Honey Coca Cola Cake

coca cola cake

Coke is one of my guilty pleasures.  Kicking the “Real Coke” habit is one of my greatest victories.

I’m now a Coke Zero fiend, thanks to my skinny, yoga-toned daughter Molly. Thank you, Dear!!

But this cake is a different story. It was introduced to me by my beloved mother L.J.  My Oldest Friend Mary Ann and I actually laughed when she told us about it. That was until we tasted it….

It’s one of the best we’ve ever tasted.  And even better with honey…

Ingredients

1 cup Coca-Cola

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup honey

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Coca-Cola Frosting (recipe follows)

Garnish: 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions

Combine Coca-Cola and buttermilk; set aside.

Beat butter at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and honey; beat until blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat at low speed until blended.

Combine flour, cocoa, and soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture; begin and end with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended.

Stir in marshmallows. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Spread Coca-Cola Frosting over warm cake; garnish, if desired.

Coca Cola Frosting

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup Coca-Cola

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; Beat in sugar and vanilla until consistency of firm frosting.

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 – Honey Peppermint Truffles

peppermint truffles

This always happens. I think I have days and days before Christmas and all of a sudden there it is, staring me in the face. I hope I get the chance to post all of the recipes, Winter Solstice lore, and ghost stories I have planned before the Big Day. If not, there’s always next year…

Ingredients

9 ounces dark chocolate

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup honey

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup crushed red and white mint candies or candy canes

Directions

Place dark chocolate in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Heat cream, honey and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Then, whisk until smooth. Add in peppermint extract and stir to fully incorporate.

Cover mixture with foil or plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until truffle mixture becomes firm (about 6 hours or overnight).

Place a piece of parchment paper onto a large plate or cookie sheet and set aside.

Place the crushed peppermints on a plate or a cutting board.

Remove truffle mixture from the refrigerator. Using a teaspoon, or a melon baller, scoop out small balls of chocolate. Roll each carefully in your hand until it resembles a misshapen little ball (these should not be perfectly round, they are supposed to resemble real truffles).

Immediately roll each truffle in the crushed peppermint and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover truffles and place them in the refrigerator until firm. Place in fluted paper cases and serve.

Truffles can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Makes about 30 truffles

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

Holidays With Honey – Honey Florentines

Florentines

Contrary to popular belief, Florentines most likely originated in France rather than Italy.  The main ingredients and technique for preparation are typically French, not Tuscan.  The cookies were probably named in honor of Florentine nobility, perhaps France’s Florentine Queen, Catherine de’ Medici, who was an influential gastronome. Queen Catherine was a big fan of spinach, and French dishes containing spinach are also called “Florentine.”

Yield:  5 dozen 3-inch Florentines, or 2 1/2 dozen 6-inch Florentines

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds (about 5 ounces)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons honey

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping:

2 to 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the nuts, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.

Put the sugar, cream, honey and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Set aside until cool enough to handle, 30 minutes.

Scoop rounded teaspoons (for 3-inch cookies) or rounded tablespoons (for 6-inch cookies) of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 to 4 inches between each cookie since they spread.

Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout, rotating pans halfway through baking time, about 10 to 11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Top with chocolate when cookies are cool.

Chocolate topping:

Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very low simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue heat until completely melted, about 1 to 2 minutes more.)

Drizzle melted chocolate over Florentines as desired. Set aside at room temperature until chocolate is set.

Best Thanksgiving Leftovers – Honey Cranberry Brownies

Okay, I know Cranberry Week is over, but it’s never too early to start thinking about how to use those Thanksgiving leftovers…

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash salt
1/2 cup leftover cranberry sauce, preferably whole berry

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 8-inch square baking pan.

Melt chocolate chips and butter in medium heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in eggs, honey and vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl. Stir into chocolate mixture. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Drop teaspoonfuls of cranberry sauce over top.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or just until center feels springy. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares.

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.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Pedigree of Honey

by: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

The pedigree of honey

Does not concern the bee;

A clover, any time, to him

Is aristocracy.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

Preheat to 375 degrees

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well dispersed.
2. Cream the sugar, honey, and butter together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat the mixture until light and creamy. Add the extract.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients, mixing until combined. Add the cranberries, chips, and nuts.
4. Drop heaping teaspoons two inches apart on an ungreased sheet. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.