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Sweet! Honey recipes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Sweet & savory honey recipes

Honey is a naturally sweet ingredient that can seamlessly replace sugar in many recipes, including both savory dishes and desserts. Because honey has a distinctive taste and is more intensely sweet than sugar, you can actually use less of the syrupy bees' nectar to give recipes a chracteristic sweetness or to balance out the savory flavors of a dish. September is National Honey Month, a month that you can experiment with honey and enjoy its culinary versatility. Here's a quick guide to replacing sugar with honey, plus three delicious honey recipes.

Dish of honey on burlap

Honey is a superior sweetener

Besides taste and being a natural sweetener, there are many good reasons to substitute honey for sugar.

Honey is sweeter than sugar, meaning you can use less of it and cut a recipe's calories. The syrupy sweet bee nectar also provides health benefits that sugar doesn't offer. Additionally, honey won't give you a "sugar high" or resulting crash.

For professional and home cooks, one of the best reasons to replace sugar with honey is that honey keeps baked goods moist longer than sugar.

How to substitute honey for sugar

Unless you follow recipes that call specifically for honey, you may be wondering how best to use honey in recipes that include sugar. It's easy with the following small adjustments.

Honey to sugar ratio: If a recipe calls for less than 1 cup of sugar you can substitute at a 1:1 ratio. For example, use 3/4 cup of honey for 3/4 cup of sugar. However, if a recipe calls for over 1 cup of sugar, replace each cup of sugar with only about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of honey, since honey is sweeter and, in excess, can result in a cloyingly sweet flavor.

Reduce the liquid: Unlike sugar, which is a dry granular substance, honey is a liquid. Especially important in baked goods, for every 1 cup of honey you use, reduce the liquid portion of a recipe by 1/4 cup.

Balance the acid: Honey is naturally acidic. To offset the acidity, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for every 1 cup of honey used in a recipe.

Adjust temperature and cooking time: Honey will turn baked goods golden faster than sugar. Either reduce the cooking time or lower the oven temperature by 20 to 30 degrees F. Until you become familiar with the effects of honey in your baked goods, simply keep an eye on them to avoid burning or over-browning them.

Next page: National Honey Month recipes

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