At the Baking with Honey cooking class at the Common Ground in Urbana, Sara and I got to meet Daniel Ferriss and Lauren Komrska, the creators of the UIUC Beekeeping Club. We made Old German Honey Cookies from honey made locally with other interested people from the community. The class aimed to promote the new club, which the student teachers of the class described as “an organization to foster an appreciation for the environment while also building a community that students of all disciplines can participate in”. During the class, we learned about the issues facing declining bee populations. The main culprit to bees dying is called colony collapse disorder—"the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen” (EPA). The reasons CCD happens is still unclear, but fortunately, the rate at which CCD occurs has decreased over recent years. The students in the club installed their bees at the Student Sustainability Farm this semester and are preparing for a successful first season.
On April 7th UIUC’s Beekeeping Club had a class on baking with honey at the Common Ground Co-Op. Since both Jane and I like cookies and bees we jumped at the chance to go. Before we started baking the club members told us a little bit about themselves and what was currently going on in the RSO. As we baked German honey cookies, we talked about the logistics of beekeeping and some of the problems that could occur such as colony collapse or swarming and how to deal with it. Unfortunately there was not a lot of discussion about the benefits of baking with honey or how honey could be used in recipes, however the cookies were so good I figured I’d let it slide. I was delighted to find out that the bees were being shipped to the Student Sustainable Farms later in the week, and despite not going to the “unboxing” I appreciated the invitation to come help. Overall I enjoyed the class and I look forward to seeing what the Beekeeping Club has in store for us!
I attached the recipe below for everyone to enjoy!
German Honey Cookies
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
In a saucepan over low heat, melt together sugar, shortening and honey. Let cool.Mix together eggs, vanilla, baking soda and ginger. Gradually add to cooled honey mixture.Slowly add 4 cups of flour to mixture. Stir until well blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) until golden (about 12-15 minutes).