Honeybells are prime gift fruits in the citrus pantheon. They are huge, sweet with a tart twist, luscious fruits that are only available at a very limited time ? in January and if we are in luck they could be available for another week or two in February.
So what makes them so special? Aside from the fact that their availability is for a very short span of time Honeybells are seedless, very juicy, and bursting with unique flavor from its sweet Dancy tangerine and tart Duncan grapefruit parents. Furthermore, this citrus fruit contains vitamin C, vitamin A, Folic Acid, Potassium, dietary fiber, and other vitamins and minerals making it a great addition to your daily diet as it may boost the immune system, reduce bad cholesterol, lower the risk of heart disease and help manage diabetes.
There are many ways you can enjoy Honeybells. You can eat them fresh out of hand and let the juice run down your chin, juice it, toss in salad, turn into a yummy marmalade, add as an ingredient to meat dishes or use it to make pastries and cake; with so many options to choose from let me share with you one of my favorites.
How to make Honeybell Cupcakes
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 4 mins
Ready In: 1 hrs 45 mins
Yields: 12 servings
- 2 large Hale Groves Honeybells sliced about ? inch thick
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- ? vanilla bean, split and seeded
- 1 tablespoon Honeybell zest
- 2 large eggs
- ? cup heavy cream
- ? cup fresh Honeybell juice
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ? teaspoon baking soda
- ? teaspoon baking powder
- ? teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ? cups sugar
- ? cup water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 5 large egg whites
- ? + ? teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ? vanilla bean, split and seeded
- Make the candied Honeybells. In a large skillet with about 2 inch sides, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the Honeybells to the skillet of syrup and cook 12-15 minutes, until soft and cooked through. Make sure the Honeybells are covered with syrup as much as possible and flip them at least once during the cooking process. Allow to cool. Pour cool Honeybells and syrup into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- ?Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl cream butter, sugar, vanilla bean, and zest together until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add the eggs and mix until once again light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and the cream and Honeybell juice to the sugar mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. I did 3 installments of flour, 1 of all cream, and one of a little cream and the juice. Mix until just combined.
- Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling almost all the way to the top. Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out with only a few moist crumbs. If you would like to brush them with the syrup from the Honeybells, this would be the time to do it. Cool completely in pan. Cupcakes can be made 1 day ahead of time.
- Make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once this happens, stop stirring, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and allow the mixture to come to 240 degrees F on the thermometer. In the meantime, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high until foamy. Once foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Be sure not to overwhip the egg whites or they will become dry.
- Once the eggs are whipped and the syrup is at 240 degrees, turn the eggs to medium-low, immediately remove the syrup from the heat, and begin slowly and steadily drizzling it into the eggs. If the syrup is ready before the eggs, it can be turned down or removed from the heat while the eggs finish, before being replaced on the heat to bring to temperature. If the eggs are ready before the syrup, stop mixing them until the syrup is almost ready. Turn them back to medium-high briefly before turning them back down and adding the syrup.
- Once the syrup has all been added, turn the mixer back to medium-high and beat the frosting (what is basically marshmallow cr?me and is delectable all by itself) for 10-13 minutes until the bottom of the bowl is barely warm or at room temperature. It is important for it to not be too warm or the next step will not work.
- Once cooled, add the butter a couple tablespoons at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding another. Scrape down the bowl occasionally. Once all the butter is incorporated add the vanilla and vanilla bean and mix to combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix briefly by hand to make sure there are no clumps of butter. If the frosting is a bit soupy (because it was too warm when the butter was added) stick it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, beat it again with the stand mixer. It should come together.
- Assemble the cupcakes. Using an offset spatula smooth a heaping helping of frosting on the cupcakes. Place a whole, half, or quarter candied Honeybell on top of the cupcakes. May be stored at room temperature for 1 day, in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in plastic and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours, keeping them wrapped in the plastic until serving.