Cooking With Honey – It’s Time For Caramel!

caramels 2

Autumn is the time for caramel, whether as candies or caramel apples.  This recipe is easy and delicious. Heck, it probably soothes a sore throat too!!

Yield:   18-24 caramels or 3-5 caramel apples

Ingredients:

1 cup Honey

¾ cups Heavy Cream

1-½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Butter

Directions:

Combine honey and cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally while it cooks. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches soft ball stage. The easiest way to do this is with a candy thermometer (235 to 240ºF), though you can test it with other methods.

Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in vanilla and butter. Stir until butter is completely melted and combined. Dip apples in the caramel or pour into a generously buttered 8×8 dish or smaller if you want thick large caramels. Having your dish properly buttered is important for easy removal of the caramels once set.

Allow caramels to cool thoroughly in the refrigerator and then slice into squares.  Store in the refrigerator until serving.

Cough And Sore Throat Soothing Honey Lollipops

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Emily Heath, one of my UK beekeeper/blogger friends, mentioned in her recent post about the London Honey Show that she is suffering from a very bad cold.

Another blogger friend, Solarbeez, asked me if I had a honey recipe that could soothe Emily’s symptoms.

Of course I do!!

Here is my recipe for Cough and Sore Throat Soothing Honey Lollipops. They are easy to make and effective and taste wonderful as well.

Ingredients:

You will need at least a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of honey, a non stick surface, a candy thermometer and 10-12 sucker sticks. You can also add flavors such as lemon, lavender, or cinnamon if you desire.  A 1/2 tsp. should do the trick.

Directions:

First lay out your sucker sticks, spaced apart, on your non stick surface. (You can make cough drops by omitting the sticks!)

Pour the honey into a heavy sauce pan and boil at medium to med. low heat for about 10 minutes. The honey should reach 300 degrees F.

If you do not have a candy thermometer you can test your honey by dropping a drop or two of it into a cup of very cold water. If it hardens it’s ready. If it’s still soft to the touch, keep boiling.

Remove the honey  from the  heat once it’s reached 300.

Stir in the flavor, if you are going to use any, at this time.

Pour over one end of the sucker sticks. Pour slowly. When the honey is really hot, like right off the burner, it will spread out more over the stick and form a very uneven circle. Your first few suckers might be thin and very misshapen. Your honey will start to harden quickly so by the 4th sucker or so you should see a more even circle and also a thicker sucker.

Go back to the thinner suckers and pour over them again if you want to. The thinner suckers were very sharp on the edges once the honey hardened, so I would recommend making them thicker.

Make plenty to last until cold and flu season is behind us.  And feel better soon, Emily!!

Homemade Honey Marshmallows – For Medicinal Purposes Only!

Marshmallow Apothecary

Marshmallow Apothecary

My UK friends Emma Sarah Tennant and Emily Heath posted on Facebook about their recent visit to the Marshmallow Apothecary, a popup medicinal marshmallow shop in London.

Yes, you read that right. Medicinal Marshmallows. Who knew?

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For just two weeks,the Marshmallow Apothecary opened its doors in Carnaby Street, offering free consultations and marshmallow prescriptions to visitors.​  The delicious marshmallows contained herbal remedies for ailments ranging from the common cold to a lack of libidinousness.  As Mary Poppins was wont to say, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

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It turns out that the marshmallow probably first came into being as a medicinal substance.  The Egyptians concocted them with honey to treat sore throats.

egyptian-mallows

That of course gave me an idea. Why not make my own medicinal Honey Marshmallows?

Let me tell you, they are so delicious, it’s almost worth being sick!!

They Are More Medicinal When You Make Them Pink!

They Are More Medicinal When You Make Them Pink!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1 cup water

2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites

Food coloring, if desired

Directions

Dust an 8 by 12-inch baking sheet generously with confectioners’ sugar.

Place 1/2 cup of cold water and the gelatin in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Let stand for 30 minutes.

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the remaining water, sugar, honey, salt and vanilla. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. If necessary, wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals clinging to the side of the pan.

Raise the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F. Remove from the heat and, working quickly, add the egg whites to the bowl of the electric mixer and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour the syrup into the bowl, making sure the stream remains between the whisk and side of the bowl. If you want to color the marshmallows, add the food coloring at this stage, until desired color is reached. Increase the speed to high again and whip until the mixture has at least doubled and becomes thick and fluffy.

Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread out evenly using a spatula. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar and let it sit out overnight, uncovered, to dry. Invert the marshmallow mixture onto a cutting board and, using a hot knife, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch squares. Dust with more confectioners’ sugar.

Prescription:  Eat them until you feel better!

Holidays With Honey – Cincinnati Opera Creams

opera creams

For about a hundred years, Cincinnati has had a love affair with candy filled with opera cream — a simple, but sweet and rich fondant.

Opera cream candies are usually covered in dark chocolate.  According to legend, the opera cream recipe was brought to Cincinnati from France before the turn of the century.

One explanation for the origin of the name “opera cream” is that the candy is sweet and very rich and so are a lot of operas.

Another explanation (more likely!) is that for many years, the Cincinnati Opera treated patrons to opera cream candy before performances.

Yield:  3-1/2  pounds

Ingredients:

4 cups granulated sugar

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 lb dipping chocolate

Directions:

Combine sugar, cream, honey, and cream of tartar in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.

Cook to 236°F.

Watch carefully to avoid boiling over.

If sugar crystals form on the side of pan, wipe them off.

(To prevent this problem, place the lid on just as candies start to boil, for 1 minute. This washes the crystals down automatically.) Pour out onto marble slab (do not scrape pan).

Let stand until lukewarm, about 5-10 min.

Work like fondant, until creamy& light in color.

Add vanilla and work into mix.

Shape in pieces as desired.

Dip in melted chocolate.

Holidays With Honey – L.J.’s Peanut Butter Honey Pinwheels

pinwheels

My beloved and talented mother L.J. (short for Lois Jean) ALWAYS made these for the holidays.  They were one of her many Southern specialties!

Ingredients

16 oz. powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (to keep dough from sticking to paper)

1/2 cup softened butter

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 oz. peanut butter

Directions

In mixing bowl, combine 16 oz sugar, butter, honey, milk, and vanilla (should be stiff and dough-like).
Chill for a few minutes to help prevent sticking.

Divide dough into 2 balls, and roll each ball out to pie crust thickness (Use parchment or wax paper and plenty of powdered sugar both over and under dough to keep it from sticking).

Heat peanut butter until runny and easily spreadable- not too hot- and spread evenly over rolled dough.

Roll dough into a log (you may have to sprinkle a little more powdered sugar on it as you go to help with stickiness).
Chill 1 hour and slice into 1/4″  pinwheels.  Keep refrigerated.

Holidays With Honey – Kentucky Bourbon Balls With Honey

bourbon balls

In 1936, Ruth Hanly Booe, a candy entrepreneur in Frankfort, Kentucky, invented the Bourbon Ball.  Simply and deliciously, it is a whiskey-spiked cream center covered with dark chocolate and topped with a pecan. Over time, it became a regional favorite,  especially popular during the holidays. My version contains honey as well as the finest Kentucky Bourbon.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

5 Tablespoons top quality Kentucky Bourbon

1 Tablespoon honey

Directions

Combine softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth.

Add bourbon and honey.  Mix until incorporated.

Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour.

Form the buttercream into 1 inch balls and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm.

Transfer buttercream centers to a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for several hours or overnight.

Dip in chocolate coating. (See Below)

Chocolate Coating

4 to 6 ounces semisweet chocolate

30 -50 whole pecan halves, for garnish

Place a toothpick in each bourbon ball, sticking the toothpick into the center.

Melt chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave or a double boiler. Mix and heat until smooth.

Working quickly, dip the bourbon ball centers into the chocolate one at a time. Tap the toothpick against the side of the bowl to shake off excess chocolate. Set the coated bourbon ball on waxed paper covering a baking sheet or pizza pan. With another toothpick push the bourbon ball gently from the toothpick and cover the spot where it was with a pecan half.

When all bourbon balls have been dipped allow them to rest until set. (To speed the process the pan of bourbon balls can be placed in the refrigerator.) When set, transfer the candies to a holiday tin or other storage container.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Turtles

turtle

This is probably my favorite candy!  Make lots because unlike real turtles, they are sure to go fast!!

Ingredients:

12 ounces of soft caramels, recipe follows

6 oz (about 1.5 cups) toasted pecan halves

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with aluminum foil and spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Arrange the pecans in clusters of 4 with each pecan pointing in a different direction (like turtle legs).

3. Place the caramel in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds.

4. Allow the caramel to cool slightly, then use a spoon to drop a spoonful of caramel over the pecan clusters. They are meant to be a rustic candy, so don’t worry about keeping the turtles round or about having some of the pecans poking through.

5. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler. Spoon the melted chocolate over the caramel layer.

6. Allow the turtle candies to set fully, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week, but bring them to room temperature before serving so the caramel can soften.

Honey Caramels

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup honey (mild honey works best here)
1 cup raw sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Special Equipment: 8×8 pan, candy thermometer (optional)

Directions:

  1. Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil, letting the edges of the foil hang over the side of the pan, and spray with cooking spray, or butter generously.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan.
  3. Add the honey, sugar, and heavy cream. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has mostly dissolved.
  4. Turn the heat to medium low. Clip your candy thermometer onto the side of the pan….carefully.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches firm ball stage, which you can determine in one of two ways: a. the mixture reaches 248ºF (give or take a degree or two) on a candy thermometer (it will be marked with “FB” or “firm ball”) or b. Drop a bit of the mixture into a small bowl filled with ice water. It should immediately form a ball that you can squeeze together with your fingers without it dissipating.
  6. Immediately remove from the heat, quickly stir in the vanilla (it will bubble slightly) and pour the mixture into your greased pan.
  7. Let cool, lift out of the pan using the foil, then cut into squares and wrap in squares of parchment paper or cellophane.

Note: If you happen to accidentally take your caramels past the firm ball stage (i.e., if the caramel mixture gets a little too hard after it has cooled), remelt the candy over low heat with 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Stir until the mixture is totally combined, then do the ice water test to check the consistency of the mixture (dropping the mixture into cold water is a reliable indicator of what the texture/consistency of the caramels will be when cool). Immediately pour into a newly-foil lined and greased pan, and cool completely.

Holidays With Honey – Dark Chocolate And Honey Truffles

Truffles

These are so easy to prepare and they make perfect gifts!

Ingredients

9 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

½ cup  heavy cream

¼ cup honey

pinch of salt

unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling the truffles

Directions

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set aside.

Combine cream, honey and salt in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until honey is dissolved. When the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Mix until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 3-4 hours or overnight. Using a small cookie-scoop or a spoon, make truffles with generous 1 ½ teaspoons of ganache per truffle and roll into the cocoa powder. Place in fluted paper cases and serve.

Truffles can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Makes about 30 truffles

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Almond Bark

It was probably inevitable that cranberries would be associated with Christmas. Their bright, shiny red color and their winter availability primed them for use on the table and the tree. Slow to spoil, they hold up for the entire twelve days of Christmas and longer.

The earliest American Christmas trees in the 1840s were decorated with homemade ornaments of fruits, nuts, candies, and other “sweetmeats,” and it could not have taken long for the woman of the house to thread a large needle and string cranberries with popped corn to make a red and white holiday garland.

  • 5oz of white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
  • Honey
  1. Re-hydrate cranberries in water over high heat in a small pot until they plump up, remove from heat and liquid, set aside let cool.
  2. Toast the almonds over medium low in a small pan, tossing frequently until they are a golden brown, remove from heat, give it a rough chop, set asid
  3. Melt chocolate over a double boiler with the water simmering. Stir with a rubber spatula until it becomes a smooth texture, immediately remove from heat and pour into a 9×9 sheet pan with parchment paper on the bottom, spread evenly.
  4. Working quickly sprinkle the almonds evenly over the chocolate, then the cranberries and lastly, working from the top corner to the bottom drizzle the honey quickly and horizontally, not too thick or it will be too sticky. A very thin layer will almost not be seen but will be tasted. Let chocolate set before breaking apart and placing in an air tight container.

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.