That will be the question of our day. Our soliloquy is rather simple and less dramatic than Hamlets profession of if it is better to live or die. Finding a beekeeper that has both wax and honey to sell may seem very easy. But alas it has been rather difficult to find... Today we will be looking at wax. The beautiful golden yellow substance that we hope to turn into jar candles and maybe just maybe hand dipped tapers. We also use beeswax in our deodorant, lip balms, body and shave butters and some of our soap.
After our visit with the beekeeper we will need to locate another hive that has a few gallons of honey available. We would like to add lavender and orange honey to our line up. There are also ideas of honey candies and honey lotions.
Taking a step back to Hamlet and Elizabethan England, we have been digging for recipes that use honey. Maybe Hamlets life would have been easier to contemplate had he been pondering over a Honey Cake:
Elizabethan Honeycake Recipe
Elizabethan Almond Cakes- Take one peck of flower, one pound of sugar, one pound of almons, beaten & strained with as much ale as will stiffen your paste, put theirto three spoonfulls of barme, & a few annisseds, then woork it well together, then make it in little cakes, prick them thick for rising & bake them. Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book, 1604
Makes about 12 buns
Prep: 10 minutes Rising: 1.5 hour, minimum Baking: 15 minutes
- up to 3 1/2 cups flour
- 3 Tbs. honey
- 2 tsp. Sugar (we would use our Anise Finishing Sugar)
- 3 Tbs. ground almonds
- 1 packet yeast, or 2 1/4 tsp.
- 1/2 pint ale (1 bottle)
- pinch of salt
- honey for soaking, probably around 1/2 cup at least
Dissolve the yeast in the warmed ale, and leave to froth up. Grind the almonds and sugar in a food processor, then combine with the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a small well in the mixture, and pour in the yeasty ale. Adding the flour a bit at a time, work everything all together until it is a nice smooth, pliable consistency leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size. After it has risen, knock it down and knead it for a few minutes before shaping it into around 10 small buns.
Allow the buns to rise again for at least 15 minutes, then bake in a preheated oven for 10-20 minutes at 375 degrees F. The buns should be just slightly golden.
Using a small paring knife, cut a small hole (about 1/2″) in the tops of the buns, poking well down into the cake, but taking care to not poke all the way through. Take a small spoon and carefully fill each hole with honey. You may need to do this several times as the honey soaks into the cake. Put in at least 1 Tbs. honey per cake.
Or how about this recipe for ginger bread
Course Ginger Bread--Take a quart of Honey clarified, and seeth it till it be brown, and if it be thick, put to it a dash of water: then take fine crumbs of white bread grated, and put to it, and stir it well, and when it is almost cold, put to it the powder of Ginger, Cloves, Cinamon, and a little Licorice and Anise seeds: then knead it, and put it into a mould and print it. Some use to put to it also a little Pepper, but that is according unto taste and pleasure.--Gervase Markham, The English House-wife Gingerbread was traditionally boiled rather than baked. This recipe is not significantly different from medieval recipes found in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century manuscripts, except for the licorice-a brilliant touch. Loaves of gingerbread, like squares of quince and other fruit pastes, were often stamped with decorative designs. You may wish to experiment with a cookie or butter press on the top of this little loaf while it is still warm and malleable. 1. In the top of a double boiler, heat honey. Add spices except anise seeds, and stir to blend. 2. Add bread crumbs and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Mixture should be thick and moist. 3. Place gingerbread on a large sheet of waxed paper. Fold up sides of paper and mold dough into small rectangular shape. 4. Sprinkle anise seeds on top and press them gently into dough with the side of a knife. 5. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. 6. Serve gingerbread at room temperature in thin slices. To The Queens Taste by Lorna J. Sass "Desserts" ISBN--0-87099-151-5
Sounds like a baking project for this winter!
Or maybe we should just Let them eat Cake!
See you all at the Market!