Sunday, February 26, 2017
Sure, cream honey is delicious “as is”, but if you’re already putting in the effort, why not split the batch and add some flavors?
If you’ve never heard of or made cream honey, then revert back to my recent post on Making Cream Honey, then come back here and learn how to kick it up a notch!
The following provides an overview of popular flavorings and additives for cream honey, as well as recommended amounts and online sources for purchasing these ingredients.
Freeze Dried Fruit
Nuts.com offers a variety of dried, powdered organic fruits that make great additions to cream honey. (Photo from Nuts.com)
Powdered freeze dried fruit mixes well with cream honey to add a whole new dimension of flavor. A little goes a long way, so start with a very small amount and add as you go. In fact, that’s good advice when adding any kind of flavor additive – you can always add more, but you can’t take it out once it’s been added.
- Suggested Ratio: Start with 1/2 tsp per pound and go from there. Better to add less than you think you’ll need since powdered freeze dried fruit will absorb moisture and expand, resulting in a harder product that may be difficult to spread. Use honey that has an 18% moisture content. Higher moisture content will allow for some absorption while still producing a balanced and spreadable product.
- Suggested Flavorings: Taste your honey and think about compatible flavors. Darker, heavier flavored honeys might work better with darker, richer fruits, like cherries or blackberries. Lighter, fruitier honeys might go well with brighter flavored fruits like mango, apricot, or raspberries.
Lorann Oils offers a wide variety of quality flavor oils that work great in cream honey. Shown are three of my favorites.
Flavor oils can be very strong, and some are stronger than others, so only a very small amount may be needed. Remember, you can always add flavor, but you can’t take it out.
- Suggested Ratio: I use about 1/4 tsp per 1 pound of honey. However, start with 1/8 tsp, taste, and repeat until you’ve achieved a flavor level that you’re happy with. For very strong flavors, consider using a dropper to test even smaller amounts.
- Suggested Flavorings: All honey tastes different, so use flavors that are compatible with your honey. Some of my favorites include: Vanilla Nut, Blackberry, Cinnamon Roll, and Orange Cream. Consider using food grade essential oils, like lavender, orange, geranium, or chile oil.
Stir a drop of flavoring with a tbsp. of honey to test new flavors and combinations.
- LorAnn Oils. I get all of my flavor oils from LorAnn Oils because they are top quality, food grade. Even their essential oils are food grade. They also have a huge selection of flavors. Let them know you’re a beekeeper, and the folks at LorAnn Oils will provide a code to access their wholesale prices.
Ground Nuts or Nut Meal
Pecans.com is a quality online source for pecan products, including pecan meal. (Photo from Pecans.com)
Nuts used for cream honey are typically ground into a meal, then mixed into the honey for even flavor and distribution. Then some larger pieces may be mixed in for aesthetics and added crunch. Keep in mind, this will be spread on toast or pancakes, so keep the larger pieces to a medium chop – not too fine, but not too course.
- Suggested Ratio: Start with 1 oz. of nut meal + 1 oz nut pieces per 1 pound of honey. Adjust as you go.
- Suggested Nuts: Pecans are the most popular; however, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews or pistachios might also make good additions. Again, match the nut flavor to the honey flavor.
If making your own meal, then enhance the flavor by toasting the nuts in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes (watch them closely!).
Bring toasted nuts to room temperature before grinding, and be careful not to make nut butter.
- Sources: Most honey professionals leave the nut grinding to the nut professionals. It might be a good idea to start with purchased nut meal. Nut meal can be ordered online from any of the following sources:
Penzey’s has top quality spices and a HUGE selection. (Photo from Penzeys.com)
Dried, ground spices can be delicious in cream honey. Imagine stirring cinnamon cream honey into your morning oatmeal. Yum!
- Suggested Ratio: Again, start very slowly when adding dried spices – maybe a pinch per pound to start, then taste and adjust from there.
- Suggested Spices: Again, compatibility is key. Don’t use overpowering spices in a light floral honey. Try a very small amount of spice in a small amount of honey and taste before plunging it into the full batch.
Use only fresh, high quality spices. Honey is too precious to skimp!
Great additions might include ginger, dried chilies, ground cinnamon, ground powdered vanilla, mint, allspice, anise…or a carefully crafted blend.
- Penzeys – Trusted name in spices and awesome selection! I’m a huge fan.
Some final notes:
- Consider combining flavors, like vanilla pecan, or dried peach w/ cinnamon.
- If you add too much of any flavor type, just add more honey to balance it out.
- When selling cream honey products, remember to include ALL ingredients on the labels, and consider adding an allergen warning if nuts are added.
- Properly processed cream honey can be stored at room temperature. However, it will break down at higher temperatures. Especially on hot days, consider keeping it in a cooler location (i.e. basement or pantry).
- If you have plain cream honey on hand, you can add flavoring by simply whipping it with a blender and adding your flavors. Store the cream honey in a cool (ideally 58 degree) location to allow it to reset.
- Take copious notes and write down your recipes! Note what works, what doesn’t work, additives to honey ratios, and the processes used to make the cream honey recipes. That way every batch will be perfect and consistent.
I hope this info gets you excited enough to experiment with making your own cream honey! It’s delicious, a fun science project to make with kids, and a unique homemade gift for friends and family.
Thanks for visiting, and do share your recipes and pics!