Baking with Honey

Baking with Honey

Discover the sweet secret to healthier baking - honey! Not only does this natural alternative taste incredible, but it also offers a range of health benefits. Say goodbye to sacrificing your well-being for indulgent treats. Read on to learn why honey is the ultimate substitute for sugar in baking and we'll share tips on how to use it to create your favorite desserts.

Don't worry if you're unsure about making the switch from cane sugar to honey. I've personally found that substituting up to one cup of honey in recipes produces flawless baked goods every time. So go ahead, embrace the sweetness with confidence! With a little experimentation, you can elevate this traditional ingredient to new heights. Experience the joy of baking with honey and delight in healthier, irresistibly delicious treats.

A Sweet Alternative to Sugar

I've found today that I prefer less sugar in most recipes. Honey will burn faster than cane sugar and adds moisture to recipes. Because of this, if a recipe calls for more than one cup of sugar, limit honey replacement to one cup. Use up to a cup of honey, and use organic and unprocessed sugar for over one cup. You may have to run the recipe several times to get it to your taste.

Health Benefits of Honey

Honey is not just sweet; it's also packed with nutrients. Compared to sugar, honey provides many health benefits such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It's rich in amino acids and enzymes that aid healthy digestion and the immune system. Additionally, honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar, meaning it doesn't cause such a dramatic blood sugar spike, making it suitable for people with diabetes. You can use honey in your baking recipes without adding the empty calories found in sugar.

hand rolling chai tea cookies

How to Use Honey in Baking

When using honey in baking, the general rule of thumb is to substitute it one for one with sugar. However, since honey is heavier than sugar, recipes with honey may require slightly fewer liquids to maintain the proper consistency. You can also lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid over-browning. Start by incorporating honey gently into your regular baking recipes and make small adjustments as needed, so you don't alter the texture and taste of your treats. Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of honey if baking soda is not already included in the recipe. Adding baking soda reduces the acidity of the honey, increases volume, and helps prevent burning.

orange and cranberry biscotti made with honey

Types of Honey

There are different types of honey that you can use in baking, each has its unique flavor and taste, so you can experiment with various types to see which one works best for your dessert recipe. Also, it's essential to purchase honey that's pure and natural without added sugars or fillers.

 Blueberry, and Sweet Clover are great for baking. The high heat of baking neutralizes the distinctive flavor notes in varietal honey, so keep things simple here. We typically recommend lighter honey for beverages and fresh foods, but sometimes breaking the rules is ok (and tasty!).

Try Buckwheat, Orange Blossom, or Tupelo honey in baked goods with rich deep flavor. Dark honey adds a note of molasses to rich recipes, which is perfect for decadent dark chocolate sweets.

Save your precious varietal or single-origin honey to use as a finishing touch by drizzling it on warm toast, ice cream, or fruit. Varietal honey will have a distinctive taste; use this to your advantage. Some are floral and light, while others are fruity and mellow. The type of honey you choose can impact the final taste of your recipe, so feel free to get creative.

ginger cookies made with honey

Baked Goods to Make with Honey

Honey is incredibly versatile and can be used in various baked goods. You can use it to make cakes, cookies, muffins, and bread. Honey adds moisture and depth of flavor to your creations. Try making a honey cake by combining honey, all-purpose flour, eggs, and baking powder, and top with your favorite frosting or whipped cream. Honey pairs well with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, so it's perfect for making spiced desserts.

Oil the measuring cup

Using metal or plastic measuring spoons or glass measuring cups, brush with flavorless vegetable oil before filling. The honey will slip right out.

We have also seen crystallized honey work perfectly for baking but reconstitute and cool first. You can warm an entire glass jar of honey by removing the lid and allowing it to stand in water that was just boiled and removed from heat. Overheating raw honey will destroy the pollen and other natural goodness, but baking will do that anyway.

crystallized honey in saucepan on cooktop on wood table at chesterhaven beach farm

When baking with honey

Always bring the eggs, butter, yogurt, liquids and other refrigerated ingredients to room temperature. Set eggs in a bowl and cover them with hot tap water to warm the eggs. They will warm up in about 10 minutes. The batter may curdle or take much longer to incorporate if these ingredients are used while cold.

Honey is measured by weight.

Honey is not weighed by volume. Because honey is heavy, it sometimes falls to the bottom of the batter during baking. To avoid this, warm the honey over low heat until it is thinned but not hot, and thoroughly combine the ingredients by folding from the bottom with a wide spatula. An 11-ounce jar of honey yields a little more than 8 ounces in a measuring cup.

Tips for Baking with Honey

Here are some tips to help you bake with honey successfully.

  • Don't overheat honey, or it will caramelize and burn.
  • Store honey at room temperature and never refrigerate it.
  • Err on the side of caution when using honey in baking, as it can overpower the other flavors.
  • Substitute only up to one cup of honey per recipe; using more than that can significantly change your baked good's taste and texture.

Drop the temperature

Because batters made with honey tend to brown more readily, some recipes with honey do better at a slightly lower (20°F) oven temperature. Also, keep an eye on what's cooking: it might take a little less time when there's honey involved.

Cover the crust edge with foil to prevent browning for baked goods like pies. You can remove this during the last minutes of baking to give the crust a lovely color.

Honey is hygroscopic (takes up and retains moisture)

This keeps bread, cookies, and cakes moist! As a result, you don't need to add as much liquid to your recipes. Cut down on water and wet ingredients; your recipes will be the same.

Baking with honey is an excellent way to reduce your sugar intake while still indulging in sweet treats. Honey adds a distinct flavor and enhances the taste and texture of your baked goods. With just a little experimentation and practice, you can substitute sugar with honey in your baking recipes and achieve delicious results every time. So, go ahead, try out some honey-sweetened desserts, and enjoy the natural sweetness and health benefits of this versatile ingredient.

Baking with Honey tall pin