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Hot Honey, Sweet-Heat
Spice-infused honey condiments
The ABC television show “Shark Tank” recently aired an episode involving a 16 year old boy and his family from Deming, WA. The entrepreneurial young man had started a company that combines raw honey with a variety of spices, including red pepper & garlic, spicy ginger, chipotle & cinnamon, and habanero & lime. Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and Robert Herjavec, a high-tech mogul were both interested and an offer of $300,000 was on the table for 75% controlling interest in the boy’s company, “Henry’s Humdingers”. Though the deal was ultimately rejected by the family, the exposure from the show has bolstered sales and distribution options for the fledgling condiment company.
Spice infused condiments have been popular for years with chefs looking to create unique flavor profiles for their restaurants and reputations. Popular combinations and unique pairings are all the rage in mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, butter and salt, to name a few. One of the latest entries comes off the heels of the “Sweet & Salty” craze… “Sweet & Spicy”. The sugary kiss of a habanero pepper sounds deliciously dangerous and sets the stage for some truly inspiring combinations. For those adventurous culinarians whom understand the complexities and flavor variations of chili peppers and their spicy cousins, the combinations of flavors and “heat vs sweet” can be an exciting rabbit hole to dive into.
Obviously, honey is a very viscous substance and will require heating in order to thin the honey prior to the infusion process. Using a saucepan on medium / medium low heat would be a perfectly acceptable method… but, perhaps the use of a double boiler would be more appropriate. Bring the double boiler to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and add the honey to the pot. Warm up the honey, stirring gently until the honey becomes easier to stir. It is recommended to use something along the lines of a chopstick or skewer to stir the honey. Add your ingredients, stir for approximately 3-minutes to infuse the spices into the honey. Let simmer for 10- minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour the honey into a jar for storage. Let the honey completely cool.
Where your journey takes you from here is a private affair between you and your imagination. We’ve provided you with a few examples of the basics below, but you should experiment with both the ingredients and the infusion process. Of course, that’s only half the battle… perhaps the more creative aspect of this experiment is what dish you will be pairing your spice-infused honey with.
1 cup raw honey
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 fresh peppers (serrano or jalapeño, etc.), – sliced
1 (4-inch) fresh rosemary sprig
Stir together honey, dried crushed red pepper, kosher salt, sliced fresh peppers, and rosemary sprig in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Cayenne Infused Honey
12 oz / or 1 cup of raw honey
1/2 tsp of cayenne powder
red pepper flakes (or crushed dried peppers)
Bring double boiler to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, add the honey to the pot. Warm the honey, stirring occasionally. When the honey can be stirred easily, add the cayenne powder to taste. Cook on low for 10-minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes into a glass jar. Remove the honey from the heat and pour into glass jar with the red pepper flakes. Allow honey to completely cool then chill for 24 hours. Serve at room temperature.