Cooking With Honey – Mixed Greens With Honey Oregano Vinaigrette And Crispy Prosciutto

oregano salad

For the last two months I’ve been traveling the East Coast attending Bee Meetings and visiting adult children. It’s been lots of fun although I feel a bit like a long haul trucker. 🙂

I’ve visited the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, and the beehive/kitchen garden at the White House in Washington DC. I’ll be posting about my trips over the next few weeks.

Of course I’ve been eating and drinking along the way !! One of my favorite meals was at Nonna’s Italian in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where I had one of the best salads I’ve ever tasted. Not surprisingly, the original recipe calls for honey!!

Whether you make this salad as a prelude to a meal or for the meal itself, I guarantee you will enjoy it!!

Yield:  10 servings

Dressing:

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black or red pepper, depending on your taste

3/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

Place all ingredients in lidded jar and shake until combined. Let stand for up to two hours for flavors to blend.

Crispy Prosciutto:

Twelve slices prosciutto.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide prosciutto between baking sheets, laying them flat. Bake until fat turns golden and meat is darker, about 15 minutes (rotating baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking time). Using tongs, carefully transfer prosciutto to paper towels to drain (it will crisp as it cools). Crispy prosciutto can be used like bacon, in whole pieces or crumbled.

Salad:

Twelve cups mixed greens

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings

12 small/cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters

1 tablespoon capers

1/4 cup sliced and pitted kalamata olives

12 slices crispy prosciutto, crumbled fine.

Directions:

Mix well and serve with Italian bread and olive oil.

Italian Chocolate And Honey Cupcakes With Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

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Let’s celebrate the arrival of Spring with some lovely decadent cupcakes!

Yield:   2 dozen

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

3 eggs, separated

1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

For the frosting:

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup (about 6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350 F and line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl cream together the butter, sugar, and honey until smooth but not fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix well, then add the melted chocolate and mix until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Once sifted whisk in the salt.

Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk into the butter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans.

In a clean bowl whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter in two additions making sure no streaks of white remain in the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed in the center. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

While the cupcakes cool prepare the frosting.

Spread the coconut and pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes, until the coconut and nuts are toasted. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

In a microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate and butter. Microwave for 30 seconds then stir the mixture. If the mixture is not completely melted return to the microwave for 15 seconds bursts, stirring after each, until smooth. Allow to cool for five minutes.

Add the sour cream and vanilla and whisk to combine, then add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is thick but not too stiff. The frosting will stiffen further as it sits. Reserve 1/3 cup of the toasted coconut and pecans for garnish. Stir the remaining coconut and pecans into the frosting.

Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle the tops with the reserved coconut and pecans.

Gertrude Jekyll’s Honey and Lavender Tea Cakes

tea cake

This isn’t really Miss Jekyll’s recipe, although I think she would like it. She adored lavender!

Yield:  6-18 tea cakes, depending upon size of the cake tin

Ingredients

For cakes

Two sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

Three large eggs at room temperature

Two cups minus one tablespoon all-purpose flour

One teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon dried food grade lavender, crushed/chopped up

1/3 cup buttermilk

For glaze

Juice of one lemon

Two teaspoons honey

1/2 cup confectioners’/powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit  Grease choice of tin very well with melted butter.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, honey, and butter until fluffy and creamy. In a small bowl, beat the eggs until blended and pour them into the creamed honey, butter, and sugar, until just blended.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the crushed lavender.

Pour in a third of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk. Stir through the bottom of bowl, repeat with the flour, remaining milk, stir, and then the final amount of flour. Continue folding butter and flour mixtures together until a batter is formed and no large clumps of flour remain.

Pour the batter into the buttered tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes for small cakes, or for 25-30 minutes for larger ones.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by juicing one lemon into a small bowl. Pour in two teaspoons honey and stir together with the powdered sugar until a fairly thick liquid is formed. Set aside.

Once the cakes are finished baking, let cool for a minute or so, then unmold the cakes onto a cooling rack or plate. Immediately drizzle over the glaze. Enjoy warm or completely cooled. Excellent with tea.

Holidays With Honey – Gingerbread Men

Gingy

“Run! run! as fast as you can!
You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Who doesn’t love Gingerbread Men? Especially when they’re made with honey rather than molasses. Have some fun and make these tasty cookies. They’re great for gifts and decorations too!

This recipe makes a light brown Gingerbread Man, like the one above.

Yield:   26 Servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice

Directions

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the honey, egg and water. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. cookie cutter. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can make your own templates from paper or cardboard. (I think that’s more fun!)

Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Re-roll scraps.

Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired with icing recipe which follows.

Decorating Buttercream (for piping details)

This makes a LOT of icing. You may want to cut the recipe in half.

Cream until smooth:

6 oz  (1 1/2  sticks) butter (room temperature)

1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar

ÂĽ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp pure vanilla

Add:

1 tbsp evaporated milk (you may need more)

Beat briefly until light and smooth. Color as desired.

After piping on cookies, this icing should set 6-8 hours or overnight. This icing does not dry hard but will “crust” so cookies can be handled.

How To Make The Perfect Honey Cupcake

Cupcakes made with honey are moist and delicious, but unless you use the proper technique they can be a bit more dense than a cupcake made with granulated sugar.

Proper cupcake technique is easy.  It just takes a little more time and attention.

Before you start, it’s really important to make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature.   This will make it easier for all the ingredients to incorporate in the batter.

Take a little more time when you are creaming your butter with honey and/or other ingredients.  Cream it  on high speed on your mixer for at least five minutes. I don’t know what I would do without my loyal and ancient Kitchenaid!!

Mixing will create air pockets in the butter which will create air bubbles in your batter.  This is the first step in making your cupcakes light and fluffy.  Adding baking soda and/or baking powder will make these air bubbles expand — and this is what makes your cupcake batter rise in the oven.

When you add your eggs, always add them slowly and be sure to add them one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition so the egg is completely mixed in the batter.  When adding your dry ingredients and wet ingredients — first add 1/3 of your dry ingredients, mix slowly, then 1/3 of your wet ingredients, mix slowly, then 1/3 of your dry ingredients, mix slowly, then 1/3 of the wet ingredients, mix slowly, then the final 1/3 of your dry ingredients, mix slowly, and the final 1/3 of your wet ingredients, with a final slow mix. This will ensure that all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.  This process takes longer than just dumping everything in the mixer all together, but there will be a noticeable difference in your cupcakes when you take these extra steps.

When making your frosting, be sure to whip it up on your mixer’s highest speed for at least five minutes!  Five minutes can seem like an eternity when all you want to do is eat your cupcakes — but it’s well worth the wait when you do it right.  You’ll definitely taste the difference!

Get Converted!

Fellow beekeeping bloggers innercityfarmers asked:

In terms of converting sugar to honey when baking, do you have a conversion that you go by? Any tips or tricks you should be aware of when making the switch?

Good question!

Most of my recipes were developed using honey.  But I have converted a few of them.

For baked goods, the following rules of thumb apply:

1. Use equal amounts of honey for sugar up to one cup. Over one cup, replace each cup of sugar with 2/3 to 3/4 cup of honey depending upon the sweetness desired. Honey is sweeter than sugar.

2. Lower the baking temperature 25 degrees and watch your time carefully since products with honey brown faster.

3. In recipes using one cup or more of honey for sugar, it may be necessary to reduce liquids by 1/5 to 1/4 cup per cup of honey.

4. Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of honey if baking soda is not already included in the recipe. This will reduce the acidity of the honey, as well as increase the volume of your product.

For other foods, honey is more or less interchangeable with sugar. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule.  Experimentation is the best way to go!!

One thing is for sure though — a little honey makes everything taste better!!

Mini Strawberry Honey Pies

Spring and strawberries just go together. This recipe is for all of you fruit pie lovers out there, and who isn’t? These Baby Pies are fresh, dainty and delicious…

Ingredients

Crust:

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 unroll-and-bake refrigerated 9-inch pie crusts (recommended: Pillsbury)

Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 8 medium strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces, to yield about 1 1/4 cups
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Special equipment: a 12-count nonstick mini-muffin pan, a 3-inch round cookie cutter, a 2-inch round cookie cutter

Directions

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the crust: Spray a 12-count nonstick mini-muffin pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Put a strip of parchment paper, 1-inch wide and 5-inches long into each muffin cup, allowing the excess paper to overhang the sides of the cups. Unroll the pie crust and using round cookie cutters, cut out 12 (3-inch) circles and 12 (2-inch) circles of dough. Lightly press the 3-inch circles of dough into the bottom and sides of the prepared muffin cups.

For the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lemon juice, arrowroot, and orange zest until smooth. Stir in the strawberries.

Spoon the filling into the muffin cups and using a pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg. Put the 2-inch circles of dough on top. Using the tines of a fork press the edges of the dough together to seal. Lightly brush the tops of the pastry with the beaten egg. Using the tip of a knife, make a 1/4-inch wide slit in the center of each pie. Bake until the crust is golden, about 14 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes. Using the overhanging parchment paper as handles, remove the pies from the pan. Remove the parchment paper and serve

Honey Butter Rolls

  • YIELD: Makes 28 rolls

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

Preparation

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl, and let stand 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles.

2. Meanwhile, heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until 100° to 110°.

3. Stir together warm milk, eggs, and next 3 ingredients in bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, blending well. Add yeast mixture, stirring to combine. Gradually add 5 cups flour, beating at medium speed, using paddle attachment. Beat 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 1 hour.

4. Uncover dough, and add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, beating at medium speed 5 minutes. (Dough will be sticky.) Transfer to a lightly greased large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

5. Punch down dough. Turn dough out on a well-floured surface, and roll into 28 (2 1/2-inch) balls (about 1/4 cup dough per ball). Place balls in 4 lightly greased 9-inch pans (7 balls per pan). Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

6. Bake rolls at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with  butter.

Note: To freeze, place baked rolls in zip-top plastic freezer bags, and freeze up to two months. Let thaw at room temperature. Reheat, if desired.

Honey Cupcakes With Honey Buttercream Icing

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE cupcakes. Naturally, this recipe is one of my very favorites.

Since honey absorbs and retains moisture, it keeps these cupcakes moist and fresh.

Honey Cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in honey, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into the batter until just blended. Scoop the batter into the cups evenly.

Cupcakes are ready when the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes.

Honey Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup honey plus 2 TBSP
4-5 cups powdered sugar
milk as  needed for thinning out frosting

In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the honey for 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar .
Start on low speed on the mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.
Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.
Use milk to thin out frosting to reach desired consistency.