Honey Pecan Fudge

Today marks the last day of Honey Week on Lolly’s Sweet Treats. I’ve had a lot of fun finding different ways to cook and bake with honey from Honeyrun Farm and what better way to end it with a rich dessert.

With all the choices for honey desserts out there, I had trouble deciding what sweet treat I wanted to make. I was originally planning on making a honey cake, but my Aunt Khaki brilliantly suggested honey fudge. I researched recipes online and found this one from Better Homes and Garden.

The original recipe calls for macadamia nuts, but I substituted in pecans instead because that’s what I had on hand and because macadamia nuts are pretty pricey. I will also say that the fudge pictured above is from my second attempt. You see, the recipe only called for 2 tablespoons of honey, but I was concerned it wouldn’t give the fudge enough honey flavor so I added more honey and decreased the sugar. The end result- was a soft, caramel-like blob. It tasted good, but it never set. Oh well- I guess you’ll never know if something works until you try!

On the second time around, I stuck to the recipe (with the exception of using pecans) and things worked just like I envisioned. The honey flavor still came through well and the saltiness of the pecans is a great pairing. Best of all, you only need a small nibble to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Thanks again to Jayne for the honey. It was delicious!

Honey Pecan Fudge

Yield: 24 pieces (or more or less depending on how you cut it)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half or light cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with foil, extending foil over edges of the pan. Butter the foil; set pan aside.

Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In the saucepan, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, half-and-half or light cream, milk, and honey. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils and sugars dissolve (about 8 minutes). Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue to boil at a steady rate, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 234 degrees F, soft-ball stage (about 20 minutes).

 

Remove pan from heat. Add butter and vanilla, but do not stir. Cool, without stirring, to 110 degrees F (about an hour).

Remove thermometer from pan. Beat mixture vigorously with a clean wooden spoon until fudge just begins to thicken; stir in the 1/2 cup nuts. Continue beating until fudge just starts to lose its gloss (about 10 minutes total). Immediately spread fudge evenly in prepared pan. Score into 1-1/4-inch squares while warm.

When fudge is firm, use foil to lift it out of the pan. Cut fudge into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Better Homes and Garden

Pear, Brie, and Honey Crostini

Continuing with the honey theme for the week, I made Pear, Brie, and Honey Crostini in the midst of our kitchen floor remodel. That’s right! We are finally replacing the carpet in our kitchen with wood laminate flooring. After numerous spills and trudging down to the basement to get the carpet cleaner, I can’t wait to be able to simply mop up a mess instead of scrubbing fabric in vain.  What better way to start the celebration with an insanely easy, yet delicious appetizer.

This recipe is great for using up day-old bread and it’s perfect for a quick dish that will leave your guests happy. I sauteed the pears over the stove, but they would also be great grilled in the summertime. The honey does a wonderful job of caramelizing the pears and the delicate flavors of the two go great with the creamy brie and crunchy bread.

If you are looking for something special that you can whip up at the drop of a hat, this honey appetizer is for you!

I have one more honey recipe, a dessert, coming up on Sunday. Happy Weekend!

Pear, Brie, and Honey Crostini

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of bread (a baguette is best, but others work well too)
  • Brie cheese, thinly sliced and rind removed
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the bread into thin slices and place them on a large baking sheet. Place one slice of cheese on each slice. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the brie is melted.

While the baguette slices are baking, brush the pear slices with honey and saute in a sauce pan over medium heat, until golden brown.

Remove the bread from the oven. Place the pearson top of the slices and drizzle honey over top. Serve immediately.

Source: Slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Honey Ginger Chicken

Just because a recipe calls for honey doesn’t mean it has to be a dessert. I’ve been making this chicken for a while now and it’s one of Robert’s and my favorite ways to prepare poultry. Making the marinade is as simple as it gets with only four ingredients- honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. After heating the ingredients over the stove, all you have to do is pour it over some boneless, skinless chicken breast and let the marinade do it’s work.

I’ve let the chicken set for a hour or overnight, but overnight is best if you have time. It’s some of the juiciest chicken I’ve ever had and it’s scrumptious served with brown or fried rice.

I apologize for the dark photo. Daylight savings time has limited the natural light available and we were pretty hungry before dinner so we didn’t have much patience for getting a good snapshot. ;)

Honey Ginger Chicken

Printable Version

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup peeled and chopped ginger

Directions

Heat the honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 inch plastic or glass container. Pour the marinade over the chicken, cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.

To cook, heat the grill over medium heat. Place the chicken on the grill until browned and cooked through (time varies depending on the heat of the grill and the size of the chicken). Remove from the grill. Cover with tin foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Ina Garten

 

 

Honey Week: Honey Granola

It’s honey week here at Lolly’s Sweet Treats! About two months ago, my long lost neighbor, Jayne, stumbled upon my blog and offered me a jar of honey to use in the kitchen. I was overjoyed to hear from the girl who lived down the road from me while we were growing up and super excited to try out her and her husband’s honey from Honeyrun Farm, which is located in Williamsport, Ohio.

I stopped by the Worthington Farmers’ Market to see Jayne a week ago. Little did I know, the flavor of honey differs based on the season because of the type of pollen that is available for the bees to collect. Spring honey is delicate and light, summer honey has a deeper flavor, and autumn honey is rich and a little spicy. All of this was new information to me and Jayne graciously gave me the low down and a complimentary jar of this delightful syrup.

The autumn honey is on the left and the summer is on the right

I couldn’t decide on just one recipe to make with the honey, so I decided to make four different things that I will be posting all this week. In addition to the honey granola featured today, I have an appetizer, main dish, and a dessert to share with all of you. As far as this granola goes, it’s a very versatile recipe in which you can add whatever dried fruits and nuts you prefer. I have been eating it for breakfast sprinkled on top of my yogurt with a little extra drizzle of honey on top of it all. With flax seed, wheat germ, and nuts, it’s a great way to kick start your day. The granola would also be great with milk or mixed in with a bowl of hot oatmeal. Whichever way you choose, you can’t go wrong.

Head on over to the Honeyrun Farm website to learn more about Jayne and Isaac’s honey farm and how they got started. I really appreciate all the hard work she and her husband put into their small business and it’s nice to know that I’m using local products that are high in quality and delicious. Jayne also makes beeswax candles and soaps, which are available on Etsy. Thanks so much, Jayne! I will definitely be stocking up on more of the Honeyrun Farm honey in the future. :)

Honey Granola

Printable Version

Yield: About 5 cups of granola

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 Tbsp flax seed
  • 1 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried fruits (I used cranberries, golden raisins, and pineapple)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Combine the oats, nuts, flax seed, wheat germ, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the water, honey, oil, and vanilla to a low boil. Remove from heat and pour over the oat mixture. Stir to ensure it’s evenly-coated.

Pour the granola on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 50-60 minutes (or until golden brown), stirring every ten minutes so it doesn’t burn.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Stir in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Joy of Baking

Cooking with Jess: October

I’ve been a bit off this week after being sick for a few days. Nothing sounds too appetizing to me right now, but I wanted to share the meal Jess and I made for October. It included:

We had a great time cooking together (as always) and I am looking forward to our next time in the kitchen.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I apologize for the short post- I am hoping to be back to myself next week :)

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Printable Version

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 fresh cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

Directions

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Place the pork loin on a rack in a roasting pan. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. With your fingers, rub the mixture onto the pork loin, covering all of the meat and fat.

Roast the pork for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 425 degrees F and roast for an additional hour. Test for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F, remove the roast from the oven. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook while it rests.

Source: Paula Deen

A Virtual Fall Feast: Acorn Squash Ravioli with Browned Sage Butter Sauce

A few weeks ago, Hilary from Baking Bad invited food bloggers to take part in a virtual fall feast. I thought it was a great idea and I excitedly asked to join in the fun. I have been thinking about making homemade ravioli for a while now and I thought a fall-inspired acorn squash ravioli would go wonderfully with the meal.

I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it is to make pasta from scratch. I did some research online and found this great tutorial from Annie’s Eats. I bought some local acorn squash from the farmer’s market this past weekend and adapted a butternut squash ravioli into one that used these delicious fall vegetable.

Head on over to Hilary’s blog for the full menu of the virtual fall feast. Everything looks and sounds delicious. Happy November!

Acorn Squash Ravioli with Browned Sage Butter Sauce

Ingredients

For the pasta

  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large eggs

For the acorn squash filling:

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup diced shallots
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

For the sauce:

  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 8 Tbsp butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise. Place the squash on a cake pan with the skin side down.

Rub the butter on the fleshy part of the squash. Sprinkle with salt and roast in the oven for 1 hour or until softened.

After it has cooled, scoop out the squash and beat it on medium high in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.

To make the rest of the filling, saute the diced shallots in a sauce pan on medium heat until golden brown. Add the squash and cook for about 3 minutes longer. Stir in the cream and salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the shredded parmesan cheese. Set aside.

To make the pasta, mix the semolina flour, all-purpose flour, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Create a little crater in the flour mixture and crack the eggs into the crater.

With a dough hook, mix on medium speed just until the dough starts coming together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured and clean surface. Gently knead the dough until it forms into a ball. You may have to add a little more olive oil to allow it come together.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces and place a damp towel over top. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

After the dough has rested, take one of the hunks out from under the towel and flatten slightly with a rolling pin.

Carefully feed the flattened dough through a pasta machine. Change the thickness dials until you find your desired thickness. For ravioli it’s best to have a thinner pasta.

You will create a nice long sheet of pasta. Cut the pasta in half width-wise so you have two equal rectangular shapes.

With a ravioli stamp (or with a knife), gently press/trace a mark for the ravioli on one of the sheets.

Scoop about 1/2 tablespoon of the filling into the middle of each ravioli.

Carefully place the top sheet on top of the bottom and press around the filling to seal the two sheets together (I didn’t get a picture of this step).

Carefully cut out ravioli with the stamp or a knife and place them on a baking sheet to dry slightly.

Place the ravioli in a pot of boiling water and boil for 4-5 minutes or until they are pale and rising to the top. Drain the pasta and place on a large plate or bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the sauce, melt 8 tablespoons of butter (or less!) in a pan over medium heat. Add in the sage leaves and cook until the butter browns.

Carefully pour the sauce over the ravioli and serve immediately.

Source: Pasta dough recipe- All Recipes, Ravioli- adapted from Emeril Lagasse, Pasta tutorial- Annie’s Eats