Hot Buttered Rum With Honey

This recipe is for my “oldest friend” Mary Ann Mulford, a cook as adventurous and crazy as I am!  We’ve never let the lack of ingredients stop us, and we are fearless in our substitutions.

One snowy evening many years ago (I refuse to do the math!), we decided to make Hot Buttered Rum to accompany an evening of sledding.

Only one problem.  We didn’t have any butter.

Did that stop us?  Heck, no!  Thus was born a new concoction, Hot Margarine-ed Rum!

It will never replace the original. Trust me…  🙂

Hot Buttered Rum with Honey


  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup spiced rum
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 sticks cinnamon, for garnish


Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a 4-cup (or larger) measuring cup. Add the rum and then 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until the butter mixture dissolves. Divide the buttered rum among 4 mugs. Garnish with the cinnamon sticks and serve.

Homemade Honey Tootsie Rolls

My good friend and cooking buddy Amy Marrero Doyle forwarded this recipe to me because it uses honey rather than corn syrup.

Few people know that corn syrup was developed after the Civil War as a cheap substitute for honey and cane sugar.  Because it is a liquid, honey  can be substituted one-to-one for corn syrup in any recipe!

This post is reblogged from Food52.

Homemade Tootsie Rolls
Makes 22-24 pieces

½ cup honey
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 to 1 ¼ cup instant non-fat dry milk powder

In a large bowl, combine honey, cocoa powder and vanilla using a whisk. Add the melted butter and whisk until well incorporated. Add in the powdered sugar and pinch of salt; whisk again until well combined.

Using a wooden spoon, mix in the instant milk powder ¼ cup at a time until a dough forms. When you can no longer stir the mixture with a spoon, knead it with your hands. Keep adding in milk powder until a firm dough forms. You may not have to use all the milk powder. The finished dough should be firm and a little sticky but not so sticky that you can’t handle it. Roll the dough into a ball and place on waxed paper lightly sprayed with cooking oil or coated with butter or vegetable oil.

Let dough rest uncovered on the wax paper for 5-10 minutes. As the candy stands it will relax from a ball shape into a disc. Cut candy into ¾-inch strips and then into 2-inch lengths. If candy sticks to the knife, spray it with cooking oil or coat it with butter.

Cut wax paper into 3 ½ x 5 inch pieces. Wrap candies with the wax paper pieces.

Store candies in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Good book, great review!!

Adventuresinbeeland's Blog

Steve Benbow is a professional beekeeper who runs the London Honey Company. He runs courses for beginners, sells high-end honey and beeswax products and looks after hives for prestigious companies around the capital, the likes of Fortnum and Mason and Tate Modern.

Successful people are rarely popular with everyone, and Steve does appear to be a contentious figure amongst London beekeepers. I’ve heard him described as a ‘wheeler-dealer’, while some question how much of the honey marketed as ‘Fortnum and Masons’ and sold in the store is really produced on the rooftop – and whether bees should be kept high up on urban rooftops at all. (Edit 12/10: Steve has sent me a tweet to say “Thank you for my book review.. just for the record every jar of Fortnum’s rooftop honey is produced on the roof on their store”).

Others greatly admire Steve’s charisma, charm and entreprenurial spirit. Deborah…

View original post 411 more words

Making Mead The Easy Way?

I received a lovely comment yesterday from Alicia over at Boozed + Infused (try her recipe for Caramel Apple Liqueur!), and it reminded me that I haven’t posted a mead recipe yet.

There is a very good reason for this.

Every mead recipe I have seen is so complicated that my head starts to hurt and I have to go lie down for a while. 

Mead is a delicious wine brewed from honey.

Delicious Mead!

The problem is that most mead recipes call for a lot of special equipment including an airlock and a glass carboy(My head is starting to hurt already…)

Special Mead-Making Equipment!

I figured there had to be an easier way. After all, people have been making mead for thousands of years.

I finally located a recipe that doesn’t require special equipment and is almost easy to make.  If I start today, I can have four bottles of mead ready by next Easter!


1 Gallon of Spring Water (room temperature, do not get refrigerated)
3 pounds of honey – pure unprocessed
1 bag of balloons that are big enough to stretch over the mouth of the spring water jug
1 package of Fleischmann’s Yeast
1 box of raisins
1 Orange

If you would like to add a bit of spice to this recipe, you can add 1 or 2 cloves. But be careful, they are very strong so don’t put more than 2.

How to make the Mead

Pour about half of the water into a clean container then slice up your orange into eighths and put the slices, honey, twenty-five raisins, and the yeast into the jug. Pour some water back into the jug so the level is a couple of inches from the top then put the cap on it and shake it up well. If you can, you should shake it for a good five minutes. This will aerate the mixture. The yeast really needs lots of oxygen to grow vigorously.

Now poke a pinhole in the top of the balloon, remove the cap from your jug and put the balloon right over the mouth of the jug. Stretch the open end of the balloon right over the jug so that as the gases form inside the jug they will inflate the balloon. Put a rubber band or tape around the neck to keep it firmly in place -if it feels like it might come off. Leave it out on a counter for the first day so you can monitor it.

Somewhere between an hour and twenty-four hours later the balloon will start to inflate. This is a great sign. It means that your yeast is transforming the contents of the jug into wine. Gases are forming inside the jug and are escaping through the pinhole. This setup insures gases escape but no contaminants get into your brew.

If the balloon is getting big you may need to poke another hole or two in it. You don’t want it to burst. It would leave your mead open to contamination. Once you are satisfied that the gases are escaping and the balloon is not under unusual stress you can set the jug in a cool dry place like a kitchen cabinet or closet shelf. Check on it every day if you can just to make sure it is okay and the balloon hasn’t popped off.  If the balloon starts to age, just replace it with another balloon.

After two to three weeks, most of the fermentation will be done and the balloon will be limp. At this point you can taste a little bit to see how it is coming along but it isn’t really a tasty wine at this point.

It will need another couple of months to start to get delicious.   (At this point in the recipe, I had to lie down for a few minutes…)

Over time, as you check on it you will notice that the cloudiness disappears and it slowly clarifies and transforms into wine.

The orange and the raisins can stay in the mixture for the whole duration, but if you want to make the mead a little milder and help it clarify faster, you can transfer the liquid into another clean gallon jug and place the balloon on that one. This would be after the two to three week fermentation period is over. This process is called racking and it will move your mead along nicely.

Some Tips
You can make the honey easier to pour by letting it stand in a sink or bowl of warm water. And you can experiment with the flavor a bit by adding a cinnamon stick or a pinch of nutmeg to the batch when you add the orange. Don’t leave out the raisins. They are not there for taste. They are a necessary food for the yeast because honey is a bit low in the nutrients that yeast like. If the honey is a bit expensive you can cut this down to two pounds. Any quantity between two and three and a half pounds will work well, and the more honey you put the sweeter the mead will be. But the more honey you put the longer it will take to mature.

Be patient and taste your mead every few weeks. It should be really clear and delicious after a few months. It will continue to age and improve over a long period of time so the longer you wait, the better it will get. Try to wait six months if you can!

If you are struggling with waiting, then you should probably make another batch. (Or buy some at the liquor store…)

Good Luck!!

Honey Caramel Apple Cake

This cake tastes like an old-fashioned caramel apple. Delicious!!



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups honey, plus 1/4 cup for the apples
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground apple or pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Finely grated zest from 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 orange (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Caramel Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Special equipment: 10 cup bundt pan


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour the bundt pan.

Whisk the flour, 1 teaspoon of the pie spice, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

Toss the apples with 1/4 cup of the honey and 1/2 teaspoon pie spice and set aside.

Whisk the eggs, remaining honey and oil together in another bowl. Whisk in the sour cream, orange zest and juice, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined but still a bit lumpy.

Using a slotted spoon, scatter about 1/2 cup of the apples in the bottom of the bundt pan. Put about 1/3 of the batter on top. Repeat, alternating with the remaining apples and batter, ending with the batter.

Bake the cake until it pulls away for the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and invert onto a rack placed over a baking sheet. Cool. (The cake can be prepared to this point a day ahead.)

To make the caramel: Stir the sugar, honey, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan but not stirring, until the sugar is dark amber-colored caramel, about 10 minutes. Pull pan from the heat and carefully pour in the cream (take care, it will splatter). Stir in the pecans, vanilla, and salt. Cool until caramel becomes thick and syrupy, then evenly pour over the cake and cool until set.

Mouse Guards

Mouse Guards (Photo courtesy of The Beginner Beekeeper Page)

No, that’s not the type of Mouse Guard I’m talking about, although they might come in handy as well!

A Mouse Guard is a handy metal device that prevents the Mouse Family from taking up residence in your hive. Mice are bad house guests and make a huge mess. They build nests by eating part of the comb of several frames and filling the holes with grass.

In early fall, mice will enter a hive and mark it with their scent. Once a hive is marked, the mice will return in late fall and hide out until winter. Mice can fit into the large hole of a standard entrance reducer. Small mice can fit into holes the size of a dime.

If you check your bottom board during the winter and find a large number of  wings and legs, there is a good chance you have a mouse. If temperatures are extremely low, you may not be able to remove the mouse until spring.

A Mouse Guard is essential if your hives aren’t on the roof. Well, maybe you need one on the roof, too…

You can buy a mouse guard from any beekeeping supplier, or you can make your own.

I ordered my Mouse Guard from Mann Lake. It cost $4.95.

If you want to make your own Mouse Guard, simply cut hardware cloth (metal screen) the width of your entrance and about 7″ tall.

Cut one of the 7″ sides smooth. This will be the bottom. Cut the other side with the small metal bits sticking out. They are sharp, so watch out.

Bend the metal screen into a U, about 3″ from the smooth side. Angle the top spikes facing up, about an inch in from the end.

Mouse Guard side view

Mouse Guard Side View

Insert the guard into your hive with the exposed sharp points sticking up.  It should be a tight fit, but not dig into the wood.

Mice will not be able to pass through the metal screen, but your bees will. The sharp points on the top will help keep skunks and other pests away.

Honey Garlic Grilled Eggplant

What makes this recipe so good is the honey-garlic marinade. You won’t really taste the honey, but it helps the eggplant caramelize on the grill. The results are musky and succulent.

Honey Garlic Grilled Eggplant

Note: Aleppo chili that this recipe calls for is available in Middle Eastern markets. It’s not spicy at all, but sweet and musky. If you don’t have it, substitute it with a pinch of Spanish smoked paprika, or skip it all together.

Serves 2

1 eggplant (2 if using small Italian eggplants)
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 mashed garlic cloves
1 tsp aleppo chili (optional)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

  1. Peel stripes of skin off the eggplant to create a zebra like pattern of skin and no-skin. This is not only decorative, but makes the skin easier to bite. Slice eggplant into ½ inch thick circles.
  2. Lay out a large sheet of paper towels. Sprinkle eggplant generously with salt on both sides and lay out on paper towels. The eggplant will release a lot of liquid. This will help get rid of bitterness (if any) and make the eggplant more succulent and less watery after it’s cooked. Let sit for 15 minutes, then dry both sides well with paper towels.
  3. In a large bowl, mix honey, olive oil, garlic, chili, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Dunk both sides of each eggplant slice into this marinade.
  4. Preheat the grill or grill pan to high. Grab a wad of paper towel with tongs, dip it in oil, and brush it on the grill.
  5. Place the eggplant slices on the grill, cover, and turn down the heat to medium. Grill until marked, about 3 minutes. Turn 90 degrees to make cross-hatch grill marks. Grill until marked, about 3 more minutes.
  6. Brush the slices with remaining marinade, flip and repeat the grilling procedure on the other side. Regulate heat so that the eggplant is browning, but not burning. Remove to a plate, and drizzle with olive oil.