Oct 27, 2014

Honey in Hand



With Rosh Hashanah just a few weeks away, you may be thinking of ways to add honey to your dishes. If you substitute honey for sugar in your favorite baked recipe here are a few tips to keep in mind:  
1-Reduce the other liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used. 
2-Add a half teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey.
3-Reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over browning.
4-A 12 ounce jar of honey is equal to a standard 1 cup measuring cup.

Honey cakes seem to be the more common choice for home bakers but in our family we prefer honey cookies. The children enjoy them all year but Rosh Hashanah would not be the same without them.
We also prefer easy-to-hold, neat cookies to crumbly cake when it comes to the younger generation. Most honey cookie recipes are “drop cookies.” They are made with a thick batter that is dropped by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet. The easiest way to do this is using a cookie scoop. This also ensures that every cookie is a uniform size and shape.


1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening or oil
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together honey, brown sugar, and shortening in your mixer. Beat in egg; then add flour sifted with baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Allow the batter to rest in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop drop batter onto a sheet pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a rack and remove from the pan. Store airtight or freeze.


Roll our cookies that use honey are a little more unusual but we found a tasty recipe if you prefer to roll your cookie dough instead of scooping.

3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
8 ounces or 2 sticks margarine, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Whisk until well blended.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the margarine and sugar on medium speed until well blended and slightly fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and the beater. Add the honey, egg, and vanilla. Continue mixing on medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough is well blended and comes together in moist clumps, 30 to 60 seconds.

Divide the dough roughly in half. On a piece of plastic wrap, shape each dough half into a smooth 5-inch disk. Wrap well in the plastic. Refrigerate until chilled and firm enough to roll out, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two or more cookie sheets with parchment or silpat liners. 

Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough on a floured work surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Dust with additional flour as needed. Cut your cookies with apple or shofar-shaped cutters. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart on the lined cookie sheets. Gather the scraps and gently press together. Re-roll and cut. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies’ edges are light-brown rim, 11 to 13 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for about 10 minutes and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

If anyone in your family is allergic to eggs you will want to try our next recipe. Shortbread cookies contain no eggs making them perfect for allergic children.

Try this twist on honey cookies—you’ll love the sweet-salty taste!

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup or 1 ½ sticks cold margarine, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. kosher salt

Spray a 9-1/2-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray.
In a food processor, briefly pulse the flour and sugar. Add the margarine and pulse until incorporated and the mixture is sandy and uniform. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan with your fingers. There will be some loose crumbs around the edges, but most of the dough should be solid and compact. Refrigerate until chilled, least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough evenly all over. Bake the shortbread until golden in the center, 40 to 45 minutes.
Heat the honey in the microwave until warm and liquid but not boiling, about 10 seconds. Pour the honey over the shortbread and spread with a pastry brush over the entire surface. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the honey. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 3 minutes more.

Transfer the pan to a rack and let the shortbread cool slightly, about 15 minutes. While still warm, remove the tart pan ring and cut the shortbread into 12 wedges with a sharp knife. Cool completely before serving or storing. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week.

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