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Honey, I'm Homemade: Sweet Treats from the Beehive across the Centuries and around the World Paperback – October 7, 2010
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I'm very fond of honey, and I particularly like to utilize it in baking, but I'm not especially proficient at "substituting" honey in recipes for other sweets. That's one reason why I'm glad to have read this cookbook - a good solid section is dedicated to the ways in which to substitute honey in traditional recipes without upsetting the balance of sweetness or moistness. The author, Berenbaum, writes smoothly and naturally about honey and her love affair with the sweet substance, and a good deal of the first part of this cookbook reads like a very interesting and informative study on honey and where it comes from.
I was a little disappointed, however, upon getting to the recipes themselves. The "sweet treats" provided here are almost all the standard "cookies, cakes, and breads" fare, and while the recipes all seem very nice and worthwhile (with some very interesting "heirloom" recipes and the history behind them sprinkled in), the "cookies, cakes, and breads" fields weren't exactly lacking in honey-inspired courses already. Most of all, I was disappointed to see that the cookbook has no pictures at all, and I'm afraid that after having experimented in the kitchen for years, I just no longer see the "point" in a picture-less cookbook - more often than not, it's too difficult to understand the instructional nuances without a finished picture to let you mentally backwards-engineer the preparation steps, and it's difficult to browse for recipes when you have to read each one thoroughly just to see what the end result might look like.
Overall, I think, if you have a desire to learn more about honey and how to naturally substitute it into recipes, there's a lot of helpful information here, along with some interesting (but picture-less) recipes. However, if you're just looking to satisfy a sweet tooth with some honey-inspired recipes, it might be more worthwhile to look for something with pictures that you can really browse through effectively.
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through NetGalley.
~ Ana Mardoll
Some of my Favorite recipes (there are many more):
3 egg whites
½ C honey
1 C graham cracker crumbs
½ C chopped pecans
Beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff. Gradually beat in honey, stir in
crumbs, and pecans. Drop dough by teaspoonful on well-greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 300 degrees for 8 minutes, or until set and delicately browned.
Honey Nut Brownies
Note: If the brownies will be eaten immediately, use a combination of ½ C honey
and ½ C brown sugar.
¼ C butter
½ C flour
2 oz bitter chocolate
½ t baking powder
1 C honey
1 C chopped nuts
2 eggs, beaten
Melt butter and chocolate together, then stir in honey (see Note). Add eggs and
stir to combine well. Sift flour and baking powder and stir into chocolate mixture.
Add nuts. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. Pack brownies away in jar or bread
box. Before serving, cut in strips about ½-inch wide and 2 inches long. Roll in
powdered sugar if desired.
First-Prize Honey Gingerbread
This is the first-prize recipe from the honey gingerbread category of the Honey
Culinary Competition at the 1934 State Fair.
1 C butter
3 C flour
½ C sugar
2 t baking soda
½ C honey
1 t cinnamon
1 C molasses
1 t cloves
3 eggs, beaten
2 t ginger
1 C buttermilk (or sour cream) pinch of salt
Cream sugar, honey, molasses, and butter. Add eggs, and milk, and mix well. Sift
together dry ingredients and add to creamed liquid ingredients, mixing until well
blended. Pour into a greased and floured 9 by 9-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees
for 30 minutes, or until center tests done.
Sopaipilla (Fried Puff-Bread)
1¾ C flour
2'3 C milk
2 t baking powder
2 C vegetable oil
1 T sugar honey
1 t salt cinnamon-sugar mixture
2 T shortening
(1 t cinnamon per 1 T sugar)
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry
blender or fork until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add milk, mixing just until dough
holds together in a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently about
1 minute, until smooth. Cover dough and let rest for 1 hour.
Roll dough into a rectangle with floured rolling pin until 1'16 to 1'8-inch thick. Cut
into 3-inch squares.
Heat oil in a saucepan to 370-380 degrees. Drop a few pieces of dough at a
time into the oil, turning at once so they will puff evenly. Turn back over and brown
both sides. Drain on absorbent paper towels. Serve hot, drizzled with honey and
sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Honorable Mentions: Apple Honey Crisp, Honey Devil's Food Cake, Rum Cake, Refrigerator Apple Pie
What I Liked: The different ways that you can use honey and the future of honey. I really enjoyed reading this cookbook
Who I Would Recommend it to: Anyone who loves honey and/or anyone who likes cooking with different ingredients.
Author Website: University of Illinois Press
Received From: NetGalley