Friday, December 30, 2011

Cauliflower Salad and Delicious Honey Oat Quick Bread

If you've been indulging a bit much over the holidays, here a few healthier dishes to help kick-start the new year!  The cauliflower salad offers a cheery burst of colors and the honey oat quick bread is just slightly sweet--it almost tastes like a yeast bread.  Together they make a nice, light meal.

Honey Cauliflower Chopped Salad for a Crowd
1 small head cauliflower, broken into small (1/4-1/2 inch pieces)
1 red pepper, in 1/4-1/2 inch dice
1 green pepper, in a 1/4-1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup black olives, sliced
Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed is nice)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (could substitute red wine vinegar or cider vinegar)
1/4-1/2 cup honey (I used amber, summer honey; spring honey would also be good)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Combine the vegetables, onion and olives in a bowl.  Place the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine.  (Start with 1/4 cup honey.)  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well.  Refrigerate for about an hour to let the flavors meld.  Taste and add more honey (or salt and pepper).  Can serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 8-10.

Honey Oat Quick Bread
This is adapted from an Eating Well recipe, which appeared in the January/February 2007 issue.  Check out the reviews at the link above.

2 tablespoons plus 1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
8 ounces yogurt (low fat is fine)
1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey (I used amber summer honey but fall honey would be lovely, too!)
3/4 cup low or nonfat milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in the middle position.  Lightly oil 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon oats in pan, covering bottom and, as best you can, sides.  Whisk the flours, baking powder, soda and salt together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat 1 cup of the oats, yogurt, egg, oil and honey, mixing well.  Stir in the milk.  Stir this into the flour, gently mixing until combined--taking care not to over-mix.  You want the batter to be combined so that everything is moist, but don't beat it.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth to the edges.  Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of oats on the top.  Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes until the loaf is very brown.  The top will crack. To test that it's done, insert a toothpick in the crack--if it comes out clean, it's ready!  Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes then loosen with a bread knife.  This is great toasted the next day! Makes 1 loaf--or about 12 1-inch slices.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Honey-Kissed Challah

This is a gorgeous loaf of bread that is surprisingly easy to make.  The hardest part is braiding the very soft dough.  Be sure to check out the link in the directions below for a great step-by-step guide to braiding challah.  This recipe is adapted from one in the 2010 Cooking Light Best Holiday Recipes edition.

3 tablespoons honey (I used amber summer honey)
1 cup warm water
pinch of saffron threads, crushed
1 package rapid-rise yeast
3 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 1/2-4 cups bread flour, divided
cornmeal (about a teaspoon)
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon water
1/4-1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Making the dough:
In the bowl of a standing mixer, stir honey and saffron into warm water and mix well until honey dissolves.  Sprinkle yeast over water and let sit for 5 minutes, until dissolved (and foamy).  Add butter, salt and egg and mix well with a whisk.  Add 3 cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Knead with the dough hook attachment on medium speed for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed until the dough begins to flap against the side of the bowl.  This will be a very soft dough, though smooth and elastic.  (You can also knead by hand, adding flour as needed.  If kneading by hand, knead for about 8 minutes.)

Three Risings:
With floured hands, form dough into a ball and place in a large bowl that's been lightly sprayed with cooking oil.  Cover and let rise in a warm place* until doubled in size -- about 40 minutes. Gently fold dough in on itself a few times and re-form into a ball.  Cover and let rise another 40 minutes until doubled again.  Again fold dough in on itself a few times and let sit for 15 minutes.   Preheat the oven to 375. (The third rising happens after you form the loaf--see below.)

*In the winter, when it's hard to find a warm, draft-free spot in our house, I place the rising bread dough in our oven, which has been slightly heated.  I turn the oven on to the lowest temperature--170--and let it heat for a few minutes.  I turn the oven off and place the covered bowl of dough in the center.  Another trick is to bring 1/2 cup of water to boiling in a microwave oven. Place the covered bowl of dough in the microwave along with the hot water.

Forming the loaf:
Divide dough into three equal pieces.  Form each into a rope about 18 inches long, with slightly tapered ends.  Dust a parchment-lined cookie sheet with the cornmeal.  Place the ropes on the parchment, overlapping each in the middle, then braid down each side. Tuck in the ends.  (For great braiding instructions, check out this link to Pinch My Salt.) 


Mix the egg yolk with the 1 teaspoon of water and lightly brush the whole loaf.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake in the 375 preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the loaf is a rich golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool on a wire rack.  This bread is best eaten the day it's made.  Makes about 12 1-inch slices.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Honey Pot Roast for Christmas (Eve) Dinner

This is pull-apart-with-a-fork tender pot roast, lightly sweetened with honey.  We'll be serving it for Christmas Eve dinner this year.  We got the chuck roast from McElhaney Family Farm in Hookstown--a wonderful source for locally raised beef!

I adapted this from the National Honey Board's recipe for Irish Honey Pot Roast.  We just fiddled a bit with it! :)  I made it a day ahead and will let the meat cool in its juices, so to speak.  I'll reheat it in a slow cooker on low for a few hours before serving.


1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 to 5 lb chuck roast
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup honey (I used summer amber honey)
1 cup apple cider (you could substitute ale)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut in in 2 x 1/2 inch pieces (approx.)
2 cups parsnips, peeled and cut like the carrots
2 cups leeks, well-cleaned and cut like the carrots
2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut in 2 inch chunks
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Salt and pepper the meat, coating thoroughly.  Dredge the meat in the flour.  Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high flame.  Sear the meat on all sides--letting brown very well on the two largest sides (about 5 minutes each side).  Gently heat the broth, cider and honey and stir well to thoroughly combine.  Add this to the Dutch oven along with the garlic and thyme.  Seal with aluminum foil and place the lid on top.  Roast for 1 1/2 hours.  Add the vegetables (they'll pile high on top--but not to worry, they'll cook down).  Seal again with foil, add the top and roast for another hour or so until the vegetables are soft and the meat is tender.  At this point, you can remove the vegetables to a serving dish and place the meat on top, spooning the broth over all.  If you'd like a thicker gravy, you can place the Dutch oven on the stove and bring it to a boil.  Combine about 1/4 cup flour, a bit of salt and pepper and 1/2 cup cold water in a jar with a lid and shake well.  Add the flour mixture to the boiling broth and stir until the gravy thickens.  Taste for seasoning and either pour the gravy over the meat and vegetables or serve on the side.

Make ahead:  Once the meat and vegetables have cooked, remove them from the Dutch oven, placing the meat in a slow cooker with the broth and the vegetables in another dish.  Cool and then refrigerate overnight.  About three hours before serving, remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.  Place the meat in the slow cooker and heat on low about two hours.  Add the vegetables about hour before serving (or cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until heated through).  This recipe serves between 8 and 10 people.

The National Board's recipe notes the whole thing can be made in a slow cooker:  Place the vegetables in the cooker, brown the roast and place it on top of the vegetables.  Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Honey Cashew Butter Cookies



Looking for a cookie to put out for Santa?  You could do worse than these honey cashew butter cookies, adapted from a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens 2011 Christmas Cookie book.

1/2 cup roasted cashew butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup summer (amber) honey
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4ths cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cashews (optional)

In a large bowl, beat cashew butter and butter until thoroughly blended and fluffy.  Add the sugar and honey and combine thoroughly.  Add the egg and mix well.  Stir in the vanilla extract and combine.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, baking powder and salt.  Add this to the cashew butter mixture, and mix to combine well.  Add the chopped cashews if using.  Cover and chill dough for about 30 minutes.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place them about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  (If you decide not to use parchment, no need to grease the cookie sheets.)  This is a very soft dough, so if after 30 minutes of chilling, it's still difficult to form into balls, add another 1/8th to 1/4th cup of flour.  Flatten the balls by making criss crosses with the tines of a fork dipped in flour.  Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom and taking care not to over-bake.  Let cool for about a minute on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.  Store at room temperature and tightly covered for up to five days, or wrap well and freeze for up to three months. Makes about 50 cookies



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Update on What's Missing from Commercial Honey?

The NPR food blog, "The Salt," offers another take on the "What's Missing from Commercial Honey?" story, noting that ultra-filtering (which many producers do to remove all particles--including pollen) is a common practice.  This doesn't mean that honey without pollen isn't honey; it does mean (at least from our perspective) that some of the good stuff that makes honey honey gets filtered out.  Large producers ultra-filter honey to slow the crystallization process. Honey that crystallizes quickly hasn't been filtered.

For more information on what's in honey, check out previous blog posts:  Sorting out honey terms and What exactly is honey?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What's Missing from Commercial Honey?

Take a listen to Living on Earth's broadcast, What's Missing from Commercial Honey?  It aired on 90.5 FM, (Essential Public Radio) on Sunday morning, December 4, 2011.

Professor Vaughn Bryant, of Texas A&M University, was asked by Food Safety News to test honey sold under various commercial names in the US and he found that 3/4ths of the honey tested did not contain pollen.  Click on the Food Safety News link above for the full story.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Celebrating Lawrenceville's Joy of Cookies Tour

In honor of Lawrenceville's Annual Joy of Cookies Tour this weekend, here's a recipe for honey almond biscotti to add to the cookie fest.  (Also see our previous post for some great honey ginger bread cookies!)  If you head to the Joy of Cookies Tour, be sure to check out The Gallery on 43rd Street.  Proprietor, Mary Coleman, offers a wonderful array of local artists' works and is selling our honey--highlighted in a recent I Heart Pittsburgh blog post!

Biscotti are difficult to pull off when honey is in the recipe because honey tends to soften baked goods, especially after a few days.  If you have a biscotti recipe that uses lots of sugar, it’s probably wise not to try to replace the sugar in that recipe with honey.  This recipe works well, though, and the flavor is fantastic.  You can also use this recipe as a base and experiment with other flavors. It’s adapted from Ann Harmon’s “Home Harmony” column in Bee Culture (June 1998).

HONEY ALMOND BISCOTTI
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup honey (basic summer honey works well)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons anise seeds (sounds like a lot but is perfect amount!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup slivered almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease one cookie sheet. Cream butter and honey until well-blended and light lemony color.  Add eggs one at a time and combine well.  Add vanilla and fully incorporate.

Whisk flour, cinnamon, anise, salt, baking powder and baking soda together and slowly add to batter.  Mix well.  Stir in almonds.

On a floured board, divide dough in half and form each half into 10x3x1 inch logs.  Place on cookie sheet, about 4 inches apart.  Bake 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Lower oven temp to 300 and cool logs for 5-10 minutes.  Slice on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices and place slice side down on cookie sheet.  Bake 10 minutes.  Flip cookies and bake 10 minutes more.  Cool completely on wire racks.  Store in a well-sealed tin.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best-Ever Honey Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

The honey in this recipe keeps the cookies nice and chewy, yet they also have enough structure to hold up to any decoration you pile on them.  We'll post photos we get another chance to bake them!

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup honey (summer honey works well here, but fall honey is also good)
1/4 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk first seven ingredients together (flour, soda, salt and spices).  Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and mix well.  Add honey & molasses and mix well.  Gradually add flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Refrigerate for about 1 hour. This makes a soft dough, which will need additional flour for rolling.  Roll out on floured surface to about 1/4" and cut into desired shapes. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  To make sure the cookies retain their fancy shapes, you can freeze them for 15 minutes before baking. (nb: Cookie testers Jeff & Laurie note this doesn't seem to make much difference.)  Bake 10-15 minutes, rotating pan half way through. The cookies should be nicely (but lightly) browned on the edges.   Let cool on cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring to cooling rack.  Cool completely before decorating.  Makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on how big your cookie cutters are.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Honey Orange Cranberry Relish

Most cranberry bags include a recipe for an easy, fresh orange cranberry relish, which has been a staple at our Thanksgiving table for many years. When we started keeping bees, we substituted the sugar for honey and haven't looked back.  This is best made at least one day ahead and can be made up to three days in advance.

1 large navel orange, well scrubbed (organic, if you can find it, since you'll use the whole orange)
1 12-oz bag cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 to 3/4 cup honey (I tend to use the summer amber honey for this, but any will do)
Optional spices:
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
a shake or two (about 1/2 teaspoon) cinnamon

Quarter the orange and remove any seeds.  Place the orange and the cranberries in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Stir in the honey, blending well.  Taste and the spices if you'd like.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Honey Dinner Rolls--Great for Thanksgiving!

As Thanksgiving approaches, I thought a few honey-based yeast roll recipes would be welcome.  Both of these recipes make light, fluffy soft-crusted pull-apart rolls.  For both, I use rapid-rise yeast.  If you are using regular yeast, the rise times may be a bit longer. You'll also want to "proof" the yeast before adding it.  Place it in 1/4 cup warm water just above body temp (about 100 degrees) and decrease the water in the recipe by 1/4 cup.   If you're having a lot of company, make both!


HONEY DINNER ROLLS
These rolls have just a hint of sweetness that should please the kids at your Thanksgiving meal.
3 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon for tops
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 oz (1 package) rapid (or quick) rise yeast

Heat the water in a pan until it just starts to steam--you want it hot to the touch, not burning.  Add the butter and honey and stir until dissolved. I


In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir the flour, salt and yeast to combine then slowly pour in the water, butter honey mixture and mix on medium-low speed until just combined.  Increase speed to medium and beat dough until it begins to flap against the side of the bowl--about 5 minutes.  You may need to add a bit more flour, though this will be a sticky dough.

Place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let sit until doubled in bulk.











Deflate dough and turn out on to a board.  Cut the dough into four pieces and then cut each piece into four





















Roll each piece into a ball and place in a greased 9 inch baking dish



Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise until double in size--about 45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.















Melt 1 tablespoon of butter, brush tops of dough and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.



















BUTTERMILK HONEY CLUSTER
This recipe results in a lovely round of golden brown rolls that look great in bread basket.  The crumb is a bit  more sturdy than the honey dinner rolls and the flavor has a bit of a tang.

1/4 oz (1 package) rapid (or quick) rising yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup very hot water
2 tablespoons honey (amber summer honey is great for this, though fall honey will also work)
1 3/4ths cups buttermilk, briefly warmed, just to take the chill off (don't scald!)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Combine the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or large food processor).  Dissolve the honey in the very hot tap water. Add the buttermilk to the water and stir to combine.  Turn on the mixer and slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture.  Mix on medium-low speed until dough forms and begins flapping on the side of the bowl--about 5 minutes.  Cover bowl.  Let sit in a warm spot for about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 9 inch round springform pan with some butter.  Deflate roll dough and divide into 12 pieces and roll each into a ball.  Place balls in pan--about 9 on the outside and 3 in the center.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour until doubled.  Whisk egg white with a bit of water and brush tops of rolls.  Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and bake until golden-brown--about 25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.









Thursday, October 27, 2011

Honey Corn Chowder

A delicious, slightly sweet soup that makes good use of late summer corn.
6 ears of corn (or about 3 cups of frozen corn)
4-6 Yukon gold potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 hot red pepper (like cayenne) or 1/2 teaspoon dried cayenne flakes (optional)
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water from cooking the corn
Water from cooking potatoes, if needed
1/2 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons summer honey
salt and pepper to taste
If using corn on the cob, cut kernels from the cob over a 2 quart sauce pan and scrape to be sure you get all of the lovely corn milk.  Cover with water and bring to a boil,, then simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving water.
Place potatoes in a large pot (this will be the soup pot) and cover with water.  Add about 1 teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are just done, about 10 minutes.  Drain, reserving potato water.
While potatoes are cooking, sauté pepper(s), onions and garlic until softened.  Add HALF of the corn and continue cooking until onions and corn begin to brown.  Puree this mixture in a food processor.
Add corn puree to the potatoes along with the vegetable broth and reserved corn.  Add reserved corn water and, if needed, potato water for a thinner soup.  You want it to be substantial, but still "soupy" (not like a stew).  Heat to just under a boil.  Stir in 1/2 cup half and half and the honey.  Slowly heat (but do not boil).  Check seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.  This makes about 8 cups of soup.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Local Apple Salad

During the fall, I make this just about every day to pack in my lunch.  This recipe is easily adapted to anything you might have on hand. I've added 1/2 cup of sliced grapes, a handful of raisins, a sprinkle of cinnamon. If I don't have walnuts, I'll use almonds.  For me, the key ingredients are the apples, vinegar and ginger.  The vinegar keeps the apples from turning brown, so you can make this salad ahead. It's easily doubled if you're making the salad for more than one person.

LOCAL APPLE SALAD FOR ONE
1 local, tart eating apples (McConnell's Farm Jonagolds are particularly good with this!). Core the apples (but don't peel) and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1  rib celery, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 tablespoons of honey (I use fall honey for this)
Toss the vinegar with the chopped apple.  Toss in the celery and walnuts, add the ginger, salt and olive oil and mix to combine.  Drizzle the honey over and mix to combine.This makes about 1 cup of salad and is easily doubled if you're making it for two.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Honey-n-Halloween Popcorn Treats!

Here's a bevy of honey popcorn snacks--some sweeter than others!

HONEYED POPCORN (with variations!)
Of the three recipes in this post, this one is the least sweet, has the fewest calories, and is easiest to make.  It's a little like kettle corn--just a kiss of sweet saltiness, which makes it a great snack.  The finished product can be a bit sticky, so it's wise to serve this with lots of napkins (or even individual bowls for each nosher).  If this is the only snack you're serving, this recipe makes enough for about two people.  If you're serving other snacks, this amount should satisfy four eaters. The recipe is easily doubled.

8 cups air-popped pop corn, freshly popped (about 1/2 cup unpopped)
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons honey (amber summer honey works well here)
kosher salt for sprinkling on top

Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the honey, mixing well.  As soon as the popcorn finishes popping, pour on the butter/honey mixture and toss well.  Sprinkle on kosher salt to taste.  Serve immediately!

Variations:

  • To emphasize the sweetness, add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract when you melt the butter.
  • For a more savory dish, sprinkle on 1/4 teaspoon cumin or paprika when you add the salt.
  • Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese when you add the salt.
  • Try toasting 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds and sprinkling them on when you add the salt.



POPCORN BALLS
This recipe requires a candy thermometer; you want the honey/molasses mixture to reach the "hard crack" stage so that will harden and keep the popcorn ball together.
8 cups freshly popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup unpopped)
1/2 cup amber summer honey
1/2 cup molasses)
1 1/2 cups butter (three sticks)
Salt to taste
Place the honey and molasses in a pan and cook until it reaches 270 degrees.  Stir in the butter and stir until it melts entirely.  Add a pinch of salt.  Slowly pour the syrup over the popcorn, stirring with a wooden spoon and being sure that all of the popcorn is coated.  Grease your hands and lightly shape the popcorn into balls and set on wax paper to harden.  Should make about 16 popcorn balls, depending on how large you make them.  

HONEY-GLAZED POPCORN
I picked this recipe up at the Western Pennsylvania Herb Society's recent bees and blooms event, held at the Fern Hollow Nature Center in Sewickley.  It's very sweet (and very good!)--much like caramel corn.

3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup honey (fall honey is particularly good with this)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 quarts popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Melt the butter and stir in the honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Put popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl or pan.  Pour syrup over all and toss to mix well. Turn out on to two greased 15 x 10 baking pans (line them with aluminum foil for easier clean up).  Bake about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cool completely and then break into bite-sized pieces.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Jennie's Honey Blueberry Cake (with photos!)


Jennie's Honey Blueberry Cake
I adapted this recipe from one that uses white sugar.  It makes a very delicate cake when it first comes out of the oven, which ripens into almost a pound cake consistency after a day or two. This is not a very sweet cake, though the flavors intensify a bit if you wait for a day. This cake can be baked in a  9x5 loaf pan, but I find when baking with honey that a spring form tube pan works especially well.  The center hole reduces the baking time needed and lessens the chance that the honey in the recipe will scorch and burn the crust. The recipe in a more printable form follows the photos along with some variations to try.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream 1/2 softened unsalted butter with 1/2 cup summer (amber) honey.

Add two eggs, combining well after each addition.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a separate bowl, whisk 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add 1/3 of the flour to the butter mixture and combine well.  Add 1/4 cup milk and combine well. Add another 1/3 of the flour, then another 1/4 cup of milk and the final 1/3 flour, combining well after each addition.
fold in 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)





Spoon batter into greased spring form tube pan

Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes

Cake is done when it's golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean
Voila!

JENNIE'S HONEY BLUEBERRY CAKE
Oven:  325 degrees; grease a 9 inch spring form tube pan*

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup summer (amber) honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Cream butter and honey until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.  In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.  Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Stir well after each addition.  Fold in blueberries.  Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake about 45 minutes, until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool, remove from pan and slice.  Cake keeps if well wrapped. The flavors strengthen after a day. *If you don't have a spring form tube pan, you can use a 9x5 loaf pan instead.  Hope you enjoy!

VARIATIONS:
MUCHO Blueberry Honey Blueberry Cake:  You can up the amount of blueberries to 2 cups, though the cake will need to be eaten with a fork! :)

Lemon Honey Blueberry Cake:  Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind.  You can also ditch the vanilla extract for 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.  If you want a sweeter cake, make a glaze of 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 4 tablespoons honey.  Right when the cake comes out of the oven, prick in several times with a toothpick and pour the glaze over the cake.  Let cool.  This will be a bit sticky, so it's also best eaten with a fork!

Honey Blueberry Nut Cake: Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds when you add the blueberries.





Monday, October 3, 2011

"A Bee's Experience" Art Show in Lawrenceville


WildCard in Lawrenceville is hosting a group art show featuring the paper cut work of Kathryn Carr, Bec Young, and Stacey Malasky.  The opening is Friday, October 7 from 6 to 9 and the show runs until Nov. 13. For more info, check out the Pittsburgh Art Blog.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Local Media Features Honey! (and recipes)

Two recent articles in local media highlight area honey.  Check out Kate Chynoweth's article in Pittsburgh Magazine, which features Master Beekeeper, Steve Repasky;  a nice discussion of local honey varieties; and a great recipe for honey goat cheese spread with Fuji apples.

And in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, last week,  Bob Batz offers some wonderful apples and honey recipes, just in time for Rosh Hashana.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Honey Date Bread--Great for Lunches!

Melissa Clark's "A Good Appetite" column in the New York Times is often a source of great recipe ideas.  In the link above, she offers some great sandwich suggestions for pack-able lunches and includes a recipe for Whole-Wheat Date Bread.  I adapted it, using a bit more honey and a little less olive oil.  The texture is a bit grainy, but if you wait a day and then slather a slice with cream cheese...well, it's to die for!  I generally bake quick breads in a 9 inch x 2 inch tube pan, which seems to help with the problem of over-baked tops before the center sets.

Whole-Wheat Date Bread
1/2 cup white sugar (or brown sugar)
2/3 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons summer honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup sliced, pitted dates

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan (or a 9 inch x 2 inch tube pan).  Whisk the sugar, yogurt, honey and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Add the eggs, one at a time an mix well.  In a separate bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, soda and salt.  Add to the sugar/yogurt mixture and combine just until there are no more traces of flour.  Fold in the olive oil and then the dates.  Pour into prepared pan and bake about 50-55 minutes if using a loaf pan (or 40-45 minutes if using a tube pan).  Check halfway through and tent with tinfoil if crust becomes too brown.  Let rest for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Melissa Clark suggests using this bread to make a sandwich of cream cheese and sliced grapes or cream cheese and black olives.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Honey-as-Seasoning for Fall Harvest Bounty!

Back-to-school means were slacking on our blog posts, folks.  My apologies to those who have a hankering for honey recipes and need more ideas!

In these two recipes, the honey acts almost like a seasoning, rather than a main ingredient.

Peaches, Figs, Maytag Blue Cheese & Honey
Our dear friends, Jeff and Laurie, made time in the midst of canning tomatoes to feed me dinner last week. They asked me to bring a seasonal fruit side dish or dessert, and this is what I made.  I would work as a nice "first course," side dish, or--as we used it--dessert. It received rave reviews from Jeff, Laurie and bonus guests, Beth and Steve, who stopped by on their way home from a trip to Chicago.

Two, large-ish fresh peaches, peeled. (McConnell's Farm peaches are amazing!)
Four fresh figs, washed
4 oz Maytag blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
2-4 tablespoons summer honey
Just before serving, slice the peaches into 1/2 inch wedges and place in a bowl.  Cut off the stem of the figs, and quarter or "sixth," and add to bowl, and gently toss.  Crumble blue cheese over the fruit.  Add almonds and drizzle honey over top.  Gently toss and serve.  Serves 5-6 (but you might want to add another peach if you're serving six).

Baked Tomato & Cheddar Cheese Pasta
Jeff and Laurie roast their tomatoes before canning them, and gave me the idea for this casserole.  I'll confess that it doesn't look very pretty--it's definitely for a week-night family meal.  Yet it has a pleasing, comfort-food flavor and is a great use of end-of-the-season plum tomatoes.
6-8 medium fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and diced (you could use a 14-oz can of whole tomatoes)
1/2 cup diced sweet onion (like Vidalia)
4 oz sharp yellow cheddar cheese, diced in 1/2 inch dice
2 oz sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 pound dry pasta  (I used medium shells, you could use any smaller size cut pasta)
2 tablespoons summer honey
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (you could substitute fresh oregano or basil)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a casserole or 8x8 square baking pan.  Boil pasta in salted water for about 4 or 5 minutes less than the package directs.  The pasta should be pliable, but not quite al dente, so it will soak up the tomato juices.  Place the tomatoes, onions, diced cheese & pasta in casserole and toss to combine.  Stir in honey, thyme, salt & pepper. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake for about 30 minutes. The cheese should be thoroughly melted in to the dish and it should be bubbling. Let sit for 10 minutes so that the pasta absorbs the cheesy-tomato-y juices.  Serves 4.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Healthy--and Delicious!--Back-to-School Granola Bars: Two Versions

These two super-easy recipes are adapted from Honey for Health and Beauty, which I reviewed in a previous post (click on the link for the review).  They both are takes on granola bars.  The first is a classic, chewy-crunchy bar without flour or eggs.  The second is a bit more cookie-like, and softer but still very much in the granola bar family.  Even though the Apricot Honey Oat Bars are softer, they're a bit less sweet and so my bet is that kids will prefer the classic Honey Granola Bar recipe.

Honey Granola Bars 
(In Honey for Health and Beauty, the recipe is called "Pack-Along Snack Bars.")
This recipe is not only easy, it's also easy to adapt.  Add 1/2 a cup of raisins, currants or other chopped, dried fruits.  Use walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts or sunflowers instead of (or in addition to!) almonds.  Toss in a handful of dark chocolate chips when you pull the granola out of the oven if you want to make it extra "healthy."  :)

3 cups uncooked rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup flaked coconut (I used unsweetened, but sweetened would work, too)
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup almonds (I used 1/2 cup almonds and 1/2 cup walnuts)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts, cinnamon and salt.  In a separate bowl, blend oil, honey and vanilla, mixing well.  Stir honey mixture into dry ingredients and stir well to be sure the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated with the honey mixture.  Spread onto a 9x13 inch pan (no need to grease).  Bake, stirring at 10 minute, 20 minute, 25 minute and 30 minute marks for a total of 35 minutes.  Line a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan with aluminium foil and then grease the foil.  Press hot mixture into the jelly roll pan, pressing it firmly into the pan using a rolling pin.  (It will seem like the mixture won't fit at first, but does.  You also might question whether it will all hold together once it cools, but it does that, too!)  Cool and cut into squares.  Makes about 48, depending on how big you cut them.

Apricot Honey Oat Bars
You can make a super-lean version of these bars (suggestions are in parentheses).  Like the recipe above, this one is also easily adapted to ingredients you have on hand.  About 1/2 cup of nuts would be a nice addition, as would chocolate chips.  Swap out the dried apricots for another dried fruit--or use a mixture. Dried dates would be really good.  The apricot flavor dominates here, so whatever fruit you use will flavor these bars.

1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt (or any plain yogurt--it's okay to use non-fat)
1 egg (or 2 egg whites), lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons butter, melted (or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.  Pulse dried apricots in a food processor until finely chopped (or chop by hand).  Add the apricots, oats, wheat germ, flour, salt & cinnamon to a large bowl and toss to combine.  In a smaller separate bowl, stir the honey and yogurt together.  Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine well.  Mix in the melted butter, stirring well.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and  mix well.  Place in the prepared pan, spreading the mixture to fill in the corners and sides. Bake about 25 minutes until edges are brown and the center is firm.  Cool and cut into 2-inch squares.  Makes 15-20 bars.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Western PA + Fall Wildflowers + Honeybees =Unique Fall Honey!

Western PA's beautiful late summer- and early fall-blooming wildflowers are one-third of the equation that adds up to the dark, rich fall honey that is the unique flavor of our region. Another third is, of course, the honeybee's tireless labor. She and her sisters turn the dark nectar of these lovely fall blossoms into a delicious expression of Western Pennsylvania!
Ironweed photo by B. Zuberbuhler

Ah, but what's the final third, you ask?  It's the unique climate and terrain of this area.  In warmer regions of the US, honey production ends by mid-summer.Western Pennsylvania's wet and chilly climate and hilly terrain combine to create a unique setting that often enables our honeybees to eke out a fall honey crop. Some years, the fall honey harvest can be small (and even non-existent), so it's not wise for beekeepers (or honey lovers) to count their fall honey before it's made.  But when fall honey flows, nothing is sweeter!
Japanese Knotweed photo by B. Zuberbuhler

Curled leaved mint; Photo by B. Zuberbuhler


















Golden Rod Photo by B. Zuberbuhler









These photos, from Wildflowers of Western Pennsylvania, is the labor of love of Bob Zuberbuhler, a retired pediatric cardiologist, hobby photographer and wildflower aficionado. He's posted beautiful photos of area wildflowers as well as useful information for identifying an unusual and unknown bloom. Check it out!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Honey Roasted Eggplant Caponata

If you're like us, just about now, you have a back up of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes and have probably started to tire of ratatouille.  Try this!  It's almost like an eggplant relish, with tart-but-sweet flavors that go well with grilled meats or, on its own as a salad.  We've even used this as a bruschetta topping on some toasted baguette slices.  The eggplant needs to sit for about 2 hours, so this recipe takes some advanced planning.

Honey Roasted Eggplant Caponata
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
olive oil (about 3 or 4 tablespoons)
1 medium zucchini (or summer squash), cut in 1/2 in dice
1 large sweet onion, cut in 1/2 in dice
2 large (or 4 small) fresh plum tomatoes, peeled if you like, and diced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
salt and pepper

Place the eggplant in a strainer. Sprinkle with the salt and toss to coat thoroughly.  Place strainer over a bowl and let sit for 2 hours.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse the eggplant well.  Rinse it again for good measure.  Squeeze out as much water from it as you can.
Coat the bottom of a roasting pan (or cookie sheet with a lip) with oil.  Place the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and capers in a bowl and toss together.  Add the vinegar and 1-2 more tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat again.  Spread out in an even layer on the roasting pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and roast for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are very soft and the liquid is almost evaporated.  Some of the veggies will brown, which is good!  Cool for about 10-15 minutes, then drizzle on the honey, starting with 1/8th cup then taste.  Add more honey to suit your palate.  You can serve this at room temperature or chilled.  Makes about 6 1/2 cup servings.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Emerging Worker Bee: The Life of a Tireless Worker!

In just about the center of the photo below, you can see a young worker bee almost fully emerged from her cell.  At the top center, you can see a worker bee has just chewed through the beeswax on her cell and will soon be joining her emerging sister.  Shortly after a worker bee emerges, she gets right to work.  Her first task usually is cleaning out her cell! 

Can you find the emerging bee in middle of cell?  Click on the photo to enlarge
As the worker bee ages, she progresses through a series of responsibilities that support the colony's life.  She begins by feeding and tending the brood (the eggs and larva) that will become the next generation workforce. After a few days, she'll graduate to taking nectar from foraging workers and evaporating it into honey.  If needed, she'll secrete beeswax and begin to build honeycomb.  As she ages, she'll progress to becoming an undertaker, removing any dead or ill bees from the hive.  After about three weeks of her six-week lifespan, she'll advance to becoming a guard bee, charged with keeping out any interlopers that threaten the colony (like wasps, skunks or humans!).  In the last two weeks of her short life, she's promoted to forager, and tirelessly brings back nectar, pollen and water for her colony. In fact, many worker bees literally die of exhaustion in their effort to help their colonies thrive. The National Honey Board claims that one worker bee produces about 1/12th a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime, which gives you as sense of just how valuable honey is!


Local Goodness: Local Gem! (with link to Peaches & Honey Pizza)

Local Goodness founder, Rhonda Schuldt, is a delightful guide to area farmers' markets, CSAs, specialty foods and restaurants.  She's a passionate supporter of the goodness we grow around us and an inventive chef and her site offers many links to local food sources in the area.  She also hosts a regular segment on KDKA TV where she shows us what we can do with the great local bounty. .

In August, Rhonda's KDKA segment demonstrated making pizza on a grill, including....a great peaches and honey pizza!  Click on the link for that recipe (and many more!).

At the Local Goodness site, also check out Morgan's Moments, which offers a look at local eating from a child's perspective!

Thanks for all the support for local goodness, Rhonda!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zucchini Honey Cupcakes

Having trouble keeping ahead of your zucchini production?  If a few of those zukes have gotten a little large, here's a great way to use the surplus.  These cupcakes are moist and delicate, with the added benefit of using olive oil instead of butter. They don't even need frosting.  I've include a frosting recipe here in case you can't eat a cupcake without it.  They're adapted from a recipe in the July 2006 issue of Gourmet.  I sure do miss that magazine!
Zucchini Honey Cupcakes
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped (1 and 3/4ths ounce)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (or other summer squash)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
3/4 cup honey (I used our summer honey)
3/4 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tins with papers (you'll need 18).
In a food processor, pulse the crystallized ginger a few times to finely chop--don't overdo this, or you'll have ginger mush.  Add the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and powder and pulse until combined.

In a bowl, combine the zucchini, ginger, orange zest, honey, olive oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to thoroughly.Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Fill paper liners with batter about 3/4ths full and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean--about 20 minutes.  Cool completely before frosting.

CREAM CHEESE & HONEY FROSTING
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 to 1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
Beat together using an electric mixer until the frosting is fluffy. Add more honey if needed to get the consistency you want.  (You can add a little confectioners sugar or butter if necessary, too.)  Frost the tops of the cupcakes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cooling Chilled Soups (and Robert's Blueberry Blast)

A cold soup on a hot day can revive even the most wilted diner. When it's too hot to cook, pair the carrot, mango or cucumber soups with fresh tomato/feta/basil salad and some crusty bread or crackers.  The berry soup or blueberry blast make great hot-weather desserts!

Cold Carrot Honey Soup 
I served this as a first course for my niece Alison's wedding shower a few years ago.  It now makes a regular appearance at our table at least a few times during the summer. 
1 lb carrots scraped & chopped in a 1/2 inch dice
1 med. onion, chopped in a 1/2 inch dice
1/4 tsp. each: ground cumin, coriander & paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 cup vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP summer honey
Place ingredients in saucepan & simmer until carrots are soft.  Cool.  Blend until smooth & chill for a few hours before serving.  Nice garnish options (and or all):  a dollop of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey, a pinch of lemon zest.  Makes 4 cups.  

Cold Curried Mango Soup
This makes a gorgeous, bright yellow soup with just the slightest hint of spicy heat.  You can ramp up the spiciness a bit by adding more curry (or a dash of cayenne pepper). 
1 large mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt--low fat is fine)
1 1/2 cups skim milk 
2 tablespoons summer honey
1 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
Pinch of salt to taste.
Place the ingredients in a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth.  Chill for at least two hours.  Makes about 3 cups. 

Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup
This recipe is adapted from Mollie Katzen's classic Moosewood Cookbook (rev. edition).  It's one of the few vegetarian cookbooks I own that I still use frequently.  Her recipes are simple and nearly all of them result in great tasting dishes. This is one of the most refreshing cold soups you can make!
4 cups peeled, seeded and grated cucumber
2 cups water
2 cups yogurt
salt to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly minced dill
2 tablespoons honey
Garnish with chopped mint and chives
Combine all of the ingredients and stir until well-blended.  Chill until very cold--at least a few hours.  Makes 6 cups.

Chilled Berry Soup
Another great chilled soup recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook. It's like dessert in a soup bowl!
3 cups orange juice
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
3 cups buttermilk (can use yogurt instead)
2 tablespoons summer honey
2-3 cups of berries:  strawberries (should be sliced), raspberries, blackberries and/or blueberries
Dash of cinnamon
Place juices, buttermilk (or yogurt) and honey in a blender and blend well.  Add 1/2 cup of berries to blender and blend until smooth.  Cover and chill until very cold.  Place remaining berries in bowls (about 1/2 cup in each bowl) and pour soup on top.  Dust with cinnamon.  Makes about 6 cups.

Robert's Blueberry Blast 
We must have about 40 cups of blueberries stashed in our freezer right now. They won't be there long, though, because we're making these blasts almost every day.  I'm an ice cream junkie and these taste just like milkshakes to me!
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
1 cup frozen blueberries (you could use frozen strawberries, peaches, or raspberries)
1-2 tablespoons honey
Blend all in a blender and pour in a glass.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Do Bees Keep Cool?

The pond at SteffesWood Apiary
Honey bees keep cool just like the rest of us:  they go swimming!  Well...not exactly. But they do head for water.  That's why beekeepers need to have a good source of water near by (and why honeybees can sometimes become a nuisance at a backyard pool).  We have a small pond at the apiary and on a hot day like today, the bees use it to gather water to take back to the colony.  Once inside, they'll sprinkle the water around and then flap their wings to evaporate it.  It's their form of air conditioning!

Close-up of bees on the stone ledge by the pond.

Bee on a lily pad at the pond.


Bees can quickly get water logged, so they like to hang out on stone ledges or lily pads (or sticks or leaves) where they can easily lap up the water and not drown.




When it's really hot like today, then many of the bees will "beard" on the front of the colony to help keep the temperatures inside cooler.  And how cool is the colony?  About 94 or 95 degrees Fahrenheit--near the temperature of normal human body.  Whether it's below freezing or close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the bees maintain a fairly constant temperature in the hive!
close up of bearding
Bees bearding in front of two hives.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zorra's Favorite Honey Training Treats!

Meet Zorra, the latest addition to SteffesWood Apiary!  She's an 8-month-old mix (fox terrier? English pointer? If you have any ideas, let us know!).  We were thrilled to adopt from a wonderful group called Give2Live Rescue based in Ambridge.  She's as sweet as honey!  When she came to live with us, she was already house trained and knew how to  "sit."  She's learning other commands now and she loves both of these honey training treats. They're so much better (and cheaper!) than store-bought treats and they make training a breeze.  Zorra learned "down" in just a few minutes.  We're still working on, "Come, Zorra!" but are hoping that, with these treats close by, she'll turn and come running on a dime!

There isn't clear advice about whether honey is safe for puppies, so it's probably wise not to give a puppy pure honey, at least for the first six months.  Since these treats are baked, that should kill any botulism spores that would cause troubles.

Zorra's Favorite Peanut Butter Oatmeal Honey Training Treats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whirl all in a food processor until blended then add water--a few tablespoons at a time--just until it holds together.  Roll out on a well-floured board and cut into desired shapes.  Bake for 15 minutes then flip and bake for another 15 minutes.  Cool thoroughly.

Zorra's Favorite Honey Carrot Training Treats
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup powdered skim milk
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 generous tablespoons honey
3/4 cup broth (I used chicken broth, but any will do)
1 egg
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, powdered milk and carrots.  In a smaller bowl (or measuring cup), stir the broth, honey and egg, mixing well.  Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and mix to combine.  Knead the dough for about a minute, making sure everything is well-combined.  Cut dough in half and roll out one half on a well-floured board to about 1/2 inch thickness.







Using a pizza cutter  (or a knife) cut into small, 1/2 inch squares.  If you want to get fancy-schmancy, you can use cookie cutters.  I'm using these for training treats, so I didn't want to make them too big.









Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, spreading out so that they don't touch and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring after about 15 minutes of baking.  Repeat with other half of dough.  They are a little chewy (which works well for training).  If you'd like a crunchier dog biscuit, then turn off the oven after 30 minutes and leave them in for 3-5 hours.


Let them cool then test them out!

Zorra sitting nicely, waiting for a treat.
Zorra licking her lips after learning "down" and getting a treat!