Holidays With Honey – Honey Baked Ham

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This is one of the most popular recipes on my blog and in my cookbook, Cooking with Honey

It’s perfect for holiday dinners, and your guests will be vying for leftovers.

FYI, Cooking with Honey is still available for holiday delivery for $10 including shipping. Email me at rtbee@me.com with your orders.

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Ingredients:

1 fully-cooked shank half ham , bone in (pre-sliced is best)

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1⁄8; teaspoon paprika

1 dash ground ginger

1 dash ground allspice

Directions:

First you must slice your ham, if it is not already sliced. Use a very sharp knife to cut the ham into very thin slices around the bone.

Do not cut all the way to the bone or the meat may not hold together properly as it is being glazed. You want the slices to be quite thin, but not so thin that they begin to fall apart of off the bone.

You may wish to turn the ham onto its flat end and cut around it starting at the bottom. You can then spin the ham as you slice around and work your way up.

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. (I like to make double this recipe for a nice large ham).

Lay down a couple sheets of wax paper onto a flat surface, such as your kitchen counter. Pour the honey/sugar mixture onto the wax paper and spread it around evenly.

Pick up the ham and roll it over the sugar mixture so that it is well coated. Do not coat the flat end of the ham, just the outer surface which you have sliced through.

Turn the ham onto its flat end on a plate. Use a kitchen torch with a medium-size flame to caramelize the sugar.

Wave the torch over the sugar with rapid movements, so that the sugar bubbles and browns, but does not burn. Spin the plate so that you can torch the entire surface of the ham.

Repeat the coating and caramelizing process until the ham has been well-glazed (don’t expect to use all of the sugar mixture).

Serve the ham cold or re-heat.

Health Benefits Of Honey!

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One of the many great things about Farmers’ Markets is that you can find unprocessed honey, also known as raw honey, for sale. Most of the honey sold in grocery stores has been pasteurized and sometimes even blended with cane sugar or corn syrup. However, raw honey is naturally antiseptic and does not need pasteurization.

People have been using raw honey for its health benefits for millennia. Raw honey contains pollen, enzymes, antioxidants and many other beneficial compounds that researchers are just beginning to discover. These compounds largely disappear during processing. The general rule is the darker the raw honey, the more nutritious it is.

Allergy Relief

Recent research supports the theory that local honey– obtained as close as possible to where you live–may help build an immunity to seasonal allergies. Honey made by bees in the vicinity of an allergenic plant will contain tiny amounts of pollen from that plant. This honey will act as a sort of vaccine if taken in small amounts–a few teaspoons per day–for several months, and can provide relief from seasonal pollen-related allergies.

Antioxidants

Raw honey contains powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants, while pasteurized honey does not.

Digestive Aid

Raw honey contains many enzymes that can help some people digest food more easily so it may also help treat ulcers and diarrhea.

Vitamins and Minerals

The nutrient content of raw honey varies (darker honey is more nutritious), but a 1-ounce serving contains very small amounts of folate as well as vitamins B2, C, B6, B5 and B3. Minerals including calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc are also found in raw honey.

Wound and Skin Care

Honey has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. It is used by the medical profession to treat wounds, burns, and various other skin conditions including acne.

Cough Suppressant

Honey is also useful in treating upper respiratory infections. Studies have shown that a small dose of raw honey was more effective than an over-the-counter cough treatment. Be sure not to give any honey, either raw or treated, to a child under the age of 12 months.

Blood sugar regulation:

Even though honey contains simple sugars, some researchers believe it does not affect the body in the same way as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Honey’s exact combination of fructose and glucose may actually help the body regulate blood sugar levels.

In addition to its health benefits, it is a scientific fact that cooking with honey makes food taste better. Honey contains gluconic acid, a completely safe and natural flavor enhancer. According to the National Honey Board, honey “balances and enhances the flavor profiles of other ingredients used in a recipe.”

A little honey makes everything better!

Cooking With Honey – Honey Berry Clafoutis

clafoutis

With berry season upon us, an easy and delicious dessert to make is clafoutis. All you need to do is mix and bake to have a fresh and scrumptious French custardy treat!

Yield:   One 8-inch custard

Ingredients

¾ cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

⅓ cup honey

1 tsp orange zest

3 eggs

1 Tbs vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

½ cup flour

2 cups fresh berries of your choice

2 Tbs granulated sugar, plus additional for pan

Powdered sugar for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch pie plate or round cake pan and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.

Blend together all ingredients except 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and berries. Pour a ¼-inch layer of batter into pie plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, just until a skin forms. Toss berries with sugar while first layer sets.

Once skin forms, remove plate from oven and add berries plus remaining custard batter. Bake until top is golden brown and custard is set (moves as one when jiggled, toothpick comes out clean), about an hour.

Can serve warm, but cool completely before removing whole clafoutis from pan. Store chilled.

Easter Dinner – Honey Baked Ham

Make your own version of this Easter favorite!

Ingredients:

1 fully-cooked shank half ham , bone in (pre-sliced is best)

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1⁄8; teaspoon paprika

1 dash ground ginger

1 dash ground allspice

Directions:

First you must slice your ham, if it is not already sliced. Use a very sharp knife to cut the ham into very thin slices around the bone.

Do not cut all the way to the bone or the meat may not hold together properly as it is being glazed. You want the slices to be quite thin, but not so thin that they begin to fall apart of off the bone.

You may wish to turn the ham onto its flat end and cut around it starting at the bottom. You can then spin the ham as you slice around and work your way up.

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. (I like to make double this recipe for a nice large ham).

Lay down a couple sheets of wax paper onto a flat surface, such as your kitchen counter. Pour the honey/sugar mixture onto the wax paper and spread it around evenly.

Pick up the ham and roll it over the sugar mixture so that it is well coated. Do not coat the flat end of the ham, just the outer surface which you have sliced through.

Turn the ham onto its flat end on a plate. Use a kitchen torch with a medium-size flame to caramelize the sugar.

Wave the torch over the sugar with rapid movements, so that the sugar bubbles and browns, but does not burn. Spin the plate so that you can torch the entire surface of the ham.

Repeat the coating and caramelizing process until the ham has been well-glazed (don’t expect to use all of the sugar mixture).

Serve the ham cold or re-heat.

Girl History Month – P.L. Travers, Author And Mystic

“The Sphinx, the Pyramids, the stone temples are, all of them, ultimately, as flimsy as London Bridge; our cities but tents set up in the cosmos. We pass. But what the bee knows, the wisdom that sustains our passing life—however much we deny or ignore it—that for ever remains.” —P. L. Travers

what the bee knows

Pamela Lyndon Travers (1899-1996) was an Australian novelist, actress and journalist, most remembered for her series of novels about the magical nanny Mary Poppins.

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In 1925 while in Ireland, Travers met the mystic poet George William Russell who, as editor of The Irish Statesman, accepted some of her poems for publication. Through Russell, Travers met William Butler Yeats and other Irish poets who fostered her interest in Celtic folklore and world mythology. Later, the mystic Gurdjieff would have a great effect on her, one that would last the rest of her life.

In 1934 Mary Poppins blew into Miss Travers’s life and remained long enough to be captured on paper. Miss Travers was living in Sussex, recuperating from an illness in a 900-year-old thatched cottage mentioned in the Domesday Book. One day she found herself with two bored visiting children to entertain. She came up with a story about a raven-haired, rosy-cheeked governess who arrives with her carpetbag and parrot-headed umbrella at 17 Cherry Tree Lane to care for Jane and Michael Banks and their siblings. When Mary Poppins wasn’t busy ruling the nursery with a will of iron, or admiring her own reflection in a shop window, she worked fabulous deeds: sliding up banisters, presiding at tea parties held on the ceiling, pasting gold paper stars in the heavens at night.

Mary Poppins

Encouraged by friends, Miss Travers published “Mary Poppins,” which was an immediate critical success. A sequel, “Mary Poppins Comes Back,” appeared the following year. It was followed by “Mary Poppins Opens the Door” (1943), “Mary Poppins in the Park” (1952), “Mary Poppins From A to Z” (1962), “Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane” (1982) and “Mary Poppins and the House Next Door (1988).

I have read all the books many times and love them. I treasure the copies I own.

poppins books

The books were adapted in 1964 into a musical Disney film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. For the record, Miss Travers was not terribly fond of the adaptation (she reportedly wept through the premiere of the movie), nor of Disney himself. I share her sentiments regarding both.

In 2004, Disney Theatrical produced a stage musical adaptation in the West End. The stage musical was transferred to Broadway in 2006. It recently closed (March 3rd) after 2619 performances and over 6 years of running on Broadway.

But Miss Travers was more than a children’s book author.  She was a brilliant essayist on all things mythical and mystical.  A collection of her spiritual essays have been published in a book entitled What The Bee Knows.

Most of the essays were first published in the journal Parabola, which was devoted to the scholarly exploration of myth and tradition. Miss Travers was a contributing editor of the journal.

parabola

The title essay of What The Bee Knows is filled with facts about bees in world mythology and about their importance to our ecosystems. Miss Travers shares many of the traditions followed among beekeepers, including the practice of telling the bees all the important news. It reads:

But this apprising of the bees, telling them, for all one knows, what they already know, is not the business merely of great ones. The bees are constantly being told. No beekeeper would fail to do it. For if they are not courteously kept informed of everything that happens, they will take umbrage, swarm, and fly away, or die of grief or resentment.

The woman knew what she was talking about.

Travers was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1977. She died in London in 1996.

“Perhaps we are born knowing the tales of our grandmothers and all their ancestral kin continually run in our blood repeating them endlessly, and the shock they give us when we first bear them is not of surprise but of recognition.”
― P.L. Travers, About the Sleeping Beauty

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.

Black Tea Cupcakes With Honey Buttercream Frosting

black tea cupcakes

Dr. Eva Crane was a proper Englishwoman, and would have liked these tea-flavored delicacies! Perfect to accompany a “cuppa”!

Yield:  18 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 cup  milk

3 tablespoons black tea (or the contents of 3 tea bags)

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins.

Warm the milk until near boiling on the stove or in the microwave. Cut open the tea bags and add the tea directly into the milk. Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the tea brewed milk, mixing until batter is uniform and smooth.

Transfer batter to prepared pans and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.

Honey Buttercream

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3 tablespoons honey

2 cups powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and honey until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and salt and continue mixing until the frosting comes together. If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Likewise, if the frosting is too stiff, add more honey (or a splash of milk) to thin it out. If the frosting is too sweet, add a pinch more salt until the desired sweetness is achieved.

Spread or pipe the honey buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes and serve.

Madame Marie’s Sensual French Honey Chocolate Mousse

I feel certain that Madame Marie Curie enjoyed this classic, sensual French dessert on more than one occasion.

Yield:  10 servings

Ingredients

1 pound good quality semisweet dark chocolate  (or white chocolate, if you prefer)
16 oz honey
3 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Combine chocolate and honey in a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave 1 minute at a time (or less) stirring after each time (When melting chocolate  in microwave, don’t do until it melts completely. While it is still holding its shape, stir until it’s completely melted). Let cool.

Beat egg whites with a stand mixer, slowly add granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the chocolate mixture.

Rinse out the mixer bowl, add the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip until stiff. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Chill in bowl or divide into bowls. Top with your choice of berries.

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Mary Todd Lincoln’s Honey, Almond And Vanilla Cake

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This is supposedly the cake that Mary Todd used to win Abe Lincoln’s heart. The original recipe didn’t call for honey, but it definitely improves the taste and texture of this rich pound cake.

Ingredients

1 cup almond flour

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)

1 cup honey

1 cup granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of baking soda

3/4 cup milk

6 eggs, separated (best when eggs are cold)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.

With an electric beater or stand mixer, cream butter ,honey and sugar until light yellow in color and fluffy.

Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda three times. Fold flour mix into creamed butter, honey and sugar, alternating with milk, until well blended. Stir in almond flour and beat well.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they have stiff, firm peaks. (Use egg yolks for another use  Beaters and bowl must be washed and dried thoroughly before whipping egg whites or they will not stiffen properly. Fold egg whites gently into batter with a rubber spatula. Add vanilla extract.

Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for one hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool for at least 20 minutes before inverting, then allow to completely cool before serving. Sift confectioners’ sugar on top.

Makes about 12 slices.

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!