Honey is plentiful around The Orange Bee abode. Assorted jars sit on the kitchen counters, more than a couple of dozen jars are stored in a rigged up “warm” refrigerator in the barn, and full frames fill the hives out in the apiary. You might think that I would take honey for granted. Quite the contrary – I value every drop of the precious sweet, amber-colored liquid. Just ask my man, Dan. He tends to be a bit messy when pouring honey onto his biscuits so to prevent his suffering from my whining about the wasted drops of honey I gave him his own personal plastic “honey bear” to easily get the honey from point A to point B without any spillage. Now we are both happier at the breakfast table.
Honey is a key ingredient in many recipes around here too. I encourage you to cook with honey. Add it to your baked goods, salad dressings, winter veggies such as squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes, or stir it into your tea or coffee. Honey bees work very hard to make this amazing food. I think daily about how hard they work and how miraculous they are. If you are a honey lover please be mindful of the toil of a honey bee. Respect bees and their surroundings. Help honey bees survive by keeping a pesticide free yard, planting flowers, bushes and trees that attract bees for pollination, and support your local farmers.
Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite recipes using honey as well as some photos from this years honey harvest. Remember honey is good for digestion, burns and scrapes, promotes healthy and smooth skin, and works wonders for allergies. As Winnie the Pooh says, “The only reason for being a bee that I know of is to make honey…. And the only reason for making honey, is so as I can eat it.”
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons mild honey
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Garnish: small rosemary sprigs
Special equipment: parchment paper
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and rosemary in a bowl.
Mix together butter, honey, and confectioners sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at low-speed, then add flour mixture and mix until dough resembles a coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it just comes together, about 8 times. Halve dough and form each half into a 5-inch disk.
Roll out 1 disk (keep remaining dough at room temperature) between 2 sheets of parchment into a 9-inch round (trim as necessary). Remove top sheet of parchment and transfer dough on bottom sheet of parchment to a baking sheet. Score dough into 8 wedges by pricking dotted lines with a fork, then mark edges decoratively. Arrange rosemary sprigs (if using) decoratively on top of dough, pressing lightly to help adhere, and sprinkle dough with 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar.
Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Slide shortbread on parchment to a rack and cool 5 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a cutting board and cut along score marks with a large heavy knife.
1 1/2 quarts water
5 cups thinly sliced carrots
3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. honey (fresh and local if possible)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper