Honey cake is traditionally served on Rosh Hashana to symbolize a sweet New Year.  And although my recipe for honey cake is tasty, most people are not too excited about this traditional dish. So in an effort to sweeten the new year with honey, I came up with a few recipes that include sweet honey but are bigger "crowd pleasers" than honey cake.

These are so good that we don’t just make them for Rosh Hashana but include them in our repertoire all year long.

Honey and Dark Beer Chocolate Cake
Serves 10

1 cup Guinness MINUS 2 tablespoons  (if you do not have Guinness use another dark beer)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup plus1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup parve sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For Frosting
8 ounces parve cream cheese
1 1/4 cups powered sugar
1/2 cup pareve whipping cream

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease 9-inch spring-form pan and line with parchment paper.
Heat margarine and Guinness in large saucepan until margarine is almost melted, Add honey and blend well until mixture is fully blended. Remove from heat. Whisk in superfine sugar and cocoa. Beat parve sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl; add the Guinness mixture to the mixing bowl. Blend well, then beat in the flour and baking soda.

Pour batter in to pan and bake for the first 20 minutes at 325°F, then increase temperature to 350°F for last 25-30 minutes, or until tester comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

For frosting, beat powered sugar and parve cream cheese together until creamy. Add parve cream and beat until spreadable. Frost the top. Serve.

Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies
Makes 18 big cookies



1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted margarine, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (mine was slightly chilled)
1 tablespoon honey

Coating
2/3 cup finely chopped honey roasted peanuts or roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or coarse sugar or regular sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together peanut butter, margarine, brown sugar, granulated sugar and honey, until creamy, about 1-2 minutes.

Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour until well combined. Place dough in freezer for 15 minutes, stir, and freeze for an additional 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Sift confectioners' sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat confectioners' sugar, peanut butter and honey until well combined. Shape mixture into 18 small balls, and place on a plate. Place plate in refrigerator until ready for use.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a large sheet pan with cooking spray.

Make the coating by stirring together peanuts, turbinado sugar and cinnamon, in a small bowl, until well combined.

Remove bowl from freezer; shape dough into an 11 inch x 2 1/2 inch log. Wrap dough in plastic wrap to shape better. Slice dough into 18 equal pieces. Take each piece of dough, flatten with your hand, place a peanut butter ball in the center, and wrap dough around ball. Roll ball in your hands to shape better. Roll balls in peanut mixture, to coat completely; place on prepared sheet pan. Flatten cookies. Don't flatten too much.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 13-15 minutes, or until edges of cookies are golden brown. Cool 4 minutes on sheet pan, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Lemon and Honey Cupcakes with Lemon Honey Frosting
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes



Cupcakes
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾  teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
½  cup sour cream
¼  cup non-dairy milk, soy milk, or milk
1 ½ tablespoons grated lemon zest
4  tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted margarine, softened
¾ cup honey
¼ cup sugar
3  large eggs
   
Lemon-Honey Frosting
1  cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine, softened
¼ cup honey
1 ½ tablespoon grated lemon zest
4  cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sour cream, soymilk, lemon zest and juice in a small bowl until well mixed.

Beat margarine, honey and sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer for two minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended.

With mixer on low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, then the sour cream mixture. Beat in remaining flour mixture until just combined.

Spoon about ¼ cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove cupcakes from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: beat margarine, honey and lemon zest in large bowl with an electric mixer until creamed, about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in confectioners' sugar until blended. Beat in lemon juice until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow.
Spoon into a large ziplock freezer bag, snip off one corner and pipe onto cupcakes, or just spread frosting onto cupcakes.

Honey Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 cup white or whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins, chocolate chips or butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl, beat margarine with sugar until thoroughly blended. Blend in honey. Blend in egg and vanilla, mixing until smooth. In separate bowl, mix together oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; blend into honey mixture. Stir in raisins or chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool 2 to 3 minutes before removing from baking sheet. Cool completely then store in an airtight container.

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