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Published October 09, 2012, 11:40 PM

North Dakota woman writes honey-focused cookbook

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – A jar of honey sits on Marcella Richman’s kitchen counter at all times. She uses it on toast and in tea and baked goods. “Honey adds just enough sweetness so you don’t need as much sugar,” she said.

By: Anna G. Larson, INFORUM

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – A jar of honey sits on Marcella Richman’s kitchen counter at all times.

She uses it on toast and in tea and baked goods.

“Honey adds just enough sweetness so you don’t need as much sugar,” she said.

Richman, a Valley City, N.D., resident, authored the recently released “The Buzz On Honey” cookbook. The natural sweetener takes center stage in the collection of more than 450 recipes.

Richman came up with idea to focus on honey when she sold her company, North Dakota Cookbooks, to Three Bears Honey owner Paul Luthi.

Dedicating an entire cookbook to honey became paramount when Richman learned North Dakota is the nation’s leading producer of honey. North Dakota produces 26 percent of the honey in the nation, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

“The state insect is the ladybug, but it should really be the honeybee,” she said.

The renewed interest in whole, natural, locally grown foods also inspired Richman. Most of the recipes in the book incorporate natural, healthful ingredients like fresh fruit and whole wheat flou.

The health benefits of eating honey were equally important to include, she said. Honey has antimicrobial properties, and it’s been used to decrease seasonal allergy symptoms, provide asthma and bronchitis relief, and improve gastrointestinal tract health, according to “The Buzz On Honey.”

“Honey is better for you than sugar because it’s processed by the bees,” Richman said. “Honey is full of antioxidants, too, and all that good stuff.”

Besides bringing what Richman calls “necessary” attention to a local product, authoring the cookbook served as therapy for her. After she became ill with cancer, went through chemotherapy and also had a stroke, writing the cookbook kept her going as she regained her independence and recovered.

“I designed a get-well program for myself, and the cookbook was something to get up for every day,” she said. “That’s the greatest feeling.”

Her favorite recipe is Grandma’s Jumbo Honey Cookies, submitted by her daughter, Ann Richman. The sugar-like cookies bring back childhood memories to Marcella Richman.

“They have always been my favorite because of that,” she said. “My mother always had honey on hand.”

Savory recipes, beauty concoctions and health remedies are also included in the book, in addition to the abundant sweet recipes.

Before authoring “The Buzz On Honey,” Richman wrote three other North Dakota-centric cookbooks: “North Dakota, Where Food is Love,” “Season’s Eatings from North Dakota” and “Drive-By Cooking.”

Golden Honey Gingerbread


2½ cups flour

1½ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon allspice

½ cup shortening

½ cup sugar

¾ cup honey (I used Organic Dutch Gold honey, $5.25 at Target.)

1 egg

1 cup hot water


Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice together on a piece of wax paper (or into a bowl).

Beat shortening with sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the egg and honey.

Stir in flour-spice mixture, half at a time, just until blended.

Beat in hot water until smooth, and pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees (Watch it carefully. I only needed to bake it 25 minutes, and I think even less time would’ve been sufficient).

Serve with honey whipped cream.

Honey Whipped Cream


1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons honey


Beat the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the honey (I added ½ teaspoon vanilla paste as well).

Submitted by author Marcella Richman in “The Buzz On Honey.”

"The Buzz On Honey" can be purchased at all area Hornbacher's locations except Hornbacher's Express, which does not carry the book yet. It may in the coming weeks, though. Select area Sun Marts have the book, too. The gift shops at Hector International Airport and Sanford Health, and Vintage Point gift shop in the 25th Street Market also carry "The Buzz On Honey."