“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
It all started with a simple gift. The sweetest smallest jar of honey. Now, to be sure, this honey wasn’t just any honey – written on the label in Sharpie was the name Blackburn. My friend Laura Lee had become a beekeeper, and this was the fruit of her labor.
I held that little jar of honey in my hand, and knew it was destined for great things. Yes, it could have been spread on toast or drizzled on Greek yogurt. But sweet gifts deserve a place of honor. And Laura Lee’s honey was saved for a very special moment – in fact, it was saved for THREE perfect, honey-infused recipes.
Kitchen therapy is the most fun when it’s shared with others, and my three friends visiting from California (Amanda, Alison and Monica) were willing to be my culinary adventurers as we made Latvian Honey Cakes (lovely little tortes filled with sweetened sour cream and nuts) and Honey Muffins (which we decided sounded more like a pet name than a breakfast food). We even married Parmesan cheese with walnuts and honey as an appetizer. Laura Lee’s honey was the shining star of all of them.
And this is what we discovered. You should start your day with Honey Muffins that are light and not too sweet. Then let the day wind down with Parmesan, Walnuts and Honey and a nice glass of whatever you’d like.
And finally, we think you should celebrate a great evening with Latvian Honey Cakes (a seriously good dessert). While I can’t offer Laura Lee’s honey to you (sadly, my little jar is now empty), I guarantee you’ll love all three recipes.
makes 15 regular muffins or 45 minis
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
3 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
1 cup half-and-half
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup honey
Preheat oven to 400, and prepare muffin tins by greasing or lining with papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until JUST moistened. Do not overmix.
Scoop ¼ cup batter into muffin tins and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer muffins to a cooling rack. Serve warm with a lovely bit of butter.
Recipe from Taste of Home
Honey Parm and Walnuts
Select a really yummy Parmesan cheese, like Sartori BellaVitano Gold. Yes, it’s that good. Cut the cheese into bite-size shards and pair with walnut halves. Drizzle the cheese and nuts with honey. Don’t be shy. Enjoy.
Latvian Honey Cake
(the recipe is for a 13” X 9” cake, but we opted for 3” round individual tortes, and made 7)
1 cup honey
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1-24 oz. container sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all cake ingredients together until thoroughly blended. On a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, spread a thin layer of batter using a spatula. About 4 heaping tablespoons of batter will yield a layer around 9 X 12 in size). You’ll have enough batter for 4-5 layers. Bake each layer until it is toasty brown (about 10-12 minutes). Let cool and remove from the parchment paper. If making individual tortes, cut your rounds while the layer is still on the paper and then simply peel off the rounds as you build your torte.
While first layer is baking, mix sour cream and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
To assemble cake, place first layer on serving dish and cover with a thick layer of sweetened sour cream. Sprinkle generously with walnuts. Add next layer of cake and cover again with sour cream and nuts. Repeat until all layers have been added. Top with sour cream, and cover with walnuts. Chill for several hours, serve and be amazed.
Recipe inspired by myrecipes.com. Thanks to Paula Chaffin for sharing it with me!