With the recent spotlight on the detrimental effects of artificial sugar substitutes, maybe it's time to consider a return to nature's own nourishing sweetener — honey.
Much like extra-virgin olive oil, honey is a significant source of a class of antioxidants called polyphenols, which aid in maintaining one's cardiovascular health and of course, preventing cancer. Recent research also points to numerous other health benefits — honey can help suppress nighttime coughs in children, increases levels of "good bacteria" in the intestinal tract of mice, and help boost immunity. In fact, in antiquity, honey was used to help dress wounds thanks to its antiseptic properties — Dioscorides, a Greek physician, used honey to help treat sunburn and topical wounds in 50 A.D., and the ancient Egyptians, who were among the first to practice beekeeping in 3000 B.C., did the same.
But the merits of honey aren't just limited to health benefits. From a cooking standpoint, it's also a boon. Using honey instead of sugar in cookies, cakes, and other baked goods results in a product that is nice and moist (and stays that way longer, too). Honey is also useful when creating sauces and you're looking to create harmony among the different flavors; most notably, it's a great foil against the heat of chile peppers.
That's why this week, we were thrilled when we were sent samples of honey from Golden Blossom Honey, whose unique flavor profile stems from three flowers — extra-white clover, sage buckwheat, and orange blossom. All of their honey comes from bees here in the United States and is made between May and August each year, from flowers that achieve a quick bloom in a temperate climate in the spring, resulting in a robust flavor.
So what did we do with all this honey? Here are a few highlights:
All of the recipes featured here can be made at home for about $18 or less, excluding the cost of small amounts of basic ingredients such as butter, oil, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and other dried herbs and spices.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.