Crystallized honey is incredible. You should accidentally forget a jar of honey at the back of your cupboard if you want proof. It's delightful stuff. Trust me. Spread it on toast, spoon it on cheesecake, or anything your heart desires. I've been known to spread it directly on pieces of cheese. I also eat it by the spoonful....
The fun thing about crystallized honey is that you can heat it (in the microwave or a saucepan) and the gritty honey will take on its fluid form. Of course, this is only temporary. As it cools, the honey slowly returns to its thickened, texturized form. Remember sugar tends to crystallize, as does honey, because it's such a high concentration of sugar molecules.
Infusing honey with lavender buds
This week, I took a sample of my crystallized honey and infused it with lavender. The lavender enhances the floral perfume and flavor of honey. I infused 2 cups of honey with just a few tablespoons of dried lavender (remember to use food-grade lavender!). The infusing process is easy:
- simply heat the honey in the microwave for just a couple minutes so that it is nice and fluid (about 115°F)
- stir in the lavender
- let the mixture sit, stirring it occasionally.
- When the honey has cooled, simply spoon out the lavender, which at that point has floated up to the surface of the honey.
If your honey recrystallizes, this is the easiest way to get the lavender out, though you may lose some of the honey. Alternatively, you could strain it (after reheating the honey just slightly, so that it is fluid enough to filter through a sieve). If you want an "in your face" kind of lavender flavour, you could infuse the honey a second time with an extra dose of lavender. Up to you!
I used my freshly prepared lavender honey to make adorable lavender honey cakelettes (but obviously you can use your favorite honey straight out of the jar). My recipe is a 1-2-3-4 cake, meaning the ratio of ingredients is 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs. Now obviously, this is half of that, but the ratio remains the same.
Lavender honey cakelettes
- 190 grams (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
- 5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder
- 5 mL (1 tsp) Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- 114 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter room temperature
- 100 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
- 125 mL (½ cup) lavender honey melted if it’s crystallized
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 125 mL (½ cup) whole milk (3.25 % fat)
- 30 grams (2 tbsp) icing sugar
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) skim milk (fat free) or more to reach desired consistency
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) lavender honey melted if it’s crystallized
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare the cakelette pan by generously greasing and flouring it. Set it aside for later.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and honey until it is light and fluffy. You can also use an electric hand mixer for this recipe!
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add one-third the flour, then half the milk, another third of flour, then the rest of the milk, and the rest of the flour, mixing between each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix the batter until all the ingredients are combined.
- Drop the batter into the cakelette pan, filling them two-thirds full.
- Bake for about 15–17 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean (start checking as of 12 minutes). You might want to rotate your pan after 10 minutes to ensure the cakes brown evenly.
- While the cakelettes are baking, prepare the glaze by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside for later.
- Remove the cakelette pan from the oven and set it to cool for just 2 minutes on a wire rack. Then, loosen the cakelettes. To unmold them, invert the pan over another wire rack that is set over parchment.
- When the cakes are still hot, brush them with the glaze. One batch of glaze is just enough to glaze all 32 cakelettes.
- Let the cakelettes cool completely before serving.