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Honey Do

Honey Don’t Because honey can contain spores of clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that can make babies dangerously ill, raw honey should never be fed to children under 12 months old. Anyone with an immunodeficiency should also avoid raw honey. The mature digestive systems of healthy older children and adults can handle exposure to this bacteria, making raw honey safe for most.


Packed with health benefits and boasting a better sweet than regular sugar, honey is one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts and should stay on your cooking “to do” list.

Honey’s sweet. We all know that. But it’s got plenty more going for it too. In fact, its very sweetness is more — more than the one-dimensional saccharine flavor of refined sugar. Its distinct taste is layered, complex, and it’s different depending on which bees made it and which flower nectar they were sippin’ on. The flavor of honey can vary greatly even from one neighborhood to the next, so just imagine the diversity in honey harvested all around our state.

From spreading it on white bread opposite peanut butter for a sandwich that surpasses your average PB&J, stirring a spoonful into hot tea or making a sticky-sweet glaze for grilled meats, honey is as versatile as it is delicious.

It’s also packed with nutrients our bodies need like vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3; minerals; enzymes; and antioxidants. It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties too. This, combined with its taste and countless kitchen uses, gives it high culinary value.

But not all honey is equal. Only raw honey is the real liquid gold. The next time you need some, take a closer look at what you’re buying. The honey you see in the grocery store may not always be 100-percent honey; some of it includes other ingredients. Plus, some honey has been pasteurized, which destroys most of its health-benefitting substances. On the flipside, raw honey is un-pasteurized and un-processed and retains all of its inherent good stuff. Raw honey has been proven to aid in digestion, strengthen your immune system, balance blood sugar and soothe a sore throat, too.

And while raw honey is great, local raw honey is even better since it contains pollen that is specific to where you live — and breathe. Some folks claim this helps lessen the effects of seasonal allergies. Plus, you’re supporting area farms and beekeepers, so it’s a win-win.

If all of this info makes you want to increase your honey consumption, you’re in luck! We got a great list of honey recipes from our readers this month.

Cook of the Month:

Victoria Motyka, Baldwin EMC

Victoria Motyka has been baking Ukrainian Honey Cake for decades. She wanted to make something sweet for her honey (her husband) whose parents came to America from Ukraine. “When we first got married, I wanted to be able to cook some dishes that he liked growing up, so I got a few recipes from his mom, and this cake is something she made often,” Motyka said. She quickly learned why the moist, spiced dessert stayed on her mother-in-law’s rotation. “It tastes great, and it’s easy to make,” she said. “It’s not a layer cake, you don’t ice it. It’s kinda their version of a brownie or a snack cake.” It has a lot of flavors, yet the honey still comes through. Motyka particularly likes the raisins, and her family likes it all. “They love it. My grown daughter now makes it herself.”

Ukrainian Honey Cake

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg (or to taste)

Dissolve the baking soda in the sour cream and set aside. Cream the butter and brown sugar; add honey and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing between additions. Mix in the sour cream with baking soda, add the flour a little at a time, mixing slowly, then add the cinnamon and nutmeg (can be adjusted to taste) with one last mix and then fold in the walnuts and raisins. Grease a 9×12-inch baking pan and dust with flour, pour in the mixture and bake in a 325 degree oven for 50 minutes or so. It will be very dark in color when done, so be cautious not to take it out too soon. It is an unfrosted cake but a light dusting of powdered sugar can be used. Note that the walnuts are finely chopped, so be sure to warn anyone who might have a nut allergy.

Cast Iron Skillet Honey Lime Chicken 

  • 1 ½pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup honey
  • Juice of one lime
  • Zest of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat add olive oil. In a small bowl combine cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Rub on chicken and place in skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink and 165 degrees internal temperature. Remove chicken and set aside on plate. Add honey, lime juice and zest, soy sauce and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce heat and whisk until it starts to thicken. About 2 minutes. Add the chicken back to the skillet and coat in the sauce. Garnish with lime wedges.

Mary Rich

North Alabama EC

Salted Honey Taffy

  • 1 pound real honey (about 11/2 cups)
  • Salt, to taste

Bring honey to a boil in an uncovered medium saucepan over medium heat (about 5 to 7 minutes). Continue to boil until honey registers 280 degrees on a candy thermometer (about 10 to 12 minutes). Line a pan with parchment paper and coat lightly with cooking spray. When the honey reaches temperature, pour it onto your prepared pan and allow to cool on the counter for 20-25 minutes. Spray your hands with nonstick spray and break off about a third of the cooled honey. Begin to pull and stretch the honey, continually folding it and working more air into the taffy. As you continue to pull and incorporate air into the taffy, it will start to firm up and become lighter in color. Keep doing this for about five minutes, or until taffy has lightened in color from dark amber to tan. When taffy is tan and firmed up, roll it into several long thin snakes and place these back on your parchment paper lined pan. Sprinkle with salt. Refrigerate pan for 10 minutes then use a knife coated in cooking spray to cut each taffy roll into one inch long pieces. Roll up each piece of taffy in wax paper, twisting the ends to close.

Sierra Joachim

South Alabama EC

Heavenly Honey Cake

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup warm coffee
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch angel food cake pan or bundt cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Make a well in the center to add the oil, honey, white and brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee and orange juice. Using an electric mixer on slow speed, combine the ingredients well to make a thick batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Place the cake pan on a baking sheet and bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Let the cake stand for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan, then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Robin O’Sullivan

Wiregrass EC

Russian Dressing

  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup catsup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

Whisk all ingredients together. Chill and use on favorite garden salad.

Judy Self

Black Warrior EMC

Honey Graham Apple Bars


  • 1 package honey graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 1/4 cups quick oats
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped


  • 8-ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Vanilla, to taste
  • Crumb Topping:
  • Honey graham crackers
  • Melted butter (just enough to make a nice crumble)
  • Cinnamon
  • Walnuts

Directions for Bars:

In a bowl, mix 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, quick oats, flour and cinnamon. In a separate bowl mix coconut oil and honey. Then add the vanilla and egg. Combine with graham cracker mixture. Add the chopped apple and chopped walnuts (reserving some walnuts for the topping). Pour into an oiled 11×6-inch pan and bake at 320 degrees.

Directions for Frosting:

Blend together the cream cheese, honey and vanilla. Frost the bars when they are done baking.

Directions for Crumb Topping:

Combine the leftover graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon and the reserved walnuts. Sprinkle on top of the frosting.

Caleb Pittman

Joe Wheeler EMC

Honey-Balsamic-Hitachi Wings

  • 1 /2 cup honey
  • 1 cup balsamic salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup Siracha sauce
  • 2 dozen wings (drumsticks and wings)

Mix together honey, balsamic and Siracha. Put drumsticks and wings in a Ziploc bag. Shake bag to ensure wings are coated. Store in refrigerator 3 days. Shake bag periodically. To cook in the oven: Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. To cook on a gas grill: Heat two burners on high. Once the grill is hot, turn one burner off and turn the other burner to low. Place wings on no-heat side, cooking for 1 hour. Turn heat up to crisp wings. They can also be cooked in a smoker at 200 degrees for three and a half hours. Crisp under house broiler, if needed. Mix up extra sauce for dipping.

Bill Stone

Baldwin EMC

Honey Jalapeno Salmon

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 large jalapeno, sliced
  • 2 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
  • Oil
  • Salt and black pepper

Combine honey, lemon juice and jalapeno slices in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Brush lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil for about 5 minutes each side, brushing with honey glaze. When cooked, drizzle with remaining glaze.

Julia Gibson

Tallapoosa River EC

Coming up in April…Bread!

It’s time to spice up our recipe selection and you could be a winner! We are looking for fresh, creative recipes from readers just like you. In addition to our monthly Cook of the Month prize, beginning in January, all cooks who submit a recipe will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a gift basket full of Alabama Living merchandise. Take a look at our upcoming themes and send in your favorite recipes today!

Themes and Deadlines

May: Junior Cooks | Mar. 8

June: Heirloom Recipes | April 8

July: Frozen Treats | May. 8

Submit your recipe here.

Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe.