Cookies and Bars, Desserts

Oh, Honey!

Kate’s Pantry at Union Street

My mom tells a story about when I was a baby and she had to leave me with a sitter. I was freaking out, crying and carrying on and making her feel so desperate that the babysitter started spooning honey into my mouth. Apparently this worked, because she kept on doing it right up to the moment that my horrified mother walked in the door. Honey is not for babies (there is a slight risk that honey can be contaminated with the spores of  botulinum, not a concern for anyone older than one year of age).

Honey is a miracle of nature. When I imagine all those bees sucking up tiny slurps of nectar, then flying home, placing it in a honeycomb cell and fanning it with their tiny wings to concentrate it, it just seems unbelievable!  I try to keep this in mind as I greedily devour honey by the spoonful.
The Annapolis Valley produces some really lovely honeys.  Many beehives are placed in apple orchards to aid in pollination, and our honey often contains the nectar of the flowers of these and other fruit trees, plus berries and wildflowers.  I love the honeys (and the beautiful packaging!) produced by Cosman and Whidden and Foote Family Farm.
I used to live on Saltspring Island, hippie mecca on the West Coast of Canada. My favourite coffee shop made a popular stoner snack called the E-Ball, and when my aunt Kate opened her beautiful coffee shop next door to our restaurant, I wanted to recreate them for her. They are full of honey and peanut butter, packed with fruit, and yes, dipped in chocolate. Skip the dipping if you like, it’s a real pain in the ass (though it does hold the ball together nicely) and instead add 1 cup of chocolate chips to the mix.
Energy Balls 
1 C. Peanut Butter
1 1/2 C. Oats
1 1/2 C. Sunflower Seeds
1 C. Raisins
1 C. Dried Cranberries
1/4 C. Honey
1/2 C. Coconut
1 C. Chocolate Chips  
Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop up the “dough” and roll it into a ball.  Place in the fridge while you melt the chocolate.  Get out a medium sized pot and add a couple inches of water.  Bring that to a boil, then place the chocolate in a metal bowl that just fits on top of the pot.  Stir it a bit as it melts, but be careful that no water gets in.  Dip each ball into chocolate to coat, shake off excess and place on tray.  Refrigerate to set.