Make Valentine’s Day Special with Honey

By: Ann Harman

February is a strange month. It is the shortest one but it has quite a few days for observances. One of my favorites is the second of February, Groundhog Day. Silly? Yes. But we need a few silly things in our lives. Chinese New Year is celebrated in several cities around the country. Mardi Gras does vary between February and March, but in 2015 it is in February. All the Presidents of the U.S. are honored on President’s Day. But the most delicious February celebration is Valentine’s Day. It is a day to celebrate with candy, chocolate, hearts and flowers. (I can’t think of anything appropriate for a Groundhog Day celebration.) Since you want to enjoy the Valentine treats on the day itself, the time to do all the cooking and baking is the one or two days before. Homemade treats with honey make Valentine’s Day special.

Mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, brothers and sisters and special friends are all looking forward to a box of chocolates. Surprise someone! You could make these brownies as your special Valentine’s Day gift.

½ cup butter or margarine
2 one-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup honey
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Melt the butter, chocolate and salt together in a saucepan over very low heat. Remove from the stove and stir in the vanilla. Then blend in the honey, flour and baking powder. Add the eggs and beat well with electric mixer. Stir in the coarsely chopped walnuts. Pour into a greased 9X9X2-inch pan and bake in a 325°F oven for about 35 minutes or until done in the center. Remove from the oven and allow the brownies to cool for 15 minutes before marking into squares. Makes 16 delicious Fudgy Brownies.
Joy With Honey
Doris Mech

Children frequently like treats with peanut butter so make some of these crispy squares for them. They are quick to make. If you line the pan with cooking parchment the squares will be easy to remove.

¾ cup honey
½ cup peanut butter
4 cups rice krispie cereal

In a saucepan, heat honey until bubbly. Remove from heat and add peanut butter; stir until smooth. Pour over cereal and mix thoroughly. Press into an eight-inch cake pan. Set aside to cool. Cut into squares.

Microwave Directions
Heat honey in a two-cup measuring cup on medium high power for two to three minutes or until bubbly. Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Pour over cereal and mix thoroughly. Continue as above.
A Honey Of A Cookbook Alberta Beekeepers Association

Since Valentine’s Day is going to be full of chocolate, how starting the day with something different – orange muffins.

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
1 egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup milk
¼ cup oil
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned

In large bowl stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Combine honey, egg, orange peel, juice and milk. Add oil. Add to dry ingredients, stirring quickly until just mixed. Batter will be lumpy. Spoon batter into 16 lined muffin cups. Fill each about 2/3 full. Place one orange section on top of each muffin. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 16 muffins. (Sunkist Growers, Inc.)
The Honey Kitchen
A Dadant Publication

So you don’t have time to make muffins. Are you going to have a piece of toast? Then use this honey and orange butter on your toast. You can even make this several days before since it will keep. And while you are doing the cooking and baking, sit down and have a cup of your favorite tea and a piece of toast with the orange butter on.

¾ cup soft butter
¾ cup creamed honey
4 tablespoons orange juice
3 teaspoons grated orange rind
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind, optional

Mix all ingredients together, beating until light and fluffy.
Ontario Honey Recipe Book
Ontario Beekeepers Association

Here is a chocolate cake to put the perfect finish to Valentine’s Day. Since it is baked in a tube-style pan it has a hole through the middle. Find a small container to fill with a small amount of water to act as a vase. When presenting the cake as dinner dessert, put the little vase in the hole and put two red roses in it. Trim the stems so that the roses are level with the top of the cake.

½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup honey
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup dairy sour cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped nuts
additional cocoa powder

White Chocolate Glaze
2 ounces white chocolate
2 teaspoons milk

Cream butter in a large bowl with electric mixer; gradually add honey, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.) Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, the ½ cup cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda in small bowl. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream to butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

Pour batter into 12-cup fluted tube pan. Bake in preheated 325°F oven 50-55 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Make glaze. Melt two ounces white chocolate in top of double boiler. Stir in two teaspoons milk. Drizzle glaze over cake with spoon. Sprinkle with additional cocoa and add the roses in their little vase.
National Honey Board

I wish you Happy St Valentine’s Day! I hope you enjoy the one day of the year where you can indulge from breakfast through dinner with special treats made with honey.