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Published: Tuesday, 11/13/2007

'Bee Movie' inspires honey recipes

Honey has a starring role in Bee Movie, Jerry Seinfeld's new animated flick. The story is about the adventures of Barry B. Benson, a recent college graduate who wants more out of life than just making honey.

But Barry is shocked by a visit to a supermarket, where he finds jars of honey for sale as well as other products such as honey-flavored cookies and breakfast cereal with honey.

The National Honey Board partnered with the filmmakers, DreamWorks, to develop holiday recipes made with honey. These include sauces, candy, and nuts.

The Blade tested Chocolate Walnut Fudge, which is an easy and delicious recipe. Made with sweetened condensed milk, it's a recipe you don't want to overcook. (Recipe on page 2.)

For Honey Spiced Nuts: Place 1/2 cup pure honey, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a heavy pan and heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and cook to 235 degrees. Stir in 3 cups nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, etc.) and continue to stir 4 to 5 minutes until nuts are glazed. Pour onto parchment paper or buttered foil and spread into a single layer to cool. Store in an airtight container.

The National Honey Board has advice on how to cook with honey.

For sauces, marinades, and salad dressings, substitute pure honey for up to half the granulated sweetener in a recipe.

To bake with honey, use pure honey for up to half the granulated sweetener in a recipe.

For each 1 cup of honey used:

•Reduce any liquid by 1/4 cup

•Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

•Reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees.

There are more than 300 different types of honey in the United States, each with a unique flavor and color that are influenced by the types of blossoms the bees visit when searching for nectar. Location and climate also affect the type of honey.

The flavors and colors can range from mild to richly bold and from water white to dark amber brown. I even have an avocado honey in my pantry that has a slightly lime green hue. As a general rule, light-colored honeys are milder in taste and dark-colored honeys are stronger.

Remember that honey (and corn syrup) is not recommended for children ages 2 and under.

Cookbook author Diane Rossen Worthington in Seriously Simple Holidays (Chronicle, $24.95) advises that honey be included in the holiday pantry. While the most popular types are clover honey and orange honey, she looks for lavender, sage, white truffle, or wildflower honey at specialty-food stores and farmers' markets. All honeys should be stored in tightly sealed containers although they will eventually crystallize and harden, she says. To soften the honey, place the jar in a bowl of hot water.

The moral of this story is that honey can be used to bring sweet and spice to many recipes.



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