This honey liqueur is simply delicious. It is an adaptation I made from Jane Lawson’s Snowflakes and Schnapps cookbook. It’s a beautifully done cookbook, rich with food photos and simple, wholesome (and gourmet) recipes. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy, not just for the visual feast, but the way she takes you on a culinary tour of Europe with her recipes.
There’s something about this liqueur that says sweet comfort. It’s full of flavor, and if you’re sipping it neat you can really taste the subtle flavors. Before you make this decide on what kind of honey to use. If you want a more robust, earthy flavor (my favorite) use the darker fall harvest honey. If you would prefer a lighter, more delicate flavor that will highlight the infusion, choose the lighter, spring harvest honey.
Honey and Saffron Liqueur, adapted from Jane Lawson
Makes 1 Litre
750ml bottle of good vodka
1C dark, fall honey
1 cinnamon stick
½ of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise, and finely chopped
10 white peppercorns
¼t freshly grated nutmeg
2 pinches of saffron threads
3 strips of lemon zest, white pith removed
Put the honey, water, cinnamon stick, chopped vanilla bean, peppercorns, nutmeg, and saffron in a saucepan and bring just to boil. Quickly reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.
Reheat until simmering, then remove from the heat and cool completely. Once cooled, strain through a fine mesh sieve, and add the vodka. Carefully pour into a sterilized airtight bottle and allow to the flavors to infuse at room temperature for a week before drinking.
Neat (my favorite way) or On The Rocks.
Martini: 2 parts vodka or gin, 1 part honey liqueur. Add a lemon twist.
Whiskey/Scotch/Bourbon: equal parts honey liqueur and spirits, iced or neat.
This cocktail combines three of my favorite things: small batch bourbon, organic Vermont maple syrup, and lemons. Sip it in a chilled martini glass or on the rocks in a double old-fashioned glass. My recipe makes two cocktails because let’s face it, no one enjoys drinking alone. With two drinks you hand one to a friend and it’s an instant party.
The Rowan’s Creek Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is a new one for me from the Willet Bourbon Whiskey family. It’s a very nice sip with a caramel, honeyed spiciness to it. It’s made and bottled by hand in Bardstown, Kentucky. Wine Enthusiast had this to say: “Amber, with a dark golden cast. Medium-bodied. Reminiscent of pear, lemon, honey, and flowers. Smooth texture. Quite elegant and attractive on the palate. Stunning, velvety mouth feel of delicate fruit and spice elements. Carries forth in a highly fragrant, lingering finish. The Square Deal Farm organic maple syrup comes from northern Vermont. Square Deal has been farming sustainably since 1997 and are certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers. They raise Pinzgauer cattle and pastured pigs, grow potatoes, harvest their own hay, and manage their forestland for timber, wildlife and maple syrup production. I buy their delicious syrup and maple sugar from Farmers To You and pick it up with the rest of my weekly order.
Vermont Maple Martini
Makes 2 cocktails
4 oz. Rowan’s Creek Bourbon Whiskey (Angel’s Envy rye, Willett bourbon whiskey, or Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey would work well, too)
1 ½ oz. maple syrup
2 lemons, juiced (about 2 oz.)
Optional garnish: lemon twist
Directions: If you’re using martini glasses, chill the martini glasses with ice and water while you prepare the cocktail OR do what I used to do and keep the glasses in the freezer ready to go.
Fill half of a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the bourbon whiskey, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Give it one shake and let it sit for 2 minutes to settle and soften the flavors … then go ahead and give it a SHAKE, Shake, shake as hard as you can. You want that nice icy film on top after pouring.
Strain into the chilled martini glasses or a double old-fashioned filled with ice.
Need a bite-sized appetizer to serve at your holiday cocktail party? These are perfect. They are crispy, savory and sweet, and bite-sized. Just right for nibbling while you party.
This recipe is lighter than the usual baked brie in puff pastry I make during the holidays. What I like so much about this recipe is you can make multiple batches with different toppings! I made this batch using raw honey from my apiary, organic dried cranberries and slivered almonds, but a dollop of fig jam on top would be delicious, too. Or maybe an apricot jam with almonds. The choices are endless!
Baked Brie Bites
½ small wheel of double or triple cream brie (about 3 ½ oz.)
¼ C dried cranberries
¼ C slivered almonds
2 T honey
1 box of Athens brand mini phyllo shells, 15 per box (in the freezer section). No need to defrost.
Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Chop the brie into small cubes, small enough to fill the phyllo cups, about ½” pieces. Set aside.
Remove phyllo shells from the freezer.
In a small bowl, combine the dried cranberries, almonds, and honey. Arrange the shells on a baking sheet. Put one piece of brie in the bottom and top with the cranberry mixture. Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts.
I love hummus. The first time I had hummus I was in college and went to a classmate’s engagement party – I couldn’t stop eating it. My daughters loved the hummus and shredded carrot roll-ups I made them for school lunches. Before I had a food processor, I’d make the hummus in a blender and then spend more time scraping it out than I did making it. Hummus is still a staple in our refrigerator and a go-to snack. It’s garlicky deliciousness is perfect for carrot or pita dipping.
I must admit I’ve been lazy lately and have been buying it at the market instead of making it myself like I used to do. I’ve heard of some new recipes for “super smooth” hummus where the skins are peeled from the chickpeas – NO thanks! Imagine peeling each and every chickpea? Unless there’s some divine angelic choir experience from it, I don’t have time to peel them. I prefer simple, fresh goodness when it comes to hummus. So grab your food processor (or blender) and get going. You’ll make enough for a party.
Makes 3 cups
2 – 15oz. cans of organic chick peas, drained with the liquid reserved
1C of tahini, with some of the oil from the jar
4 peeled garlic cloves, cut in half
the juice from 2 lemons
1½ t salt
2-3 shakes of cayenne pepper
Directions: Drain and rinse your chickpeas, reserving the liquid to add later. Pour the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper in the bowl of a large food processor and process until smooth, about 5 minutes. You may have to scrape down the side to get it to mix. With the motor running, slowly drizzle the EVOO into the bowl. Add the liquid from the chickpeas, one tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency. Serve with pita chips or vegetables.