Posts Tagged ‘honey’

Toffee.WHAT?

What is toffee doing on this website? It’s made of refined sugar and butter and cream (isn’t it?see, I don’t even know how you make it!) and everything inequivocably non-welcome on this recipe site celebrating unrefined, healthsome plant foods. But here it is. Quite frankly I am beyond excited by this discovery. Beyond!

So here’s the thing. I don’t have a precise recipe until I get myself a thermometer but let me tell you the story.Some good friends introduced us to a decadent treat from Holland and Barrett called Sunita Honey Halva which only contains….honey, and ground sesame paste (aka tahini). The texture was this crumbly cinder-toffee type wonder that I never thought I would eat with impunity again. If you like sesame (I love it!) please find yourself a H&B store immediately and buy a slab. It costs £1.20-odd. I wasn’t sent any samples for writing this. I wish. It’s amazing. I have made halva at home by blending tahini, honey and some sesame seeds, and refridgerating it, but it was the texture that totally blew me away.

So my friends Chris and Sarah who were the benefactors of this blessed product, also passed me the link to a website called Home made recipes– a blog of Lebanese recipes. He explains how to make it. It’s an approximate ratio of   2:1, honey to tahini, (in fact, slightly more honey) and it’s all about heating the honey to a certain temperature, mixing it with tahini, and then leaving it in the fridge for 36 hours and the honeys sugars crystallise in a certain way to create a crumbly-cum-melt-in-the-mouth texture.

 I whipped up a batch last night, bracing myself for the 36 hour wait. Except- I didn’t have a thermometer. I bought one a month ago to make alternative yogurts with, and foolishly left it- still in it’s Jiffy Bag (Ebay) on the side. Within 10 minutes of Thermometer Arrival, Ellie had smashed it on the kitchen floor, by accident. (She was so remorseful, bless her.)

I just decided to wing it, and see if I could work out what “soft ball” stage was by myself.

I couldn’t.

So I left it bubbling for a few minutes and then at no particular moment, mixed in the tahini and popped it in the fridge in a lined tupperware. I wondered if I could wait 36 hours, after having licked the spoon. I didn’t need to. 36 minutes later, it was rock hard, like toffee. I obviously really over-heated it. However, as I looked at this big golden slab, and broke off pieces by banging a knife on it with the back of a wooden spoon, I couldn’t believe that I was eating nothing but honey and tahini.

I was chewing on sesame toffee, containing only honey and sesame seeds. The texture and taste was amazing! Do you know what this means friends? You may not like tahini, but you could add other nut or seed butters in here. Peanut butter, almond butter, and a long etcetera. And most importantly, with a candy thermometer, you can get the exact temperature to achieve the exact texture you want- chewey fudge, crumbly cinder-toffee, hard caramel.Peanut butter fudge. Almond butter nougat.   You could add cocoa, or sprinkle nuts and raisins through it. My head is positively reeling  🙂 

One last word- don’t make this with quality honey from your farmers market; enjoy all that wonderful (and expensive) nutrition unheated. I shall return with more information on this at a later date. I think I shall order a thermometer on Ebay, and go and get my breakfast calcium. A kale smoothie and a piece of  tahini toffee.

Where do YOU get your calcium?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
UPDATE: I have now made this several times, though still without a thermometer. Notes to bear in mind:
 
  • Have your tupperware lined and greased BEFORE you begin.
  • You can also sprinkly sesame seeds onto the bottom of your parchment paper, and then more on top, once the caramel is poured in. It makes it beautiful aswell as simply gosh-darn tasty.In a beautiful jar it would make a stunning gift for a sesame lover.
  • Gently warm your tahini in one small pot while your honey is heating in another.
  • I did not have my hob on full power- mine is a 1-5 setting, I had mine on 3.5.
  • Have a timer next to you and from the moment it begins to bubble nicely, time two minutes. Reduce 15-30 seconds for a slightly softer toffee.Personally I stir constantly to prevent patchy overheating- though I am no caramel expert. (With sugar, they say not to, I think).
  • Do not leave that pan, it can burn easily!
  • Remove from heat immediately after the two minutes, and stir in the tahini. It should be ready within 40 minutes of refridgeration.
  • Do not forget to scrape out the saucepan. I promise you will not regret it.
  • You will need a hammer and sharp knife to break it into small pieces for storage purposes, but when in mouth, it is pretty chewey almost immediately.
Advertisements

Tips for baking with honey / Amazing Cookies!

Okay, let me get to the point. You have got to make these cookies! They have no sugar in at all and it is almost certain that you have all the ingredients in your cupboard right now! For the recipe itself, I will direct you to the original post on the blog it is from, but let me just say, that it only contains: wholewheat flour, bicarbonate of soda, honey, peanut butter, sunflower oil, and chocolate chips (substitute for raisins for a healthier option).

But first! Baking with Honey 101.

Ask yourself why you want to bake with honey. If it is because you have this feeling “honey is good for you”- you are right, in the sense that unpasteurised honey has a lot of beneficial minerals, amino acids and enzymes which support the immune and digestive system.

However, when you bake with quality unpasteurised honey, the heat destroys quite a bit of that goodness. In terms of blood sugar, your body will treat it as a quick sugar like table sugar. However, “raw” or cooked, it is still a more natural choice than sugar- even the ones that say “unrefined”.  Personally I use unpasteurised honey in unbaked treats and if I am baking with it, I use everyday” honey, (aka cheap!)

Honey burns far more easily than sugar; I had almost written off baking with it until I discovered this website. (I will post the link with the recipe at the end again) She bakes lots of things only with honey, and not so much as a burnt bottom in sight.

So I decided to try again, and please allow me to furnish you with the tips I have discovered. Some may not be necessary for your oven, but here goes.

  • Test with 1/2 quantities, or even 1/4 quantities of a recipe first.
  • Drop the Oven Temperature?  Her recipe calls for 175 C, I dropped mine to as low as 160, as I think my oven is quite fierce.
  • Reduce cooking time? My cookies were ready at 160 C  after 7-8 minutes, seriously!
  • Cook nearer the front of the oven– the back of the oven is always hotter.
  • Check frequently. These are not a cake so feel free to check on them if in doubt. You do not want to stick honey-only cookies in the oven and then go and paint your nails. They are done in under ten minutes in most ovens, so seriously- just hover!
  • The tray. Since everything I had ever baked with honey ended up with a burnt bottom within (it felt like) seconds, I wondered if my tray was causing part of the problem? Different types of trays conduct heat differently (Nil points for that un-scientific explanation!) Which brings me to my next magic, slightly unorthodox cookie-baking tip:
  • Silicone muffin trays! I now spoon my cookie dough into the bottom of muffin cases and gently press into shape. I place them directly on the oven shelf, not onto a tray.  Once they are cool-ish (5-10 minutes after removing from oven) remove from the cases, and with the heel of your hand gently press down so you lose that “cupcake” edge at the bottom. Okay….you may not want to advertise that you do this with your cookies (whoops, I just did!)…..a fish-slice would work too  🙂
  • Do not over-cook! These cookies will harden considerably on cooling. If you leave them in even a little too long, they will turn quickly.  Once the tops of your cookies look ever so slightly dryish and a little cracked, and/or they start to brown slightly at the edges, take them out.

Here are some photos, followed by the magic link. Don’t forget my tips, now. Good luck!

In the muffin cases they look wierd. (Don't put too much dough in....)

 

but the advantages for those of us with issues are....perfectly round cookies!

 
By the way, her cookies look nothing like mine! But she seems to know what she is doing. I just shared some tips that are the fruits of my failures in case it helps anyone. (By the way, these ones are with raisins)
 
And here is the link:
 
 
Just doing my bit for all you cookie lovers out there who want a slightly better option. You’re welcome  🙂
%d bloggers like this: