St. Ambrose and the Bees Honeycomb Cake


The feast of St. Ambrose, patron saint of beekeepers, bees, and candlemakers, is celebrated on December 7th. Here is a recipe for Honey Bun Cake baked in a Honeycomb Cake Pan in honor of St. Ambrose, the honey-tongued doctor.


St. Ambrose and the Bees Honeycomb Cake
adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor

Cake:
  • baking spray for cake pan
  • 1 package (18.25) oz plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs

Filling:
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)

Sugar Glaze:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Note: I only used half of the glaze after baking the cake in the Honeycomb Pull Apart Cake Pan. This cake can also be baked in a 13-by-9 inch baking pan. 

Honeycomb Pull Apart Cake Pan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat pan with non-stick baking spray. Set the pan aside.

Place the cake mix, sour cream, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well blended.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula.

Tip: If using the Honeycomb Pan, don't fill the pan more than 3/4 of the way full, otherwise you may end up needing to remove a scoop or two of batter while it's baking to prevent it from overflowing! ;) 

Add the filling. Drizzle the honey on top of the batter, then sprinkle on the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans if desired.


With a dinner knife, swirl through these ingredients blend them slightly. Place the pan in the oven. 

Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 38 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the glaze.  


For the glaze, place the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl and stir until the mixture is well combined. 


Flip the Honeycomb Cake onto serving platter and pour the glaze over the top of the hot cake. 

Note: If you used a 9x13 pan, leave the cake in the pan and pour the glaze over the top of the cake, spreading it to the sides with a spoon. 

Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes more before serving warm. 

Saint Ambrose and the Bees from Brother Wolf, Sister Sparrow: Stories about Saints and Animals



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Super Simple St. Andrew Snack


This is a really quick and easy snack for the feast of St. Andrew,  the apostle (November 30). More than likely you have ingredients around the house that will work and it takes just a minute to make. Take two straight sticks, like pretzels or celery (or carrots, peppers, cucumber), dab a bit of peanut butter (or cream cheese or other spread) in middle and stick together to form an X shape. That shape is referred to as St. Andrew's cross or Saltire. According to tradition St. Andrew was crucified on a cross of that form (called a crux decussata). 

And don't forget the St. Andrew Novena or Christmas Anticipation Prayer that starts this day also. This beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas.


St. Andrew Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.


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St. Clement's Honey Clementine Vinaigrette Salad

Clementine Vinaigrette 

Ingredients:
3 clementines
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions: 
Juice two of the clementines. Save the third Clementine for the zest (and Clementine segments for salad). Add the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and pepper to the juice. Slowly stir in honey and oil until thoroughly mixed. Zest the third Clementine and add to mixture. Serve over salad of baby spinach, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and clementine wedges.

 Pope St. Clement, Pray for us!


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Christ the King Cookie Crowns


The Feast of Christ the King is a moveable feast. It is celebrated on the final Sunday of the liturgical year, which is the last Sunday before Advent begins.

Decorating crown shaped cookies is a fun activity for children to celebrate this feast! You can use store bought cookie dough, or make your own, and if you don't happen to have a crown cookie cutter, just cut out your own crowns freehand or using a printable template. Here is Charlotte's simple recipe from her Cookie Masks for Mardi Gras:

Cut-Out Cookie Dough

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 Tbl. Vanilla or almond
  • 1/4 Tbl. butter extract
  • 1 3/4 C. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and flavorings and mix well. Stir flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to batter and mix well. CHILL 3-4 hours or overnight before using.

Roll cookies out approximately 1/4 inch thick. Bake cookies at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes. This dough keeps well in a covered container in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Decorate with Cookie Icing and sprinkles.

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Acorn Treats for St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Another idea for the November 18 feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, that capitalizes on her connection to oaks (du chêne means “of oak”), is to make some acorn treats. There are a variety of cute autumn themed treats that are made to look like acorns. This one is made with donut holes, frosting and chocolate sprinkles (jimmies).

Donut Hole Acorns 

Ingredients:
Donut holes (glazed)
Chocolate frosting
Chocolate sprinkles
Pretzel sticks

Directions:
Soften the frosting (or Nutella) for 10 seconds in microwave. Dip donut hole in the chocolate. Then immediately dip in sprinkles to coat. In place of the chocolate sprinkles crushed nuts could be used. Stick a piece of pretzel in the top for a stem and let it cool/harden.

This one is made from chocolate kisses and mini vanilla wafers.

Acorn Candy Cookies 

Ingredients:
Mini vanilla wafer cookies
Chocolate candy kisses
Butterscotch (or chocolate) chips
Chocolate frosting

Directions:
Smear a small amount of frosting onto the flat bottom of a candy kiss. Press onto the flat bottom of the vanilla wafer. Smear a little more frosting onto the flat bottom of a butterscotch chip, and press onto the rounded top of the cookie. Repeat with remaining ingredients.  I have also seen these made with Nutter Butter bites instead of the nilla wafer minis.

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Pray for us!


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Trail Mix Variations for Rose Themed Saints

Last month I posted an idea for making a trail mix with a rose theme using this candy mold for mini roses.  
St. Elizabeth of Hungary variation which includes grains for the symbol of bread

The mix, which I made for St. Therese's (The Little Rose) feast day, would easily fit a variety of other feast days associated with the theme of roses. There are several saints associated with roses or have rose stories and a few feast days are coming up soon. While all would still have as a base the candy roses, I've compiled some ideas for ingredients which could be added to or substituted for other ingredients in trail mix recipes to make them more fitting symbolically for some of the other "rose" saints.


Our Lady of Guadalupe or St. Juan Diego (December 12, December 9)
Variations to add a Mexican flare:
~pecans - native to Mexico
~pine nuts - from Pinyon trees native to Mexico
~chocolate chips (or cocoa roses in addition to pink/red ones) since cocoa bean domestication originated in Mexico
~dried papaya, mango, or banana


St. Elizabeth of Hungary or St. Elizabeth of Portugal (November 17,  July 5)
Variations which include grains (since both of these saints stories are associated with bread and roses falling from their cloak):
~wheat chex
~rye crisps
~puffed wheat

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (November 18)
Variations associated with the midwest and with the Native American tribe she ministered to:
~dried berries, seeds, and nuts - recalls typical food of the plains tribes
~corn nuts - corn is associated with Kansas where the spent time with the Potawatomi tribe

Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7)
Variations associated with Our Lady because of color or virtue of purity:
~dried blueberries - blue color associated w/ Our Lady
~coconut flakes - color symbolizes purity, Immaculate Conception
~white/light nuts like blanched almonds, cashew, macadamia - purity

St. Rose of Lima (August 23)
Variations to add Peruvian theme:
~dried papaya
~cancha - dried corn (is a Peruvian dried corn snack - recipe - or corn nuts could be used)
~cashew - nut native to S. America

St. Rita of Cascia (May 22)
Variation idea:
~figs or fig pieces (There is an old tradition that associates a miracle of roses and figs with St. Rita.)





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St. Rose Philippine Duchesne "Oak" Cookies


St. Rose Philippine Duchesne was born in France in 1769 and entered the Visitandine convent when she was 19 where she lived until it was shut down during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. Following the revolution, along with foundress St. Madeleine-Sophie Barat, she was a prominent early member of the Religious Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and founded the congregation's first communities in the United States. She spent the last half of her life teaching and serving the people of the Midwestern United States, and had a particular dedication to the people of the Potawatomi tribe who named her Woman Who Prays Always.

Because the French word for “oak” is chêne (and du chêne means “of oak”), symbols of oak leaves and acorns are often seen in Sacred Heart schools in America to recall the name of the woman who pioneered Sacred Heart education in the New World. 
Oak shaped sugar cookies make a nice tribute to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne for her feast day, November 18. These were made using this Ann Clark oak leaf cookie cutter, but there are a variety of oak leaf cutters (& acorn ones) available for sale and any could be used as a symbol for this saint.  Any traditional rolled sugar cookie dough would work for this recipe. This is the sugar cookie recipe I use. Make frosting in desired colors. Since she has a fall feast day, I included autumn colors. Make leaf veins in the frosting with a toothpick. 

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Pray for us!

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