Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on February 14, 2015

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffle, www.goodfoodgourmet.comHoney…That  little word plays so sweetly on your tongue…It’s the only word in the English language  that describes a sweet food made from nectar AND a sweet term of endearment.

Although I had first incorporated honey into my diet while I was in high school, it was not until I was in my early 30’s (and experimenting with a vegetarian diet) that I discovered its many benefits. What is irrefutable is that it has antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also a rich source of vitamins (Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin, B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid ) and minerals (iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium and phosphorus), and definitely not a coincidence that ancient civilizations revered its life giving benefits. To be honest, I don’t think it’s appreciated enough in today’s society and often cringe when I come across Q&A columns where nutritional authorities state that  ‘honey is a source of sugar’ and ‘sugar is sugar’.

I beg to differ…Honey is definitely not just any sugar…

People have cited being healed from a variety of different maladies after adding honey to their diet. In many cultures it is readily used to help resolve digestive issues such as diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis, but also used to heal infections and reduce inflammation and scarring (especially in burns). I once knew a young woman with the most beautiful and radiant skin I had ever seen. When I asked her what her secret was, she revealed that she made her own scrub from ground oatmeal, honey, lemon and avocado oil and used it on her skin every day!

For the past 30 odd years, I have used honey to replace sugar and other non-nutritive sweeteners — but not all honey is created equal. Both the price and the health benefits of the honey you consume are based on many things. For example, some suggest that the quality of flowers used are important (as in manuka honey) or that the blending of different types of honey from different flowers (polyfloral) is important. Others suggest that the water content is important and that those with higher water content will crystallize forming an undesirable grainy texture. Many judge the quality of honey by its color and suggest that the best honey is lighter in color because it is newly harvested. Darker colors may be a result of long storage or temperature variations that may compromise the quality. The level of filtration may also remove beneficial properties, so those that are less filtered/processed are highly prized.

Many also make the argument between consuming raw versus pasteurized honey.  Raw honey is thicker because of the lower level of filtration and because it is also unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed to retain as many benefits as possible in the final product.  Raw honey can be liquid or solid (creamed). To make sure that your honey is raw, it should say so on the label because there is no regulation (or certification) for honey producers. Raw honey does not only contain the unique blend of vitamins and minerals mentioned above, but it also has two other key beneficial components – bee pollen and bee propolis. Bee pollen is a super nutritious source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, beneficial fatty acids, carotenoids and bioflavonoids which are antiviral, antibacterial and helpful to cardiovascular health. The health benefits of bee propolis are too numerous to mention, however let’s just say two of the benefits on this long list include cancer prevention and anti tumor formation. Researchers say that for optimal health, our daily food should be higher in alkaline forming foods rather than acid forming foods–  and guess what — raw honey is alkaline forming, unlike processed honey which is acid forming.

In recent years, the production of honey has decreased due to the devastating environmental effects on the bee population. The destruction of hives (colony collapse disorder) is being reported around the world . It began in the western bee colonies in North America in 2006, with similar phenomena being reported in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Switzerland and Germany reported similar problems but to a lesser degree. Ireland was the hardest hit with declines in the bee population of greater than 50%. Researchers are not only worried about a decrease in the honey production, but also the threat it poses to decreased pollination of crops around the globe with an estimated value of more than $200 billion. The reasons for the increasing prevalence of CCD remain unclear, but many possible causes have been proposed, such as the use of dangerously toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, infections from parasitic mites, malnutrition due to decreasing habitat, genetic immunodeficiencies, changes in bee keeping habits or a combination of all.

With all of this information, you can imagine how happy I was when I received a package from my friend Ronnie who owns the Burrell Group in NYC. She represents a few wonderful brands which includes a honey manufacturer called Honey Ridge Farms. Their raw honey is creamy and exquisite and one of the very best that I have tried. When you open the jar you find that the company fills each jar to the very top. I love that because you don’t see that with other companies. They are proud of what they sell and you get your money’s worth.

Honey Rodge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

I simply could not wait to try it and used it in everything. My goal was to show the versatility and richness of this product to help others transition from using sugar and sugar substitutes to using honey almost exclusively.  The first recipe I developed was a chocolate truffle recipe that is also almost vegan. I did not use heavy cream as other recipes do, so this one is stable at room temperature and does not need to be refrigerated. Make sure to use a really good unsweetened chocolate and a really nutritious nut butter of your choice. For best health benefits stick to sunflower, almond or cashew butters.

These are so delicious. Perfectly sweet, smooth and creamy – everything you would want in a truffle without all of the bad stuff.  They would make great gifts for your honey on Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion. Oh and one more thing– make sure to make a big, big batch.

Honey Ridge farms Honey Almond Truffles (makes about 14 pieces)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate ( I used Guittard)
3 tablespoons Honey Ridge farms raw honey
3 tablespoons almond butter (make sure it is stirred well)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ to ¾ cup of coating for truffles **choice of coatings can be chocolate jimmies, mini chocolate chips, cocoa powder, hand chopped roasted almonds

Melt unsweetened chocolate carefully in the microwave using a heat-proof bowl. Add in the coconut oil and then the honey and stir it together until it has melted into the warm chocolate.

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Before adding your nut butter, make sure that it is nice and creamy and that the oil has not separated on the top. If it has, stir it all well together before removing the amount you need. Add the 3 tablespoons of nut butter to the chocolate mixture and use a small whisk to combine it until smooth. This is especially important if you find some small stiff pieces in your nut butter.

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Cover this with plastic and let it sit in the refrigerator until firm for about 20-30 minutes. Once it has firmed up, remove the bowl from the fridge and allow it to sit out on your counter top until the mixture comes to room temperature. I do it this way because the mixture does not set up quickly enough. I find that a quick blast in the fridge firms it up, but it needs to come to room temperature before you can scoop out the truffles. Once the mixture is at room temperature, I scooped out 7 uniform pieces using a 1.5 ounce scoop. I then cut each piece in half – you might think that this would be too small, but in actuality, they were the perfect size.

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

I used different coatings – cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips and hand chopped roasted almonds. My favorite was the roasted almonds. If you are going to use the same, make sure to hand chop them. The reason I suggest this is because you can control the size better. If you use a food processor you won’t get uniform pieces, but rather large pieces and almond dust. Hand chopping them provides you with small, manageable pieces that coat the truffle beautifully and are easy to eat.

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Roll each one quickly into a ball and then roll them in your choice of coatings. Offering a nice assortment will not only look pretty on a platter or in a box, but will also help to please everyone.

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Ridge Farms Honey Almond Truffles, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar ronnie April 6, 2015 at 1:29 p

Wow, what a lovely idea and delicious easy use. Thank you for showcasing Honey Ridge Farms in such a beautiful way! Personally, I can’t wait to try this!

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet April 9, 2015 at 1:56 p

You are welcome Ronnie! It is a pleasure to be able to showcase an exceptional product in a variety of different ways…my list could go on forever!

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