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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Unrefined honey and Honey Snaps

At the university where I work every Thursday is market day. On a nice sunny day it's a pleasant way to spend some time after you go out to buy your morning caffe latte. To be honest, there's not a lot there that really grabs me; there's a reason it's known to many as the 'Hippie Market'. There's lots of beads, tie-dyed scarves and used saucepans sold from the back of Kombis by people in crochet hats, but there are some great second-hand book stalls (I bought a hardcover of the epic A Suitable Boy for $14!)
The most exciting thing for me last week was that the Honey Man was there. I first saw him the day I came for my job interview, and made a note that if I got the job, I'd keep an eye out for him. Each week I looked, but he didn't come back until last week.

The honey man sells raw, unfiltered, organic honey from the Yellow Mallee Gum - a Eucalypt from North-Western Victoria. I don't know if he keeps the bees himself, but after tasting his honey I want to find out more about him. His honey is 'strained at beehive temperature' and 'retains all the natural goodness of pollen, propolis and enzymes' and it tastes amazing. It's dark and cloudy with a grainy texture full of little 'bits' - bits of beeswax? pollen? It's almost crunchy! I don't know, but it made me realise how much honey with texture tastes so much better than the clarified stuff. And the flavour - wow! I stuck my finger in for a taste when I got back to my desk, and for hours afterwards whenever I moved my hand I could smell the honey. I'm sure my workmates were sneaking worried looks at the weird girl who kept sniffing her fingers. It reminds me of the of the pieces of honey in the comb my grandmother used to to buy when I was a child.
And what makes it even more of a winner? Half a kilo of his honey will cost you only $4.95!! Amazing. .

Tasting honey like this reaffirms how much I don't like the Capilano honey they sell in supermarkets. That stuff is overly sweet and refined, whereas this natural stuff has an aftertaste of trees and beeswax and nature in general. I only wish Mr Honey Man also sold the Mole Creek Tasmanian Leatherwood honey, which is my favourite. If you haven't tasted it, imagine the strongest, woodiest honey you can imagine. Fabulous. But it's expensive.

So, while sitting at my desk that afternoon I felt inspired to bake something with my new honey as soon as I got home. The best place I thought of for honey recipes was the roundup on Baking Sheet from the recent Sugar High Friday she hosted. And it was there that I found just what I was looking for, from a fellow Australian blogger - Grab Your Fork. Her recipe for Honey Snaps looked really simple and had so few ingredients that the flavour of the honey would really show through.

I seem to have hit a winner with really easy recipes recently, as these were just made in a saucepan and dolloped onto a cookie tray. Even with the most unsteady dolloping hand, the biscuits spread into perfect circles during cooking. I put a blanched almond on each biscuit and, taking them to work the next morning, everybody was impressed by how professional they looked. This is a perfect case of elegant simplicity! These are thin and fairly delicate with a really crispy texture and would be perfect for those oocasions which require fine bone china teacups and saucers. They taste a little bit like a ginger snap, due to the ground ginger - which I actually doubled. And as Augustus Gloop commented, they are incredibly addictive. I found it hard to stop at 2....or.....erm....5. It's the perfect thing if you want to show off your good honey.
Read on for the recipe:

Honey Snaps
With thanks to Augustus Gloop

50g butter
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

-Melt butter, sugar and honey together in a saucepan.Remove from heat.
-Add flour, baking powder, ginger and stir until mixture is smooth.
-Drop teaspoon lots onto a cold oven tray, leaving enough room for the mixture to spread to double its size.
-Bake at 180C for ten minutes or until golden.
-Leave on tray for a few minutes to cool before removing to a wire rack.
Makes 20.

August Gloop notes: Make only enough batter that you can bake at a time, as the mixture can dry out and reheating just cooks the dough. However, the recipe is so easy to make up that doing repeat batchs of dough is no trouble.


  • If only I could give you some idea of the pleasure that reading your posts gives!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/03/2005 11:37:00 pm  

  • These look lovely, i will have to try them. I used to love the one Arnott's made but they don't seem to sell them any more.Thanks for the recipe

    By Blogger suburbansider, at 9/03/2005 11:39:00 pm  

  • Ooooo, these look delicious. I think I will have to try them soon. We usually get the Tasmanian Leatherwood from DJs, but I'll have to try the one you suggested when we run out of our current tin.

    By Blogger cin, at 9/04/2005 12:13:00 am  

  • Looks great, Niki. These sounded great in the original roundup, but I am really tempted by them now. Great photos!

    By Blogger Nic, at 9/04/2005 01:44:00 am  

  • Lovely - both the honey and the cookies - YUM!

    By Blogger Cerebrum, at 9/04/2005 07:49:00 pm  

  • Hi Niki, that honey sounds fantastic. $4.95 for half a kilo of "real" honey is a great price. I'm really stingy about honey! I mostly just use it on top of Weet Bix, so I always buy Home Brand :)

    The biscuits look great too!

    By Blogger Kelly, at 9/05/2005 09:00:00 am  

  • They're great aren't they? And so easy too. As always though, yours look infinitely classier than mine! lol

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/05/2005 10:04:00 am  

  • Owen - If you only knew what warm, fizzu feeling that comment gave me! What a compliment.

    Suburbansider - I didn't know Arnotts used to make a honey snap. Can you tell me more? Sound(ed) interesting.

    Cin - I think Tasmanian honey, whoever makes it, would be excellent. It's got such a distinctive taste.

    Nic - definitely tempting! Quick, easy and very effective and elegant. Perfect!

    Zarah Maria - yummy honey! Thank you.

    Kelly - I find that supermarket honey seems to burn my throat with its sweetness, but in the past few years I've lost some of my tolerance for sweet things. It's really weird. I still love sweets, but I'm often complaning about how overly sweet many things are now!

    AG - I think these look classy no matter who makes them! They're that kind of bic!

    By Blogger Niki, at 9/07/2005 10:51:00 am  

  • thank u thank u thank u i have been trying desperately to find the arnotts honey snaps as i used to love them but they don't seem to exist - can't wait to try these! also do you know how i could get a hold of the yellow mallee gum honey? It sound beautiful - but i am in NSW...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/17/2005 08:09:00 am  

  • Anon - I've never heard of the Arnott's ones. Where have I been all my life!?
    Unfortunately, I don't know where you might get the yellow Mallee gum honey. This man keeps his own hives and strains the honey himself, to sell at a health food store in Hurstbridge outside Melbourne and at the uni market where I get it; so he is a very small time producer. The only thing I can suggest is to find some local health food shop or gourmet produce-type store.
    But, I learnt recently that the subtle flavours and aromas of honey are lost when it is used in baking, so it's best to use a cheap supermarket honey if wanting to make honey biscuits or cakes.

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/17/2005 10:51:00 am  

  • Thank you so much!

    I've been hunting a decent recipe since Arnotts discontinued their Honey Snaps.

    I can't wait to try this out tonight.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/21/2006 05:51:00 pm  

  • I don't know if I stuffed up but these are nothing like the arnotts honey snaps and personally I thought they were that good I threw them out (maybe I stuffed up though?)

    By Blogger Unknown, at 6/18/2007 02:56:00 pm  

  • Everytime im at the shops, im ALWAYS looking for "arnotts honey snap bisciuts;" even though i know they dont make them anymore! 10 yrs on and im still looking.. Now i can make my own..
    We use to make the biscits into pods and fill them with condensed milk and then a dollop of cream!
    thanks again!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/23/2008 11:07:00 am  

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