Blog Post PhotoBy Zoë Herdt, Sales and Marketing Intern

A marketing intern at the University Press of Florida, Zoë is majoring in advertising and English at the University of Florida. She is the host of readbyzoe, a YouTube (“BookTube”) channel dedicated to sharing her “slight book obsession” with the world. She hopes to one day work in marketing for a book publisher.

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Over this past weekend I challenged myself to cook a few recipes from Ronni Lundy’s new cookbook, Sorghum’s Savor. I have been working on this book during my marketing internship this semester at the University Press of Florida and have been curious about how these sorghum recipes would taste. Since I’m not the best cook, I was definitely panicking that I impulsively took on this task. What if I burned the house down in the process? However, these recipes were incredibly easy to follow and I was able to make some delicious food for myself and my family—even with my inadequate cooking skills.

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In case you didn’t know, sorghum syrup is a natural sweetener extracted from sorghum cane. It has a thick syrupy consistency and, to me, tastes like a mix between honey and sugarcane molasses. In one word: delicious.

Fried Apples

4 medium apples

1 tablespoon bacon drippings or butter

2 tablespoons sorghum syrup, divided

Quarter apples and remove core. If you’re using the apples as a side dish, slice about 1/8-inch thick the long way. If you plan to use them as a topping for pancakes, slice them the short way.

In a skillet or sauté pan with lid, melt drippings over medium heat. Add the apples and lightly toss to coat. Cover and let sweat for 4 minutes. Remove lid and drizzle 1 tablespoon of sorghum on apples and lightly toss again to coat. Continue cooking uncovered for another minute or so until apples are tender and juice has been absorbed to make a light glaze. Set pan aside to let apples rest for a few minutes before serving. Pour 1 tablespoon of sorghum over apples and toss just before dishing up. Serves 4 as a side dish.

This was the first recipe I tried—I was really in the mood for something sweet and I am a big lover of apples! This was also the hardest of the recipes I tried as it includes actual cooking on a stove and requires use of a knife. Not exactly difficult, but I was very nervous going into it. The recipe went on without a hitch and the result were these beautiful golden apple wedges. Besides looking amazing, they also tasted amazing: sweet and juicy with a little bit of crunch.

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Ouita’s Biscuits

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled or frozen

¾ cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Using a cheese grater, grate butter into dry ingredients and mix lightly with fingers until crumbly.

Add buttermilk and quickly work into flour mixture with a pastry cutter, wooden spoon, or by hand. Knead with a few quick strokes into a rounded mound and let rest 20 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 400ºF. Lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Roll dough on a floured surface to a thickness of ½ inch. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter and transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned and baked through.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a great cook—but baking I can do. Also, bread is pretty much my favorite food, so I was very excited to try out this recipe. The great part about this recipe is that you can use your hands to mix the ingredients together, which made me feel like a little kid playing in a sandbox (you can use a spoon to mix, but what’s the fun in that?). After mixing it all together, I was a little worried because the dough I made was just about the size of a large orange. I had seven family members over at my house and I wanted each of them to have the option to try a biscuit; I wasn’t sure that this amount of dough would be able to make that many biscuits. However, once I let the dough rest in the refrigerator and then cut it up, I sighed in relief knowing that it made more than enough.

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The biscuits themselves came out fantastically and were the perfect balance of chewy and flaky. They don’t have sorghum in them, but they are perfect for drizzling gravy horse on top. As for what that is, continue reading below!

Gravy Horse

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sorghum syrup

Put the butter in a small bowl or saucer and let sit at room temperature until it is softened but not runny. Pour sorghum over the top and use the tines of a fork to first mash then gently whip together. You can use the fork to daub it onto hot biscuits, and this should be enough to grace a half-dozen of Ouita’s Biscuits or for dressing up Real Cornbread.

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This recipe is simple and to-the-point, which was perfect for me. The recipe doesn’t look like it makes much at all, but you really only need a little gravy to get the job done. I obviously didn’t realize that as I drenched my biscuit with it, but it tasted great just the same. Because the gravy has more sorghum than butter, I expected it to taste sweet, but it had more of a savory taste. Gravy horse was superb with the biscuits I made; they complement each other so well.

Southern Lassi

1 cup buttermilk or yogurt

1 cup frozen or fresh peach chunks

1 tablespoon sorghum syrup

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Serves 1.

This was the recipe I was most excited about. I had heard great things about Lassi from several people, but had yet to try it out myself. The instructions are extremely easy to follow and within minutes you will have this slightly tart, fruity, yogurt-y drink. I also recommend sitting outside in the Florida sunshine while you sip on your drink. I did that and it was absolute bliss.

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I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to work on this great cookbook over the past semester. I didn’t just learn about the world of book publishing, but I was also able to learn a few interesting facts about sorghum and get out of my comfort zone with cooking. Sorghum’s Savor is full of a variety of tasty and easy-to-understand recipes, from sweet desserts to savory entrees. I can’t wait to try some more in the future, impressing my friends and family with my newfound cooking skills.

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