A myriad of honeys certainly abound on supermarket shelves. But Clif Family Solar Grown Honey Spreads definitely stand out. Not only do they pack a wallop of flavor, but they are made with honey specifically harvested from bee hives located on or around pollinator-friendly solar farms.
It’s a concerted effort to encourage both clean energy and biodiversity. After all, flowering meadows planted under solar farms not only create cooler microclimates that improve energy efficiency, but foster thriving beneficial insect populations.
Talk about a sweet win-win.
I had a chance to try samples of three different Solar Grown Honey Spreads ($10 for a 5.5-ounce jar), each smooth, creamy, and thick enough to slather on most anything with a knife.
For added oomph, they are blended with spices sourced from Burlap & Barrel, a public benefit corporation that partners with small farmers to improve their livelihoods.
She is the self-proclaimed “queen of easy-peasy baking.”
And Brooklyn-based recipe developer Jessie Sheehan’s latest cookbook certainly adds another jewel to that crown.
“Snackable Bakes” (Countryman Press), of which I received a review copy, is the type of cookbook that makes baking a treat on a whim not only doable but deliciously satisfying.
The book includes 100 no-nonsense recipes that are simple to follow, require limited equipment, and easy to put together. There’s no stressing over baking “Strawberry Sheet Cake,” “Luscious Lemon Possets,” “S’more Icebox Cake” or “Espresso Ganache Swirl No-Churn Ice Cream.”
I tried my hand at “Strawberry-n-Cream Bar Cookies,” a blondie-like bar cookie that’s flavored with freeze-dried strawberries and white chocolate chips.
Just for fun, I also added some dried rose petals to the dough because strawberries and rose go together nearly as well as peanut butter and chocolate, with the rose accentuating the lovely floral quality of ripe berries.
In a world where opposites increasingly butt heads in conflict, these live in complete harmony.
Two doughs of completely different colors combine to create something far more impressive together.
These are not New York black-and-white cookies, but French ones.
“Parisian Black-and-White Cookies” draw your gaze immediately. They deliver that classic snappy, sandy texture and buttery taste that never go out of fashion.
This fanciful cookie recipe is from “World Food Paris” (Ten Speed Press, 2021), of which I received a review copy, by James Oseland, award-winning cookbook author and former editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine, with writer Jenna Leigh Evans.
This book picks you up and sets you down in the heart of Paris, with its evocative photos of lush city parks, bistro life, stately chateaux, and proud cooks and bakers displaying their delectable handiwork.
There are cakes, which when cut, tumble out a hidden torrent of rainbow sprinkles or M&Ms.
This cake also boasts a surprise center, but a far more sophisticated one.
Cut into it with a fork, and a gush of melty, brilliant-green, matcha-chocolate will flow out instead.
This genius recipe for “Matcha Chocolate Lava Cakes” is from “The Honeysuckle Cookbook” (Rodale, 2020) by Dzung Lewis, a former Bay Area financial analyst who moved to Los Angeles to pursue her passion for cooking with her YouTube channel “Honeysuckle.”
There are several techniques to create the molten center of lava cakes. This one relies on freezing matcha ganache — melted white chocolate mixed with matcha and a little oil — in an ice cube tray until solid. The frozen cube then gets set into the cake batter, so that during baking, the frozen ganache slowly liquifies within the set cake.
Because it allows you to make a cake in about 2 minutes.
Just imagine being able to indulge in a warm, tender cake anytime you feel like it. And an individual one at that, which you don’t have to share — well, unless you’re feeling exceedingly generous.
What’s more, “Chocolate Mug Cake” is gluten-free and paleo.
The recipe comes from paleo pro Michelle Tam, whose newest cookbook, “Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go!” (Andrews McMeel), of which I received a review copy, just hit the shelves.
If you’re familiar with Tam, the former Stanford Hospital pharmacist who has taken the paleo universe by storm, you know that it takes her and her husband Henry Fong about five years to write each of their cookbooks. That’s because they do it all — the recipes, design, photography, and whimsical illustrations. So, when one drops, it’s definitely a reason to rejoice.