A dollop of ricotta on earthy-sweet oat bread is delicious; add a drizzle of sourwood honey and it's elevated to the exquisite. (For a bit of sophisticated heat, top with a sprinkle of freshly-crushed red pepper flakes.). Helen Rosner
Throughout history, we have risked life and limb to climb trees, surrounded by thousands of winged needles with nothing but a smoldering stick, to taste golden honey: that sugary nectar of hardworking bees that takes on the flavor of the flowers and plants that interact with it. While many applications of honey can be satisfied with basic clover honey, it can be fun and worthwhile to hunt down fancy, single-origin honey to use on toast or in tea.
Whether lending floral sweetness to ice cream and cakes, or brightening rich savory dishes like Moroccan braised lamb or herb-glazed salmon, honey is brilliantly versatile. But let’s not forget: we’re not the only ones who benefit from honey and honeybees. The honeybee, who pollinates a whopping $15 billion worth of American crops, is on a rapid decline and scientists are searching for other pollinators, such as the non-honey–producing mason bee, to help an endangered agro-industry.
From Korean rice cakes to roasted apples, here are our 39 best sweet and savory honey recipes to make today.
Created by New York bartender Sam Ross in 2005, this heady concoction of scotch, honey-ginger syrup, and fresh lemon juice is something of a cure-all—hence the name. Like a deliciously smoky, chilled version of a toddy, the drink first delivers an assertive whiff of peat and brine—thanks to a floater of Islay scotch—that gradually gives way to something altogether more subtle and sweet. Get the recipe for Penicillin Cocktail »
Korean rice cakes, known as songpyeon, are half moon-shaped dumplings that are stuffed with fillings like sweet potatoes, chestnuts, red beans, or nuts, and then steamed and served with honey. Get the recipe for Korean Rice Cake »
This over-the-top architectural dessert (also known as brick toast) is popular in tea shops and casual restaurants in Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. The dish is meant to be shared with a friend (or three) and the more color, texture, and height the better, so don’t skimp on the garnishes. Cookies, seasonal fruit, and candy are typical ingredients, but sprinkles, nuts, and flavored syrups are not unheard of. Get the recipe for Shibuya Honey Toast »
True miel de lavande, the honey from Provence produced by bees that feed primarily on lavender blossoms, imparts a creamy texture and distinctive flavor and scent to a simple ice cream. Get the recipe for Lavender Honey Ice Cream »
Chef Chris Fischer fell in love with the simple, robust marinades common to many Japanese dishes after traveling to Japan for work. Here he marinates fluke steaks—have your butcher cut them for you, or substitute flounder or sea bass steaks—in a sticky mixture of soy sauce, mirin, and honey. Get the recipe for Soy-and-Honey-Glazed Fluke Steaks »
These are dream cookies…literally. They came to me in a dream in Paris, the city of sweets. The base is a French shortbread, or sablé, flavored with honey and loose tea. If you have 2-inch baking rings, you can make the cookies in the rings on lined baking sheets instead of using muffin tins. Build the cookies inside the rings, bake, then leave the rings in place for at least 20 minutes before lifting them off, rinsing and reusing. Get the recipe for Honey-and-Tea Jammers »
Adding baking soda to molten sugar creates bubbles that get trapped once the mixture cools. The hardened result has an airy, honeycomb-like structure. Morgenstern’s of New York City adds honey and instant coffee to its version of this candy, which, when crushed up, becomes a bittersweet, crunchy topping that offsets the sweetness of ice cream. Get the recipe for Coffee Honeycomb Crunch »
Although spiral-cut ham comes fully cooked, a low, slow roast will heat it through and caramelize its sticky, spiced glaze. At Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, a ham is glazed with pan drippings, local honey, and fragrant cinnamon and clove for their annual Thanksgiving feast, which they serve to veterans and their families. Get the recipe for Spiced Honey-Glazed Spiral Ham »
Perfumed with honey and citrus, this spiced cake is a classic at Jewish holiday tables. To make this recipe pareve for meat meals, replace the butter for greasing the pan with canola oil. This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue along with Katie Robbins’s story Season of Rejoicing. Get the Recipe Honey-Spice Cake (Lekach) »
A dollop of ricotta on earthy-sweet oat bread is delicious; add a drizzle of sourwood honey and it’s elevated to the exquisite. (For a bit of sophisticated heat, top with a sprinkle of freshly-crushed red pepper flakes.)