Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Bee's Knees

Honey. It's the single reason I don't want to plan a mass attack on the entire bee population. That and, oh yeah, pollination. Honey serves many purposes, other than being delicious (which is obviously its main purpose). Unlike sugar, it contains antioxidants and vitamins, is unrefined and natural. It's also lower in calories and won't raise your blood sugar as quickly! It's perfect for sore throats and oh so delicious in your tea.

There are so many places you can use honey in your life that you may have never even considered. Try replacing jelly with honey for a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Your life will change forever. You can easily substitute honey for sugar in lots of recipes when baking. Here's how:

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 actually sweeter than sugar).

2. Since products with honey brown faster, lower the baking temperature 25 degrees and watch your time carefully.

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

4. In baked goods, 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.

Finally, here's something you've probably never tried. Honey ice cream! If you love honey like I do, this will become a popular recipe, since it's not something you can commonly find at supermarkets and ice cream shops. It's really worth investing in an ice cream maker if you don't already have one. You can buy one for about $50 (this is the updated version of the one I have) and once you've tried homemade ice cream you won't go back!

Honey Granola Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
(From The Ultimate Ice Cream Book)

1/2 cup mild honey (I used wildflower honey, but you can try clover, orange blossom, etc. Each will contribute a unique flavor)
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup granola

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the honey with the egg yolks until thickened and pale yellow. Set aside.

Bring the milk to a simmer (but not boil) in a heavy medium saucepan. Slowly beat the hot milk into the eggs and honey. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Whisk constantly until the custard thickens slightly, making sure it doesn't come to a boil or else the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour the hot honey custard through a strainer into a large clean bowl or measuring cup (this will make it easier to pour later). Let the custard cool slightly, then stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in your ice cream machine. When the ice cream is semi-frozen (about 5 minutes before you plan to turn it off), add 1 cup of granola to the machine and allow it to mix into the ice cream. When finished, the ice cream will be soft, but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Keep in mind that smaller bits of granola (you know, those oats that have strayed from the pack) will not stay as crunchy in the ice cream after the first day (but it will still taste delicious). You can either use slightly bigger clumps of granola or just eat all of it in one day!! Viva la honey :o)


Anonymous said...

i must try this!! -jes

SimplyForties said...

This looks delicious. I'm going to try it! Thanks for posting.

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