Monday, April 4, 2011

Stovetop Granola and Bee Free Honee, A Vegan Alternative Sweetener. Gluten-free

I was recently asked by the creator of Bee Free Honee to test and review her product on my blog. When I arrived home from vacation, I had a lovely container of honee waiting and ready for me to try.

I haven't used honey in many years. Long before I became even a vegetarian, I stopped enjoying honey and, as it was never really around in our house growing up, I didn't have much of a taste for it to begin with, so cutting it out of my diet was not difficult. Because of this, I didn't really have a recipe at hand with which to test this product, but after a while I finally decided upon granola.

I've tried making granola only one other time in my entire life, back when I first moved out on my own.

It was a disaster.

So, this time I decided to really pay attention to all details and make sure I followed the recipe step-by-step. With a friend's suggestion, I decided to make it in a skillet on the stove instead of in the oven. This turned out to be a successful venture (finally!), so I am able to share it with you below.

I used this recipe from allrecipes.com as my guide, but I switched things around a bit, and finally ended up making the following recipe. Note: when you're making granola on the stove, the process goes FAST! The oats need constant attention, as they ready to burn without a moment's notice, and when you put the fat and sugars together, if you don't stir them up quickly, they, too will want to brown so fast that you'll end up with a black mess. Believe me, although this was eventually a success, it took me three tries to get it just right.



Honee Vanilla Stovetop Granola - Vegan and Gluten-Free
Ingredients:
1 T. canola oil
1 c. oats
3 T. oil or Earth Balance
1 T. Bee-Free Honee
1/8 c. Maple-Flavored Agave Nectar (from Wholesome Sweeteners)
1/2 T. vanilla extract
4 dried figs, chopped into very small pieces

Directions:
  1. Heat oats in oil in cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Stir constantly, until oats are toasted but just before they start burning! Spread out in a separate dish to cool.
  2. Add fat, sugars and vanilla to pan (slowly, they don't splatter!) and stir until well-mixed and melted together.
  3. Pour oats back into skillet and mix very well together. Spread out into other dish to cool.
  4. Once cool, add figs and mix well.
  5. Store in airtight container.
I like to eat mine with soy milk, but it is delicious "dry" as well.
My review of Bee Free Honee:

First of all, Bee Free Honee is VERY sweet; use it in small quantities if you're not looking for more than just a hint of honey flavoring. I liked its thick consistency. Since it's more viscous and sweeter than agave and brown rice syrup, my usual sugar substitutes, I would probably use less of it in any recipes calling for sugar or honey. The amount I used in the above recipe was perfect, but I would not completely substitute all the sweeteners with the honee. Since it blends and melts well, I'm sure it would work great in any baking recipe, or as an addition to your morning coffee or tea.

I like this company because of the owner's interest in producing a sustainable product with minimal waste. The ingredients list is very small (local - to the owner - apples, lemon juice and sugar), and as you can read on the company website, the packaging is locally made and produced. Plus, I received the honee in sustainable packaging. Best of all, no bees were harmed in the making of this new product!

You can find it online (click on the picture above to buy it from Amazon) or in a select few markets in Minnesota and Utah.

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