date honey

Baked Apples with Date Honey

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If you've never tried date honey, you've been missing something delicious in your life. I've been using it for years in all sorts of dishes from Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake to the Thanksgiving sweet potatoes.

It isn't bee honey. Date honey (known as Silan) is a syrup made from dates. It's thick and sweet like honey, but bee honey has more hints of spice, nuts or flowers, date honey is richer and more mellow.

I have tried several brands and like Date Lady* because of its smooth texture. Last summer, at the Fancy Food show I tasted the company's new California Date Syrup and absolutely loved it. The California syrup has a buttery taste, while the classic middle eastern variety is more molasses-y. Both are wonderful but I preferred the California syrup for delicate dishes such as baked apples and the bolder syrup for breads, cakes and muffins.

The California syrup works perfectly for baked apples, one of our traditional Rosh Hashanah desserts.

*I was not paid for this post. I just happen to love this product.

Baked Apples with Date Honey

  • 4 baking apples
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup diced dried figs
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup date honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the apples and remove the core with an apple corer or small knife, leaving about 1/2" on the bottom.  Peel the apples halfway down from the top and place them in a baking dish. Mix the raisins, dates, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg and date honey. Stuff this mixture into the apple hollows. Mix the juice and water (plus extra sugar if desired) and pour over the apples. Bake for 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, or until the apples are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potatoes with Date Honey

One of my favorite food memories is my mother’s Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. She’d mix a stick of butter with plenty of brown sugar, get it hot and gooey and add a large can, juice and all, of cut up “yams.” It all got glossy and richly amber and was one of the ultra sweet treats we waited all year for.

Those days are gone forever. No one in my family wants the sugar overload.

Or the stick of butter.

We want the dish dairy-free.

No problem.

Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet. You don’t need much sweetener to make them taste good. I’ve experimented with lots of different options and this year I’m adding date honey. It isn’t actually honey — just has honey’s consistency. Sometimes it’s sold as date molasses or silan. 

Date honey has an intense flavor. Use just a small amount when you want to sweeten food. I pour a bit over plain yogurt for breakfast. I’ve added it to cake. Swirled some into the basting fluids for roasted chicken.  

It’s perfect for sweet potatoes.

Coconut oil adds a bit more of a sweet taste and you don’t need much to enrich this dish — 2 to 3 tablespoons instead of much more butter.

Besides the fact that it isn’t overly sweet, the other virtue of this sweet potato casserole recipe is that it contains only four ingredients (plus salt). And you can make it 2-3 days ahead (keep it in the fridge).

Yes, you can add marshmallows on top for the last several minutes of baking.

Sweet Potatoes with Date Honey

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup date honey
  • 1/2 cup orange or tangerine juice
  • salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes and prick each with the tines of a fork. Roast the potatoes for about one hour or until tender. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the coconut oil, date honey, juice and salt to taste. Mix to blend the ingredients thoroughly. 

Makes 8 servings

Date Honey Cake

I’ve fallen in love with Date Honey. Actually it isn’t honey, the kind made by bees, but a syrup made from dates. It’s thick (though not as thick as bee honey) and robust (but not as strong as molasses) and gloriously sweet, (though not overpowering).  I’ve used it on/in so many foods that I’ve had to order a few more jars (there are several brands online; I haven’t seen any in my local supermarkets). I like it best on plain yogurt, though some of the official “tasters” in my life said it was best over ice cream.  Beyond how delicious it tastes, I’ve also learned that in the bible, when it talks of honey, it means date honey, not bee honey (in most cases).  I love learning stuff like this.  All of this means that this year, I am making my  Aunt Belle’s family-famous honey cake  using date honey. Not that Aunt Belle’s cake isn’t still a big winner; just that Date Honey Cake is something new and I want to share it with my family and friends.  Date Honey Cake is not as heavy as regular honey cake, a fact that might be appealing to those who complain that Honey Cake is too dense.  Here’s the recipe:   Date Honey Cake      1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour  1/2 cup almond flour  1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1/2 teaspoon salt  1/2 teaspoon cinnamon  1/2 teaspoon ground ginger  1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg  2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel  1 cup date honey  1/2 cup cold, strong coffee  1/4 cup vegetable oil  3 large eggs  1/3 cup sugar  sliced almonds, optional     Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” x 5” loaf pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper. Set the pan aside. Mix the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and orange peel together into a bowl. Set aside. Mix the date honey, coffee and vegetable oil together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. Stir in the honey mixture and blend it in thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and blend it in thoroughly. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter some sliced almonds on top if desired. Bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a cake rack to cool completely.     Makes 12 servings

I’ve fallen in love with Date Honey. Actually it isn’t honey, the kind made by bees, but a syrup made from dates. It’s thick (though not as thick as bee honey) and robust (but not as strong as molasses) and gloriously sweet, (though not overpowering).

I’ve used it on/in so many foods that I’ve had to order a few more jars (there are several brands online; I haven’t seen any in my local supermarkets). I like it best on plain yogurt, though some of the official “tasters” in my life said it was best over ice cream.

Beyond how delicious it tastes, I’ve also learned that in the bible, when it talks of honey, it means date honey, not bee honey (in most cases).

I love learning stuff like this.

All of this means that this year, I am making my Aunt Belle’s family-famous honey cake using date honey. Not that Aunt Belle’s cake isn’t still a big winner; just that Date Honey Cake is something new and I want to share it with my family and friends.

Date Honey Cake is not as heavy as regular honey cake, a fact that might be appealing to those who complain that Honey Cake is too dense.

Here’s the recipe:

Date Honey Cake

 

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel

1 cup date honey

1/2 cup cold, strong coffee

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

sliced almonds, optional

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” x 5” loaf pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper. Set the pan aside. Mix the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and orange peel together into a bowl. Set aside. Mix the date honey, coffee and vegetable oil together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. Stir in the honey mixture and blend it in thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and blend it in thoroughly. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter some sliced almonds on top if desired. Bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a cake rack to cool completely.

 

Makes 12 servings