Kosher Honey: It’s what’s for Rosh Hashanah
Finding the kosher-certified sweet treat in the area is easy
By Penelope Ruekberg
Rosh Hashanah begins this year at sunset on Sept. 28. Along with the traditional blowing of the Shofar to welcome the New Year, many Jewish families will be eating sweet foods in hopes of a sweet year to come.
Since ancient times, honey has had an important place on the Rosh Hashanah table. Dipping apples in honey, baking it into cakes or using it in place of salt on challah reinforces the history of the holiday. Though limited types of honey were available during biblical times, there is a wide range of honey being produced and sold today.
If you keep a kosher household or strive to do so on the holidays, you can find certified kosher honey easily in the Dallas area. Rabbi Shlomo Abrams and his wife Hudy of DATA Far North Dallas and Becky Udman, preschool director at the Torah Day School of Dallas, purchase their honey at the Tom Thumb store at Coit and Campbell Roads.
The Albertson’s at Hillcrest and Arapaho Roads and many area Whole Foods and Central Markets carry kosher honey. Though many of these honeys are manufactured by large national companies such as Gefen and Manischewitz, locally made honey can be found around Dallas.
Burleson’s honey, founded in 1907, is kosher certified and one of the largest Texas honey producers. Located in Waxahachie, it originally produced honey from its own hives and distributed it locally. The company sources raw honey from many different areas across the country, and it is blended and tasted before being packaged and distributed. Burleson’s offers a Clover Blended honey as well as a natural brand with a more robust flavor. The honey is available at most Tom Thumb, Kroger, Albertson’s, Brookshire Grocery and Walmart stores as well as most Costcos in the DFW area. The company’s website at www.burlesons-honey.com offers information on honey as well as a recipes.
Round Rock honey is smaller and completely local, with wildflower honey coming exclusively from the company’s own hives. “Producing wildflower honey is difficult, but it’s more important to focus on quality than on quantity,” said Round Rock Honey founders Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard.
As a smaller producer, Round Rock Honey has been severely impacted by the drought in Texas. “Our honey production this year (in terms of quantity) is not good,” Bouffard said. “The upside is that the honey has more complexity flavor-wise. Like wine, it has more ‘notes’ now than ever before.”
Round Rock honey is generally available at:
• Dallas Farmer’s Market: Every Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and most Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• McKinney Farmer’s Market at Chestnut Square: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
• Coppell Farmer’s Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
• Grand Prairie Farmers Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Keller Farmers Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
• Uptown Farmers Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
• Rockwall Farmers Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
For more information on the company, visit www.roundrockhoney.com.
Another source of Texas honey is RangeHoney™. Based in Weston, the company offers honey and honey-based products including candies, sauce and salsa, in case you’re preparing a Texas style Rosh Hashanah feast! Information can be found on the company’s website at http://rangehoney.com.
As an aside, 100 percent pure, raw honey is generally considered kosher. However, most honey purchased in grocery stores has been processed with non-kosher flavorings added. Be certain that the product is certified as kosher.
Whether you want your honey kosher or raw, blended or single source, there are plenty of options to usher in the New Year with this sweet treat.
How dipping apples in honey originated
By Sybil Kaplan
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Among the familiar customs of Rosh Hashanah is the dipping of apple pieces in honey — but what is its origin?
King David had a “cake made in a pan and a sweet cake” (II Samuel 6: 15, 19) given to everyone. Hosea 3:1 identifies the “sweet cake” as a raisin cake.
Honey also may have been used in the cake, but the honey of ancient eretz Yisrael was made from dates, grapes, figs or raisins because the land at the time had no domestic bees, only Syrian bees. To extract honey from their combs, it had to be smoked. Still, honey was of importance in the biblical times because there was no sugar.
During the Roman period, Italian bees were introduced to the Middle East, and bee honey was more common.
The Torah also describes Israel as “eretz zvat chalav u’dvash,” the land flowing with milk and honey, although the honey was more than likely date honey, a custom retained by many Sephardic Jews to this day.
Today, Israel has some 500 beekeepers who have some 90,000 beehives that produce more than 3,500 tons of honey annually. Kibbutz Yad Mordechai is the largest producer of honey — 10,000 bottles a day.
According to an article from a few years ago, the average Israeli eats 125 apples and 750 grams of honey a year, mostly around the High Holy Days.
Among Ashkenazim, challah is dipped in honey instead of having salt sprinkled on it for the blessing, then the blessing is given over the apple, “May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year,” which is dipped in honey.
Dipping the apple in honey on Rosh Hashanah is said to symbolize the desire for a sweet new year. Why an apple? In Bereshit, the book of Genesis, Israel compares the fragrance of his son, Jacob, to “sadeh shel tappuchim,” a field of apple trees.
Scholars tell us that mystical powers were ascribed to the apple, and people believed it provided good health and personal well-being.
Some attribute the using of an apple to the translation of the story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit that caused the expulsion from paradise.
The word honey, or “dvash” in Hebrew, has the same numerical value as the words “Av Harachamim,” Father of Mercy. Jews hope that God will be merciful on Rosh HaShanah as He judges us for our year’s deeds.
Moroccans dip apples in honey and serve cooked quince, which is an apple-like fruit, symbolizing a sweet future. Other Moroccans dip dates in sesame and anise seeds and powdered sugar in addition to dipping apples in honey.
Among some Jews from Egypt, a sweet jelly made of gourds or coconut is used to ensure a sweet year and apples are dipped in sugar water instead of in honey.
Honey is also used by Jews around the world not only for dipping apples but in desserts. Some maintain in the phrase “go you way, eat the fat, drink the sweet,” sweet refers to apples and honey.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist and food writer in Jerusalem.
Chicken with Honey Fruit Sauce
- ¾ cup apricot jam
- 1½ cups orange juice
- 1½ cups red wine
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoons thyme
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- 6 ounces apricots
- 6 ounces prunes
- 3 to 4 pounds cut-up chicken
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking dish. Place chicken parts in dish. Set aside.
Place apricot jam, orange juice, red wine, ginger, garlic powder, thyme and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to reduce to 3 cups.
Stir in corn starch and water and blend. Add apricots and prunes. Pour over chicken. Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes or until chicken is done. Makes 6 servings.
Poppyseed Honey Dressing
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- ½ cup oil
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Beat honey, mustard and vinegar in a bowl or shake well in a jar with a lid.
Add oil and poppy seeds and shake some more. Use in a salad with mixed greens and fruit such as grapefruit. Makes about 1 cup.
Apple and Honey Cake
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup sugar or sugar substitute
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 3 cups grated, unpeeled apples
- 2 eggs
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup non-dairy creamer or pareve whipping cream
- ½ cup honey or honey substitute
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a bundt pan.
In a mixer or food processor, blend flour, baking soda, salt, sugar or sugar substitute, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add apples.
Add eggs, vanilla, oil, non-dairy creamer or whipping cream, and honey and blend slightly. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan.
Sweet treats for a sweet New Year!
By Annabel Cohen
Whenever I hear ABBA’s song “Honey, Honey,” I think about Rosh Hashanah. Nature’s sweetest natural product comes ready to go, right from the hive and is THE honorary New Year holiday food.
Sweets filled with honey, apples (or fruits of any kind) dipped in the golden stuff, put the wishes for a zeesen yar or sweet year right where the mouth is.
The following recipes use honey and other ingredients traditional to Rosh Hashanah. The apples and honey used when celebrants enter a home are, as aforementioned, the most symbolic of the holiday. These are often combined with flour and oil, nuts and cinnamon and served as delicious finales to sweet and savory meals. A simple pear cake is the just right, not-too-sweet finale — perfect with that cup of coffee. Or if you feel that no meal is complete without chocolate, a simple no-bake chocolate tarte is just the thing. And a honey cake — sticky and sweet — is always apropos. Honey, honey, how you thrill me! But if it doesn’t thrill you as much, use agave syrup or brown-rice syrup in place of the honey.
This year when you prepare your holiday meal, know that what you are serving leaves impressions not just on your immediate family but on future generations, because what you cook may become a family tradition.
If you haven’t yet established a personal traditional dessert, try one of these. Maybe you’ll be remembered as the one who made the best Rosh Hashanah sweets; the sweets that were a cut above the rest.
Pear, Honey Pecan Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups very ripe Bartlett pears, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1½ cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, or Bundt pan or tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, salt, ginger and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, honey, oil, eggs and vanilla and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until uniform.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat until uniform. Add pears and nuts, mix until uniform.
Transfer to prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes (45 to 50 minutes for a 9 x 13-inch pan) or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve with whipped cream (add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of pear brandy to the whipped cream) or drizzled with chocolate sauce, if desired. Makes 12 or more servings.
My Favorite Honey Cake
This is my personal favorite honey cake — spicy, dark and heavy with a complex and distinct coffee flavor.
- 3½ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup honey, any type (except very dark honey)
- 1½ cups strong coffee
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel or zest
- 1 cup raisins, any kind
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt pan or other tube pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.
In another bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and oil. Add the sugar, honey, coffee and juice; beat until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture until just incorporated and a thick batter is formed. Stir in the grated peel and raisins.
Transfer the batter into prepared pan and bake for 70 to 90 minutes, depending on your oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool at least 20 minutes before turning over onto a cake plate. Let cool completely before sprinkling with powdered sugar, if desired. Makes 20 servings.
Rugalach with Cherry Pecan Filling
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (optional)
- 2½ cups flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ cups pecans
- 2 cups cherry jam or preserves (pureed in the food processor if there are whole cherries)
- 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
- Sugar for sprinkling over the rugalach
- Honey, on the side, for drizzling over the rugalach
Make dough: In a large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese and sugar. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Transfer dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap and form into a ball with floured hands. Wrap the dough and chill for 2 or more hours, up to 2 days.
Make the filling: In a food processor, combine sugar, cinnamon and pecans and pulse until nuts are ground fine (do not over-process).
Make the rugalach: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Cut dough into 4 pieces. Place one piece of the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a large ball. Flatten the ball into a disk. Roll the dough into a circle, about 1/8-inch in thickness or less (thinner is better). You may need to rub a bit of flour on the rolling pin to prevent sticking.
Place the preserves in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute or more, until melted. Brush the dough with the melted preserves and sprinkle with ¼ of the ground-nut mixture.
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 wedges, like you would a pie. Begin rolling each rugalach from the wide part of the triangle toward the point. Shape the rugalach into a slight crescent shape by turning the points toward each other. Place the rugalach on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining triangles.
Continue making rugalach until the baking sheet is filled, leaving about ½-inch between them. Brush egg wash over the crescents and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve with honey on the side. Makes 48 large rugalach.
No-Bake Chocolate Almond Tarte with Chocolate Honey Crust
- 2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (such as “Famous” brand)
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine (½ stick), melted
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup non-dairy whipping cream (such as Rich’s Whips) or heavy whipping cream
- 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Spray 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom or pie plate with nonstick spray. In a food processor, combine graham crackers with butter and honey, process until fine crumbs form. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom of tart pan. Chill until ready to use.
Heat cream and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted. Add cocoa powder and almond extract; stir until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over crust. Sprinkle almonds over the filling. Chill at least 1 or more hours. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before removing from tarte pan (or serve from pan). Cut into thin wedges. Makes 12 servings.
Apples and Honey Crisp
- 3 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon apple brandy (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon. ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup oats, instant or other
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
- 1 cup caramel sauce (homemade or ice cream topping)
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread in an 8-cup or slightly larger attractive baking dish (this is the dish you will serve the crisp out of — I like to use a soufflé dish for this).
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon; stir well. Drizzle in the butter and stir in until incorporated. Sprinkle the topping over the apples and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Heat the caramel sauce slightly and drizzle over the crisp. Serve the crisp warm or at room temperature. If you’d like to serve the crisp in individual dishes, spoon carefully into dessert bowls or large wine glasses and drizzle the caramel sauce over. Makes 8 to 10 servings.