Tag Archives: honey

Black Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I have a hypothesis about cookies.  No one hates them.  Sure, we all love certain types better than others — but in a land without back fat, would you ever *really* want to turn down a cookie?  I am thinking no.  And I have come to realize that I can use this fact to make my children eat just about anything.  Things they would never normally eat can be put in a cookie and (to them) taste like a french fried chicken nugget dipped in chocolate sauce with a side of cotton candy.

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So my daughter hates black beans.  And white beans.  And kidney beans.  She has declared that she hates beans in general, but I have had to remind her that she loves lima beans, green beans, soy beans, and cocoa beans.  As I have mentioned before, there is always crying if I she finds out we are having a bean-based dinner.  So when a friend mentioned she had a recipe for a lentil cookie, I started thinking about the concept.  We recently had a free afternoon and I decided to give it a try.  I didn’t have any lentils in the house, so I decided to do a black bean chocolate cookie.

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I wanted to make something that could legitimately be considered an after school snack — including some protein, lower in sugar and fat, and whole grain — but in cookie form so the kiddos felt like they were having something special. What we ended up with was quite good, and the bean hater had no clue what the secret ingredient was until she asked for her second helping.  I am going to continue to play around with the recipe and plan to try some other basic cookies with white bean or lentil puree in them.  Give it a try and let me know if you come up with some good combinations or proportions.

Black Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes 2-3 dozen

1-15 oz. can of black beans, drained, rinsed, and pureed with 1/8 cup of water
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
6 T butter, softened
1/2 cup of honey (or agave nectar or sugar of your choice)
1 egg
2 t vanilla extract
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into small chunks

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Mix together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

2.  In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter and honey for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add egg and incorporate well.  Mix in vanilla extract.

3.  Add black bean puree and cooled melted chocolate to butter mixture and mix well.

4.  Mix dry ingredients into the chocolate/black bean mixture in about three additions until cookie dough just comes together.  Finish mixing with a wooden spoon.

5.  Stir in chocolate chunks and drop by tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 375 F for about 8-10 minutes.  (Don’t overbake or they will get dry.)

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Honey Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

I have nothing interesting to say.  Would you call that the summer time blues?  I guess it just has to do with trying to keep everyone entertained, fed, appeased, bathed, and exercised.  While I attempt to keep the house cleaned, the weeds pulled, and the damn bathing suits and towels hung up.  It hasn’t helped matters that my husband was on the west coast all last week.  The kids and I are having a great summer, but I’ve just been unable to focus on cooking anything complex or interesting.  When we are here by ourselves, dinners usually include fancy things like eggs and toast.  You would be surprised by how nicely a glass of wine goes with breakfast food.

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So, I was so pleased when my mom, grandmother, and sister decided to come visit us for the afternoon.  Aside from bringing cousins, which are an amazing source of entertainment, I got to plan a nice lunch for everyone — which pulled me out of my cooking funk.  I figured it probably wouldn’t have been cool to serve them the leftover pizza I had in the fridge.  So I made some great tarts based on this Epicurious recipe which were really delicious (and provided me with leftovers to get through the rest of the week).  For dessert, I made a Honey Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake inspired by another Epicurious recipe.  I felt redeemed.

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I made my cake entirely with whole wheat pastry flour and sweetened it with honey and brown sugar.  I flavored it with a bit of fresh thyme — although lavender or rosemary would be equally nice for a little herbal flavor.  If the sweet and savory combos aren’t your thing, just skip the herbs.  I also added some sour cream to balance out the whole wheat flour, which frequently requires more moisture.  I served the cake with some fresh whipped cream and a simple blueberry sauce made of fresh berries, a little water, and a drizzle of honey simmered until thickened.

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The only problem was that with six eggs in the recipe, I had to come up with something other than omelets for dinner.  The leftover cake, however, made a tremendous breakfast.  (Oh.  You judge me.  But if it were in muffin form, no one would think anything of downing it with a cup of coffee.)

You see?  I told you I had nothing interesting to say.

Honey Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

Makes one bundt or tube cake

1/3 cup whole milk
2 t vanilla extract
6 eggs
1/2 cup of sour cream
2 2/3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 cups of butter, softened (three sticks)
Zest of two lemons
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3 heaping cups of fresh blueberries, tossed in about 1 T flour
2 t fresh thyme, finely chopped (or other herbs such as lavender or rosemary)

For the glaze:
Juice of two lemons
1/3 cup of honey

1.  Butter and flour a ten inch bundt or tube pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla, eggs, and sour cream.

3.  In another medium bowl, stir together whole wheat pastry flour, salt, and baking powder.

4.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter with lemon zest and herbs (if using) until light and fluffy. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the egg and milk mixture.  Repeat with remaining flour and egg mixtures until they are incorporated.  Do not overmix.

5.  Gently fold about half of the blueberries into batter.  Spoon about 1/3 of the batter into the bundt pan and top with 1/2 cup of remaining blueberries.  Repeat with remaining batter and blueberries (3 layers), ending with a layer of blueberries on top.

6.  Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  (Mine took a lot longer than this b/c I was using a bunk silicone pan– which I subsequently threw in the trash — but I think any decent pan will be done within 1 hour and 15 minutes.)

7.  While cake is baking, place juice of two lemons and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer and remove from heat.  When cake is finished, poke holes all over with a toothpick or skewer and brush on about half of the lemon glaze.  Let cool about 20 minutes and invert onto cooling rack or plate.  Poke holes on top of cake and brush with remaining lemon glaze.  Cool completely and serve with loosely whipped cream, blueberry sauce, or lemon curd.

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Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Our rainy spring has turned into a rainy and cool summer here in the northeast.  So that means our pool days have become “ummm, what on earth are we going to do today?” days.  Because, you see, I have figured out the secret to staying sane with the kids at home over the summer:  you must never stay home.

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When you do, the leisurely breakfast that you’ve wanted to have all school year long gives way to bickering.  To be followed by: yelling, crying, a time out, requests to watch a movie, and a spilled drink. And the clock now reads 8:51 AM.  When you are lucky, they get involved with their toys or a project — which unfortunately always includes a deal with the devil on your part (i.e. the resulting clean up).  You have visions of providing an enriching, relaxing summer experience and you find yourself spending every moment breaking up arguments, cleaning up toys, and checking the radar on The Weather Channel for a break in the storms.

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It’s on days like this that I usually figure out a baking activity for my seven year old daughter while her brother (who is almost three) naps.  I love having the one-on-one time with her on a rainy afternoon — and we generally have a lot of fun doing it.  We’ve always done a lot of cooking together, but now that she is getting a little older I find myself really enjoying her presence in the kitchen.  We have silly conversations and chat like friends do.  I catch her licking the batter and she catches me doing the same.  And we both end up eating too much of the final product.

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So, a few days ago we decided to make chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve wanted to try a version with whole wheat flour and honey and this is what we came up with.  They are super chewy and you’d never know they were whole wheat.  And that is good when you realize that somehow a dozen cookies have disappeared from the cooling racks.  It’s a *very* good thing that those days do not include bathing suits.

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen

2 1/4 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 cup of butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of honey
1 t vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
8 oz. of bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks (about 2 cups)

1.  Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

2.  Cream softened butter with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in brown sugar and honey and mix on medium speed for a few minutes.

3.  Add eggs, one at a time, to butter/sugar mixture and mix well to incorporate.  If the mixture starts to look broken or lumpy, just keep mixing and it will re-emulsify (the reason is the eggs were probably just a bit too cold).  When both eggs are mixed in well, add vanilla and mix.

4.  With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three additions.  Do not overmix (you can even use a wooden spoon to finish up the job).

5.  Stir in chocolate chunks and make sure they are evenly distributed.  Chill the dough for 20 minutes before baking (and actually the more you chill the dough, the less the cookies will spread — yielding a taller cookie).

6.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F.

7.  Drop about one tablespoon of dough per cookie onto parchment-lined baking sheets (you should be able to fit about a dozen per sheet).  Bake for 9-10 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let sheets cool for 1-2 minutes and then transfer cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.

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Honey Strawberry Freezer Jam

I’ll start this by blaming the alcohol and the heat.  And my family.  Last week we were on vacation with my parents, siblings/spouses, and kids/cousins in Orlando.  And it was hot.  Like 100 degrees hot with stifling humidity.  We went to Sea World and I nearly melted.  Don’t believe me?  Ask my husband.  I have no tolerance for discomfort.  And dropping hundreds of dollars to walk around a crowded theme park in 100 degree heat is pretty much my idea of pure pain.  And at the end of the theme park days, my siblings and I all agreed that our kids were much happier at the pool with their cousins.  I am pretty sure they will have better memories of swimming for hours on end (with their best buds in the whole world) than they will of trudging around theme parks and waiting in lines in practically dangerous heat.  Or that is how we justified it.

My memories, however, will be a little dimmed.  Because we sat around the pool in the heat, and my goodness, how could we not have a cold drink?  It was HOT, remember?  OK, maybe one cold beer with lunch.  Or a frozen layered daiquiri with a rum floater.  Or a mojito.  Or three mojitos.  Once it hits the lips, you know?

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We had an absolutely fantastic time and I am sad today thinking of how hard it is to get the whole family together any more — as the kids get older and the distances get further and the schedules get busier, I realized that this was an almost once in a lifetime opportunity.  So you will forgive me for not feeling like writing up recipes while I was away, won’t you?

And I realize that most of us are now past strawberry season.  Frankly, I was lucky to get any jam made in the flurry of the last week of school, packing, and getting ready to go.  So, if you have some strawberries left, give it a whirl.  Otherwise, wait for raspberries or blueberries.  I bet they would work equally well.  I set out to create a batch of jam that used honey — because the standard recipe for strawberry freezer jam requires four cups of sugar.  FOUR CUPS.  Are you kidding me?  That scared me off right away and I can’t believe I hadn’t given it a second thought before.

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And I do freezer jam because I am still too scared to can.  I am pretty convinced I’ll give my family botulism and everyone will make fun of me on my deathbed.  “I can’t believe she didn’t sterilize the jars for 10.2 minutes.  What was she thinking?  It’s just so sad.”

So, here’s the recipe.  Now I am off to take a run and detox from excessive alcohol and french fries.

Honey Strawberry Freezer Jam

Makes about six 8-10 oz. jars

4 pints of strawberries (about three pounds of berries)
1 cup of apple juice
1/2 cup of water
1 package of No Sugar Needed Pectin
1 T lemon juice
1 cup of honey

1.  Clean and stem berries.  Mash one layer of berries at a time in a large bowl until all berries are mashed.

2.  In a small saucepan, whisk together apple juice, water, and pectin.  Bring to a hard boil and boil for one minute.

3.  Add honey and lemon juice to berries and stir well.  Add in hot pectin mixture and stir well again to make sure everything is combined.

4.  Ladle into clean jars (glass is fine) and screw on lids.  Let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to set up and then transfer to the freezer to store.

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Honey Whole Grain and Spelt Rolls

As I have mentioned repeatedly, I am very lazy about going to the grocery store.   If we decide to have burgers on a Saturday afternoon and I don’t have rolls, I’d rather make them than get into the car and trudge to the store.  There are just certain times I refuse to go the grocery store — and the weekends are at the top of that list.

This is a great recipe for a mostly whole grain roll that is made using the breadmaker.  It has evolved from my interest in replacing our bread with whole grain counterparts — and my husband and kids’ interest in bread/rolls that have the consistency of Wonder Bread.  So this is a decidedly very “American” roll — super soft, light and fluffy, a little sweet, and with a slight crust after it is baked.  It is definitely NOT a hard or crusty roll.  But for typical American summer fare like burgers or hot dogs, these rolls are great and very traditional.  You can toast or grill them slightly if you like, but I think you’ll love their softness when fresh.

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They are greatly improved over typical rolls by the addition of whole wheat flour, sprouted spelt flour, and honey.  But the key to the recipe is the vital wheat gluten — it gives the rolls their super soft consistency, regardless of the large quantity of whole grain flours.  You should be able to get it in the baking section of your grocery store — or at a natural food store.  These are definitely worth a try if you are looking for a soft, whole grain roll.  We love them for cheesesteaks or burgers, but I think they would also be great for a soft dinner roll too.

Honey Whole Grain and Spelt Rolls

(Adapted from Green Ninja)

Makes about 8 large hamburger rolls

1 cup of white whole wheat flour
1 cup of sprouted spelt flour (can just use another cup of whole wheat if you prefer)
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 t salt
3 T vital wheat gluten
1 egg
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of honey
1 cup of very hot water
1 package of dry yeast (make sure it is not expired!)

1.  In the breadmaker mixing pan, combine the flours (3 cups total), the salt, and vital wheat gluten.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil, and honey.    Whisk in the hot water and stir in the yeast.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes until it begins to get a little frothy.

3.  Pour egg/yeast mixture into flour mixture in breadmaker pan.  Put in breadmaker and set to “Dough” cycle — which takes 1 hour and 30 minutes on my machine.  (I have had trouble with this dough not getting completely mixed in my breadmaker because of the high liquid content.  When it is mixing, check it a few times and stir it up with a spoon to make sure it is mixing in with the flour completely.)  Alternatively, I’m sure you can do this by hand — with at least two kneading and rising cycles.

4.  When dough cycle is complete (the dough should be a soft ball and nicely risen), remove and divide into 8 balls.  Line a 9×13 baking pan (preferably metal) with parchment and line four dough balls on each side (2 columns of 4 balls– 8 total).  Let rise until doubled in a very warm place.  I used the quick proofing cycle on my oven and it only took about 20 more minutes.

5.  Preheat oven to 400 F.  Bake rolls for about 15 minutes until golden brown on top.  Remove to a rack to cool slightly before serving.

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Banana Honey Caramel Ice Cream with Salted Tuile Cookies

So, this was the week when everyone in my family decided they didn’t like bananas — and I was left with four sitting in the fruit bowl (Bananas, that is.  Not family members.).  Of course, the natural inclination is to make banana bread.  Or more likely, the natural inclination is to pitch them.

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And even though I never do it, I’ve also been told that ripe bananas freeze very well.  Collect them in the freezer and use them when you feel like it.  However, there is something about slowly rotting bananas that make me feel like I need to use them immediately.  I never feel this way with shriveled up apples or moldy cheese.

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Add to this that I had the most beautiful eggs from the farmer’s market the other day  — from three or four different breeds of laying hens — that seemed like they needed a showcase.  So I settled on the idea of a custard-based banana ice cream and I was not disappointed as I cracked those eggs.  They were probably the brightest orange yolks I have ever seen.

I wanted to sweeten it with honey and I remembered a honey caramel sauce recipe I had seen.  So the idea came together — a honey caramel custard base pureed with ripe bananas.  With a touch of vanilla, dark rum, and a slightly salty cookie to garnish.  The ice cream really is fabulous — super creamy and smooth without being too “fatty” tasting from a lot of heavy cream.  It is still plenty rich though.  I’d suggest serving it in little custard or egg cups. That leaves a lot leftover for you to eat it directly out of the freezer.

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And the cookies are great on their own.  I made them with whole wheat pastry flour and some dry roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (we can’t do nuts because of my daughter’s allergies, but any chopped nuts would work perfectly alongside the banana ice cream).  They are super easy to make and look great if you roll them or form them while still hot — around a chopstick or skewer to make a “cigarette cookie” or in a shot glass to make a little flower.  Bonus points if you drink the dark rum from the shot glass after you form your cookies.

So, maybe this got a little more involved than a loaf of banana bread, but I’m pretty sure it’s way, way better.

Banana Honey Caramel Ice Cream with Salted Tuile Cookies

Makes about two quarts of ice cream and 1 to 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Ice Cream:
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 C. of whole milk
1 C. of heavy cream
3/4 C. of honey
4 egg yolks
Pinch of sea salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. dark rum

1.  In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together honey and heavy cream and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat a bit and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened and a caramel color.  Watch that it doesn’t boil over — it does so easily.

2.  Remove caramel from heat and whisk in 1 cup of the whole milk (other cup will be added later).   Return to heat and make sure all the caramel gets incorporated (use a silicone spatula to get it out of the corners of the pan). Whisk well and turn heat to medium low.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks with pinch of salt.  Take about 1/4 cup of the hot caramel/milk mixture and very slowly whisk it into the egg yolks. (You are tempering the egg yolks so they don’t scramble.) Add another 1/4 cup and whisk well.

4.  Pour tempered egg yolk mixture into caramel/milk mixture and whisk well to incorporate, cooking over low heat and stirring almost constantly.  Cook this mixture for about five minutes, until it has thickened.  You can test it with an instant read thermometer if you like — it should be about 160-170 F.

5.  In a blender, puree the remaining one cup of milk with the mashed bananas.  Add the hot caramel custard from the pan.  Puree well, being careful because hot liquids can expand … allow steam to escape through hole or keep lid slightly off, covering with a kitchen towel.   You can also do this in a bowl with an immersion blender.

6.  Stir in vanilla and dark rum and chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting the ice cream mixture in a bowl set inside another larger bowl filled with ice water — just be careful to not get water in the ice cream mixture.)  It should be very cold when you put it in the ice cream freezer.

7.  Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.  My batch took a little over 20 minutes.  Transfer to the freezer to harden more, or serve as is (it will be more like soft serve at that point.)

Salted Pumpkin Seed Tuile Cookies:
(Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Honey Lace Cookies)
2 T. butter
1 1/2 T. honey
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. whole wheat pastry flour
Pinch of sea salt, plus a bit more for tops of cookies
3 T. roasted pumpkin seeds (or other toasted, chopped nuts)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.

2.  In a small pan, melt butter with honey and brown sugar.  Remove from heat and stir in flour, salt, and pumpkin seeds.

3.  On a parchment lined baking sheet, use about one teaspoon of dough per cookie — allow plenty of room to spread while baking.

4.  Cook about 8 minutes (less for smaller cookies) until cookies are golden brown and bubbly.

5.  Remove from oven, sprinkle each with a few grains of sea salt, and let cool for 2-3 minutes on parchment.  When the cookies are just starting to firm up (meaning they are pliable, but not falling apart), you can roll them around a chopstick or skewer for a cigarette cookie or carefully push them into a shotglass or other small cup to make a flower shape.  Let cool completely in forms.  Drizzle with a bit of melted chocolate if you like.

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Honey Apple Oatmeal

I feel sort of silly posting a recipe for oatmeal.  But I have only recently discovered how easy it is to make oatmeal from scratch on a weekday morning. I honestly always thought it took like an hour or something and never investigated further — continuing to buy little packages of oatmeal at the store.  But if you think about it, those packets are ridiculously expensive considering they contain some ground up oats, dehydrated apples, sugar (lots of sugar!), and various chemicals…  Now I didn’t do price comparisons today at the store, but a quick online search told me that a 42 oz. container of old fashioned oats was about $4 and a 14 oz. box of instant oatmeals packets (10 pack) was about $3.59.  Even after adding in a few apples and some honey to that 42 oz. container, I still think it’s pretty easy to see which choice is more economical.  And it’s quick.  And it contains nothing that you don’t want to put in it.   And less packaging.

So, give it a try.  I swear it doesn’t take any more time than prepping a packet and throwing it in the microwave for two minutes.   And I think you will instantly notice how awfully much sugar they put in the packaged stuff.  That may take a bit of getting used to, but with fresh fruit and a bit of honey, we are getting over it.  

Honey Apple Oatmeal

1-2 cups old fashioned oatmeal (I usually do about 1 1/2 or 2 cups which makes plenty for three with a bit leftover)
Water (3-4 cups depending on how saucy you like your oatmeal)
Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt 
Honey (or Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup, etc.)
Vanilla Extract
One chopped apple
Milk or Cream 

Put oats in a medium saucepan with a pinch of salt.  Cover with 3-4 cups of cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring a couple of times so they don’t stick.   Add a little more water if necessary.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes depending on how tender you like the oats.   Stir in a bit of honey to taste, a splash of vanilla, and some cinnamon.  Serve in a bowl with chopped apples, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a bit of milk or cream (if you like).

Be creative with the many potential variations — different fresh or dried fruits, spices, nuts or seeds, etc.  

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George Washington’s Hoecakes with Honey Butter

My daughter came home with this recipe (presumably copyright attribution to George Washington?) for hoecakes and mentioned that her teacher would like me to make them for the class.  I am generally happy to do so because she has severe food allergies and if I don’t make it, it’s virtually impossible for her to participate in school parties or food activities.  So, I set out today to make hoecakes for 30.  The recipe is quite easy and I have even made it for the kids on a weekday morning when we were especially efficient getting ready (seriously, you can easily do it in 10 or 15 minutes).  And like most pancakes, it takes no longer to make them from scratch than it does from a “mix.”

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I think they are especially good when made with a heartier, stone-ground cornmeal and served with honey butter and a drizzle of honey.  Although, maple syrup is great too…  And I have modified the recipe to make them entirely whole grain.   So, first the honey butter recipe.

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Honey Butter (makes about 1 cup)

1 stick salted butter (if using unsalted, add a pinch of salt), softened
1/2 cup of honey (preferably local)

Cream softened butter and honey in medium bowl using a mixer. (could do it by hand, although it wouldn’t be as fluffy)  Mix until light and fluffy and serve in this softened state.  If doing ahead, set out to soften for an hour or so before you need it.

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Cornmeal Hoecakes

(allegedly George Washington’s Favorite Breakfast)

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup stoneground cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup mild flavored oil (like canola)

Mix dry ingredients — flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder in large bowl and set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients — eggs, milk, and oil.  Slowly mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients with a large whisk.  Mix until smooth, making sure all lumps are gone (but don’t overmix).  Let batter sit for 5 minutes or so (whole wheat flours usually require a little extra time to absorb liquid).  Meanwhile, heat griddle or large saute pan on medium heat and melt a bit of butter to grease the pan.  Ladle hoecakes onto preheated and greased griddle or pan, giving yourself enough room so they don’t run together and you can flip easily.  (This batter is a little thinner than some pancake batter.)  Cook for about 1-2 minutes on first side until they are golden brown.  Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more til golden on second side and nicely puffed.  Serve hot with a dollop of honey butter, a drizzle of honey, or maple syrup.

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