Sue’s tips for cooking with honey

Sue’s Recipes

Some things about substituting Honey for Cane or Beet Sugar

Please try anything – don’t give up. All great recipes and Chefs start with a good spoonful of curiosity.

  • 1 Tbsp of Honey = 64 calories
  • 1Tbsp of Sugar = 49 calories
Harold McGee

Composition of honey is 17% Water, 38% fructose, 31% Glucose, 1.5% Sucrose, 7% other disaccharides, 1.5% higher sugars, 0.6% Acids, 0.2% minerals.

Sugar is 50% Fructose and 50% glucose.

Sugar Honey Liquid Reduction Baking Soda
1Tbsp 2tsp N/A N/A
2Tbsp 1Tbsp +1tsp N/A N/A
1/4c 2Tbsp+2tsp N/A 1/8tsp
1/3c 4Tbsp N/A 1/4tsp
1/2c 1/3c 2tsp 1/4tsp
2/3c 1/2c 5tsp 1/4tsp
3/4c 2/3c 2Tbsp 1/2tsp
1c 3/4c 2&½ Tsbsp 1/2tsp
2c 1&¼ c 5Tbsp 1tsp

500g of honey is not the same as 500ml of liquid measure. It will not measure equal with weight or liquid. Honey is about 1.3 times the density of an equal volume of water.

Things to note about sugar vs honey in terms of consumption:

  • Honey is easier to digest because the bees have pre digested it.
  • Sugar is higher on the glycemic index
  • Sugar is harder on the liver because the body needs to matabolize refined sugar, this causes fatty liver disease.
  • Sugar creates problems for cholesterol management.
  • Obesity, Cavities and Sugar is very hard on your gut bacteria.

About baking with honey

Honey is about 18% water, it retains more moisture. So reduce your liquid measure in a recipe accordingly.

Also honey baked goods will absorb more moisture out of the air when sitting out in your kitchen or in a cupboard or fridge. Wrap it up tightly if you do not want this to happen.

Baked goods with a natural crunch or typical crunchy – flakey outer shell will not be a good choice for converting over from sugar to honey, but there is never any harm in trying.

Honey is naturally acidic and acid prevents baked goods from rising, so add a small amount of baking soda.

Honey browns much faster in baked goods so reduce your temperature by 25 degrees or prepare to cover half way through the baking process.

Auguste Escoffier

Eau Miellee – Honey water: Disolve some honey in hot water, add a little rum or brandy and a dash of vinegar.

Said that the best quality of honey was that of Hymetus in Greece, and in France that of Narbonne, Gatinais, Champagne and Savoy, Spring honey is superior to Autumn honey.

Honey has been used since the medieval times of Richard II, King of England in 1377-1399. Vegetable fritters dipped in honey. Made weird boiled vegetable dishes sweetened with honey.

French Anthroplogist Levi-Strauss once said of Honey, “So powerful is its gastronomical appeal that, were it too easily obtained, men would partake of it too freely until the supply was exhausted”.

Honey was an important ingredient in both the cuisine and culture of classical Greece and Rome.

For the Greeks, honey was also a food of talismanic significance. They offered it in ceremonies to the dead and the gods, and priestesses of the goddesses Demeter, Artemis, and Rhea were called melissai: the Greek melissa, like the Hebrew Deborah means “bee”.

Honey was used widely in Europe until around 1500, at which point the increasing availability of easily stored cane sugar made it the less attractive alternative.

Culinary uses

Unlike sugar, which is often a hidden ingredient in processed foods, honey is a very visible sweetener; most of it is added to foods by individual consumers. It is the characteristic sweetener in such traditional national foods as baklava, lebkuchen, nougat, torrone, halva, and pastelli, and in such beverages as benedictine, Drambuie and Irish mist.

Although mead has all but disappeared, honey beer is popular in Africa.

Americans use honey in many baked goods not only for its distinctive flavor but also for its improvement of keeping quality.

It can be substituted for sugar – 1 measure of honey is considered the equivalent of 1 ¼ c of sugar, although the amount of added liquid measure must be decreased because honey does contain some water.

Because it is more hygroscopic, or water attracting, than table sugar (fructose is more hygroscopic than sucrose), honey will keep breads and cakes moister than sugar will, losing water to the air more slowly, and even absorbing it on humid days.

Honey in Confection – or Candy

The first foods we would recognize as manufactured sweets were probably thick pastes of fruit and honey.

By middle ages, druggists were preserving various herbs in sugars and may have made the first dragee – a candy dredged in powdered sugar – from almonds moistened with honey, more commonly known as Jordan Almonds.