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High Holidays Feature (1): Baking with Variety of Honeys Adds Sweetness to the New Year

July 29, 1996
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

To symbolize the wish that tomorrow’s life will be sweeter, the Rosh Hashanah dinner starts and ends with sweet foods.

The traditional challah, baked in a round loaf, often studded with raisins, is blessed, sliced and served with slices of apple.

Both are dipped in honey before eating.

Recipes for cakes and other sweets made with honey are as ancient as the Bible and are handed down from one generation to another.

But I would like you to try some of these honey-sweetened recipes.

There are about 200 kinds of honey, each with a distinct flavor.

The color of honey varies, too, from off-white to amber. The darker the honey, the stronger the flavor. For easy measuring, lightly coat your measuring cup or spoons with vegetable cooking spray or oil. One 12-ounce jar of honey measures one cup.

Honey-Nut Chiffon Cake

7 eggs separated, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup apple juice

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl with electric mixer at high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until sugar is dissolved and whites stand in stiff glossy peaks.

In another large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat egg yolks, flour and remaining ingredients except walnuts until blended, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. Stir in chopped walnuts. Gently fold flour mixture into beaten egg whites until blended.

Pour batter into ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly tapped with fingers. Invert cake in pan on funnel or bottle. Cool completely in pan. Carefully loosen cake from pan with metal spatula. Place on cake plate.

Honey Fruit Cake

3 cups sifted flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups honey

1 1/2 cups orange juice

1/2 cup blanched chopped almonds

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup white raisins

1/2 cup snipped apricots

slivered almonds to garnish (1/4 cup)

In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.

In another bowl, mix together the honey, orange juice, nuts and fruits.

Add the orange juice-honey mixture to the flour mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Oil well or vegetable spray two 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pans. Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans.

Sprinkle the slivered almonds on top of the batter.

Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cakes on a rack. Loosen sides with a metal spatula. Wrap cakes in foil for 24 hours before serving.

Legendary Honey Cake

5 large eggs, separated, whites at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (double-acting)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup strongly flavored honey (preferably buckwheat)

1/4 cup double strength brewed coffee

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon rind

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon whiskey

3 tablespoons sliced almonds

In a large bowl with an electric beater, beat the yolks with the sugar for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and pale and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together honey and warm coffee and whisk into the yolk mixture gradually, along with the rind, lemon juice and whiskey.

Fold in the flour mixture until just combined. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they just form stiff peaks. Stir about one-quarter of the whites into the flour mixture, and then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Spread the almonds on the bottom of an oiled or sprayed 9-inch tube pan, pouring batter over them.

Bake the cake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes until golden and surface springs back when pressed lightly.

Honeyed Biscotti

3 egg whites

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey

2 cups flour

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/4 cup teaspoons ground anise

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

dash salt

2/3 cup finely snipped dried apricots

In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites and honey until well-blended. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, anise, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center. Add egg white mixture and apricots. Mix until dough is well-combined.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide dough in half and shape each half into a 12-inch x 2-inch log. Place logs about 6 inches apart on a baking sheet that has been sprayed and dusted with flour.

Bake in a 325-degree oven for about 40 minutes or until logs are golden brown. Reduce heat to 300 degrees.

Transfer logs to work surface and let cool 3 minutes. Using sharply serrated knife, slice each log diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Rearrange slices upright slightly apart on baking sheet.

Bake, for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp. Cool cookies on wire rack. Store in airtight container up to 3 weeks.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Honey Lemon Cookies

2 sticks margarine

1 cup honey

1 egg, separated

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup chopped almonds

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and add honey in a fine stream. Beat in egg yolk, lemon rind and lemon juice.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gradually stir into egg yolk mixture. Stir in almonds. Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

Shape dough into small balls and arrange on oiled or sprayed cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Brush lightly with beaten egg white. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Naomi Arbit, a syndicated food writer, is the co-author of seven cookbooks, a former cooking instructor and a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals. She lives in Bayside, Wisc.

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