Tips for Cooking with Honey

Honey is a liquid sweet, and unlike sugar, it adds a special flavor to foods. It tends to absorb moisture, which enables baked goods to stay fresher for a longer time.

There are a few basic cooking techniques which are helpful to know when preparing food with honey.

• Substitute the honey cup for cup of sugar, but decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup.

• If you find that honey is too sweet cup for cup of sugar, substitute ¾ cup of honey for each cup of sugar and reduce the amount of liquid by 2 to 3 tablespoons.

• Measure the honey in a cup after the oil or fat in a recipe, or coat the cup or spoon with oil. This keeps the honey from sticking to the cup so you get all the honey out.

• Honey is acidic. In baked goods where as much as 1 cup of honey is being substituted for sugar, if no baking soda is called for, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda.

• Honey works best in most recipes as a liquid. It can then be added slowly to the other liquid ingredients in the recipe.

• Crystallized honey can be measured cup for cup of liquid honey; the two can be used interchangeably in cooking. But crystallized honey tends to make baked goods denser. What I do is measure the crystallized honey in a metal measuring cup, put the metal cup in a pan of warm water, double-boiler style, until the honey liquifies. Then I add the liquid honey to my ingredients — after it is cooled.

• When substituting honey for sugar in a recipe, bake the food longer and at an oven temperature 25°F. lower than the original recipe called for.

• Most honey breads and cakes improve in flavor and texture if they are baked and wrapped a day before eating.