There’s a passage in Dragonfly in Amber that always catches my attention when I read it:
“We stayed locked together, not speaking, until my eye suddenly fell on the other small, yellowish lumps that Jamie had removed from his sporran.
‘What on earth are those things, Jamie?’ I asked, letting go of him long enough to point.
‘Och, those? They’re honey balls, Sassenach.’ He picked up one of the objects dusting at it with his fingers. ‘Mrs.Gibson in the village gave them to me. Verra good, though they got a bit dusty in my sporran, I’m afraid.’ He held out his open hand to me, smiling. ‘Want one?'”
I love the sound of these ‘honey balls’, and remember making a hard boiled sweet using sugar, butter and syrup as a child. I wondered whether I would be able to do the same, but using honey, so gave it a shot and what came out were gorgeous sweet, hard, honey balls. They are so tasty and very sweet!
Once poured out you need to give these a few minutes to cool so that you don’t scald the flesh right off your bones, but not so long that they harden – you need to be able to quickly roll them into balls before they do.
I wait till the mixture stops bubbling on the stove, then pour it into a tray or dish. Leave it to cool enough to touch – use a melon baller or apple corer, or just a teaspoon and start on the sides as that’s where it will cool first. Gather from the outsides and work your way inwards, making balls as you go along.
Initially these will be soft, but they will harden. Either way, don’t chew! You’ll lose fillings or teeth if you do!
And while we’re talking about honey… I’m pretty sure Winnie the Pooh would quite like these too!
There’s another way to make these, which is a lot faster: rather than rolling the balls individually, you can wait for sugar mix to stop bubbling (about 20 seconds) and then pour the hot mixture into a silicone mould. If you use essential oils*, you can also add a few drops of Young Living Lemon oil to the mix. I use this emoticon tray as the sweets are a good size for individual lozenges.
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- Pour cold water into a glass. Set next to the oven.
- Prepare a dish for the sugar honey mixture
- Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and turn the heat up
- Bring to the boil and keep stirring. It will bubble and froth. Keep it doing so for about 2 - 3 minutes.
- KEEP STIRRING it will burn really easily. After 2 minutes dip a spoon in and drip a drop of the mixture into the glass. This is how you test for a soft ball or hard ball stage. If it dissolves, it is too soft. If it forms a soft ball that's easily squashed, it's called soft ball stage. If it forms a hard ball, it's called
- For this particular recipe, you want to catch it between the hard and soft ball stages, turn the heat off, and pour into a prepared pan or dish. IT WILL BE HOT NOW
- As it begins to cool, use a teaspoon to scoop out the mixture and shape into balls in the palm of your hand.
- Put on a plate and repeat.