
32 thin slices Black Forest ham
8 slices havarti cheese
For honey glazed blueberries:
1/2 cup blueberry honey
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 teaspoons lemon juice

    To make glazed blueberries, place honey, blueberries and lemon juice in a small saucepot and stir to combine evenly. Warm over medium heat for approximately five minutes until mixture is a syrupy preserve-style consistency. Lightly smash the cooked blueberries with a spoon. Remove from heat, place in a small container and chill in the refrigerator.
    Evenly spread each slice of bread with approximately 1 tablespoon softened goat cheese. Place one slice of bread, cheese spread facing up, on a clean counter. Top with two tablespoons chilled honey glazed blueberries, then cover with four overlapping slices of black forest ham. Place two overlapping slices of havarti cheese on top,  add four overlapping slices of ham, then cover with two tablespoons chilled reserved honey glazed blueberries. Place one slice of bread, cheese spread facing down, on top.
    Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
    Heat a nonstick sauté pan that’s been lightly coated with vegetable spray over low-medium heat. Place the sandwiches into the pan and cook one to two minutes per side, until sandwiches are an even gold color and crisp on both sides.
    Remove sandwiches and place on a sheet pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for five minutes, until sandwich is hot throughout and cheese is fully melted.
    Place on a clean cutting board and slice each sandwich in half.  
    Dust the finished sandwiches with powdered sugar, if desired.
    Makes four servings.

 

Honey Apple Turnovers

1 tablespoon dried currants
3 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus additional for dusting
6 tablespoons honey
2 large baking apples
2  prepared pie crust dough

    In a small bowl, combine currants, walnuts and cinnamon. Stir in three tablespoons honey.
    Peel apples and cut each in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and stem. Scoop out core from each half with a melon baller, making a wide hole for filling.
    Divide honey mixture evenly between apple centers.
    Divide pie dough into four balls. Roll each ball into a six-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Lay one piece of dough over each apple half, filling-side up. Tuck and wrap dough under each apple half. Trim dough to fit. Pinch the edges of dough underneath apples to seal entirely.
    Combine one tablespoon honey with one teaspoon hot water. Stir until honey dissolves. Brush mixture over tops of turnovers, then dust with additional cinnamon.
    Transfer turnovers to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in a 375-degree oven about 35 minutes, until turnovers are golden.
    Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining honey. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Makes four servings.

 

Egg and Potato Buddha Bowl With Honey Tahini Sauce

For tahini sauce:
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons clover honey
1 clove garlic, peeled
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1/4 cup water
For Buddha bowl:
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped kale
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 avocado, pitted and diced
4 fried eggs
Bagel spice, optional

    If using a food processor, place tahini, honey, garlic, lemon juice, salt and Sriracha in food processor and pulse to combine. With machine running, pour water in the feed tube and blend well to combine. Add more water for a thinner consistency, if desired. Set sauce aside.
    If using a blender, place tahini, honey, garlic, lemon juice, salt and Sriracha in the blender, add 1/4 cup water and combine. Add more water for a thinner consistency, if desired.  Set the sauce aside.
    Shred potatoes using a box grater, then pat dry with a paper towel. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
    Add potatoes to the hot skillet and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and cook for five minutes more, until golden and crisp.
    Add kale to skillet and sauté gently, until just wilted. Transfer potatoes and kale to four bowls. Top each with bell pepper, avocado and egg.
    Drizzle with tahini sauce and sprinkle with bagel spice, if using, and serve.
    Makes four servings.

 

Blueberry Muffins With Salted Honey Crumble

For crumble:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
For muffins:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries

    For salted honey crumble, place brown sugar, butter, clover honey and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed about two minutes, until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt. Mix on low speed just until the mixture comes together and develops a sandy texture. Refrigerate in an airtight container at least 30 minutes.
    For muffins, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar, butter, honey and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Stir in milk. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in blueberries using a rubber spatula.
    Scoop the mixture into 12 buttered and floured muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Sprinkle each with one tablespoon salted honey crumble.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden.
    Makes 12 muffins.

 

Butternut Squash and Pomegranate  Crostini With Whipped Feta and Honey

Olive oil cooking spray
1 baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch thick pieces
1 pound butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
Honey, for drizzling

    Place baguette slices on a rimmed baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Lightly spray slices with cooking spray.
    Place squash on a rimmed baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Lightly spray squash with cooking spray. Place both pans in a 350-degree oven. Bake bread for eight to 10 minutes, turning once, until crisp, and squash 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once, until golden brown and tender. Allow bread and squash to cool.
    Place feta, cream cheese and pepper in bowl of food processor fitted with knife blade attachment. Process three to five minutes, until very smooth, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally.
    Spread each piece of toasted bread with 2 teaspoons whipped feta. Divide roasted squash and pomegranate seeds over feta. Sprinkle with mint and drizzle with honey; serve immediately.
    Makes 24 pieces

 

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

1/2 cup peanuts, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons peanut butter powder
2/3 cup mini-chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons almond or soy milk

    Place peanuts in a small bowl. Set aside.
    In a food processor, combine one cup oats, flax seed, almond flour, cocoa, peanut butter powder and 1/3 cup chocolate chips. Pulse several times until it resembles coarse meal.
    Add peanut butter, honey and almond milk to oat mixture and process until the mixture comes together. Transfer the oat mixture to a large bowl and mix in the remaining oats and chocolate chips.
    Scoop mixture into one-inch clusters and roll  into a ball with your hands. Dip bites in the finely chopped peanuts. Place each ball on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper and chill in refrigerator.
    When the bites are chilled and set, store in an airtight container for as long as a week.
    Makes 15 servings.

 

Honey Leches French Toast

For honey leches mixture:
2 tablespoons blueberry honey
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup light Thai coconut milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For berry garnish:
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup  fresh strawberries, sliced
For hot honey:
1/2 cup blueberry honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 small slices pound cake
Vegetable spray

    For honey leches mixture, place two tablespoons blueberry honey, evaporated milk, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whisk to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
    For berry garnish, place raspberries, blueberries and strawberries in a mixing bowl and lightly toss to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
    For hot honey, place 1/2 cup blueberry honey in a small mixing bowl. Add cayenne and whisk to evenly combine. Keep warm and pourable.
    Arrange pound cake slices, side by side, flat, in a casserole dish or a pan with sides. Pour honey leches mixture over and around the cake slices and soak one minute.
    Lightly coat a 375-degree electric griddle with vegetable spray. Remove pound cake slices from the honey leches mixture, allowing any liquid to drain off, then place slices on the hot griddle. Heat the slices about two minutes on each side, until golden crispy and hot throughout.
    Place two toasted pound cake slices on a plate. Top each with approximately 1/4 cup mixed berries, then drizzle each with about two tablespoons warm hot honey.  
    Makes 4 servings.
    If your pound cake recipe calls for one cup of sugar, you can replace it with 1/2 cup honey. Reduce any liquid by 1/4 cup, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees.

 

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