Archive for: honey
Honey is a sweetener that isn’t used all that much in cookie recipes. You can’t really cream it with butter to create a fluffy base for cookie dough (although honey whipped with butter makes an amazing spread for biscuits), so you can’t simply substitute it for sugar and expect to get the same results. Used properly, honey can be a great sweetener in cookies – and other baked goods – because it lends a rich and complex flavor to the finished product, helps with browning and also keeps baked goods moist so that they stay fresher longer.
These Honey Walnut Cookies are a very simple recipe that is a twist on an eggless chocolate chip cookie recipe that I’ve made many times. They use honey as a sweetener and vegetable oil where regular cookies usually call for butter, and like the recipe that inspired them, they are egg free. The dough can be mixed up in just one bowl and doesn’t require anything more than a spoon to bring it together. The recipe makes a small batch, but can be doubled if you want more than a dozen.
Because the honey adds so much moisture to the cookies, they don’t get crisp around the edges after baking. Instead, the cookies have a beautiful golden color and a slightly soft, chewy texture when they come out of the oven. The honey is very fragrant and gives the cookies wonderful flavor that reminds me both of nougat and baklava. The walnuts add some much needed crunchiness and their buttery flavor brings out the richness of the honey even more. Don’t overbake these, or they’ll dry out a little.
Honeycomb is one of the most beautiful patterns that you can see in nature, and the fact that it is filled with delicious honey makes it even more appealing. It was the inspiration for NordicWare’s newest specialty pan, a Honeycomb Cake Pan. Made of nonstick cast aluminum, the heavy duty pan produces a simple, but elegant, honeycomb patterned cake. The pan has a 10-cup capacity, which is about the same as a 9×9-inch square pan, so it is easy to convert recipes to work in it. The nonstick finish should provide a clean release, but it never hurts to lightly grease and flour a pan with this level of detail to ensure that each of the honeycomb shapes comes out cleanly.
You can bake any flavor of cake in a pan like this, but I’m going to recommend baking a Honey Cake, so you have a cake flavor to match the look of the pan, or a big batch of homemade cornbread that you can slather with butter and drizzle with honey when you go to serve it.
Not all peanut butter cookies have a strong peanut flavor to them. In fact, many don’t use all that much peanut butter in them to begin with. I usually make up for this by choosing a brand of peanut butter that I think has a good flavor, or by using crunchy peanut butter to add more obvious nuts to the cookies. This recipe is a little bit different because, while it uses more peanut butter than many recipes, it also uses less sugar, so that salty-sweet peanut flavor is more pronounced.
The reason that these cookies use less sugar is that they get a lot of their sweetness from honey, which is incorporated into the recipe in addition to some sugar. The honey is a great match for the peanut butter and, while it doesn’t have a strong flavor in and of itself (assuming you’re using your average clover honey, not something exotic and very strongly flavored!), it does lend a little bit of a floral taste to the cookies that sets the apart.
The cookies have a tender, slightly crumbly texture and a good overall flavor, and are not very sweet compared to most other peanut butter cookies. In fact, as long as your peanut butter has a bit of salt in it, you probably won’t want to add any more to the dough (salt-free peanut butters should add about 1/4 tsp salt). If you want to take the peanut butter and honey theme even further, use Peanut Butter & Honey Jif in this recipe to bring out those honey notes even more – or serve them sandwiching a layer of peanut butter and a splash of honey, like I did!
Pecans are one of my favorite nuts and pecan pie is definitely a holiday classic, but even though I enjoy a slice from time to time, pecan pie tends to be a little too gooey and a little too rich much of the time – especially after a big meal. If you like a less gooey dessert, as I do with pecan pie, you might want to try a pecan tart instead. With the tart, you get the crunch of the nuts along with just the right amount of sticky, caramely filling in each slice.
Many versions of pecan pie use corn syrup as a sweetener and as the base for their filling. I’m not a big fan of this approach (corn syrup has a place, but not in my pies), so starting last year I set out to experiment with some different sweeteners in pecan pie. For instance, last year I made a Maple Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving. The flavor combination was great, but there are plenty of other options for sweets that go with pecans, so I ended up making a Honey Pecan Tart this time around.
The tart is a lot like a pecan pie, with a generous base of pecans. Honey is naturally very sweet, so I used roasted and salted pecans for this pie and the flavor balance turned out to be absolutely perfect. There is some additional sugar in the filling, as well as some eggs, butter and a little bit of flour to bind everything together. The tart bakes and cools more quickly than a regular pecan pie and can be made a day or two in advance. It has a wonderfully sticky consistency when it is served, but that is balanced with the nuts on top of the pie and the just-crisp crust below it.
I used a shortbread crumb crust for this tart, but graham crackers would work just as well and you can also choose to use a different tart crust entirely if you want to use something other than a crumb crust. Browned Butter Tart Dough would be a great choice.
It’s been pretty hot lately, so I haven’t been in much of a bread baking mood. But I recently made up a huge batch of gazpacho and it’s just not the same if you don’t have some good bread to go alongside a good soup – whether it is a hot soup or a cold one. So, I looked into my pantry and started to put together a couple of nice, hearty loaves of Honey and Flaxseed Bread.
This bread is a little bit sweet and a little bit nutty, with a nice whole grain flavor to it. I attribute its whole grain heartiness to the combination of flaxseeds and whole wheat flour in the dough, although the bread is moister and less crumbly than a completely whole grain bread might be because I included some all purpose flour to try and keep prevent it from getting too heavy. Honey really speeds up browning when it comes to baked goods, so this bread will develop a fairly thick, dark crust as it bakes. If your crust starts to get too dark (i.e. if it starts to burn in spots), simply tent a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the loaf and let it continue to bake.
The recipe given below makes one medium-sized loaf. It doubles very well if you’re going to want more than one, and all the instructions are exactly the same as given, though the risen dough should be shaped into two loaves before baking. I prefer to have the option to make just one loaf at a time unless I know I’m going to be baking for a crowd, so I’m leaving the recipe as written for a single loaf of bread.