Jennifer Burcke is a writer and fifth generation New England farmer who lives with three generations of her family at 1840 Farm in New Hampshire. She shares their journey on her blog at www.1840farm.com.
I love heirloom tomato season. When our garden is producing ripe tomatoes, we enjoy them at almost every meal. We also put them up for the long New England winter that lies ahead. We have found that cherry tomatoes are ideally suited for long-term storage in the freezer.
I know that most people preserve tomato season by canning diced tomatoes. I much prefer freezing cherry and small sized tomatoes. There’s no need to blanch, peel, or stand over a boiling pot of water on an already hot summer day. Instead, I can preserve the fresh summer flavor of our homegrown tomatoes in minutes and skip the steamy process of prepping and canning them.
Once I discovered how simple the process was and how delicious the resulting tomatoes were, I started planting more cherry tomatoes. Year after year, I find myself planting just a few more in my quest to ensure that we can make it to the end of winter before we find that we have exhausted our supply of homegrown tomatoes.
The process is amazingly simple. Washed cherry, grape, and salad sized tomatoes are allowed to air dry before freezing them in a single layer on a baking tray overnight. I like to line the tray with a piece of freezer paper to ensure that they don’t stick to the tray. Once they are frozen solid, we transfer them to freezer bags and store them for use during the long winter season.
This method of preservation is simple and effective. We enjoy fresh tomato sauces with the intense flavor of these cherry tomatoes all winter long. I also use them in recipes that call for diced tomatoes like our favorite chili. With each delicious bite, we are reminded that the next tomato season is one day closer. During our long New England winter, that reminder is a very welcome sight!
Yogurt is one of my favorite snacks. I love topping a great cup of tangy Greek yogurt with a bit of seeds, grains, and fruit. When I am at home, it is simple to sprinkle something delicious and healthy from the pantry on top of a bowl of yogurt. In fact, I do that almost daily, enjoying the snack for its flavor as much as for the knowledge that I am eating something healthy that will help power me through my day.
When I am on the go, combining yogurt with these healthy toppings becomes more of a challenge. Sure, I can pack up a small mason jar of toppings and add it in the cooler with my yogurt, spoon, and water bottle. I often do and the results are delicious.
Now, thanks to new Yoplait Plenti Greek Yogurt, I can reach for a yogurt that already contains those delicious flavors and textures and so can you. When I was asked to try a new line of Greek yogurt with added whole grain oats, flax, pumpkin seeds, and fruit mixed right in, I didn’t hesitate. I couldn’t wait to find them at my local store and dig in to their delicious flavor combinations.
I have been making my way through all of the flavors and loving each and every one. They all provide a portable, delicious snack that has an amazing 1:1 protein to sugar ratio. Each serving provides 12 grams of protein while only containing 12 grams of sugar. I am often surprised at just how much sugar can be lurking in a cup of yogurt, so I love the balance of protein and sugar in these delicious Plenti varieties.
I also love that the integrity of the ingredients in Plenti Yogurt. The colors, flavors, and sweeteners in each variety are from natural sources. The ingredient list is composed mostly of items that I have in my kitchen and pantry.
Plenti Yogurt is also gluten free and contains no gelatin. The quality and simplicity of the ingredients in this yogurt are a point of difference that matter greatly to me. Add in that the flavors are delicious and unique and I’ll be reaching for Plenti as my new go to snack whether I am on the go or not.
I’m so grateful that I had the chance to try Plenti Yogurt and share my experience with you. The Spiced Apple is going to be at the ready in our farmhouse kitchen as summer yields to fall. I hope that you’ll try Plenti for yourself and join me in adding this delicious snack to your day!
This post was sponsored by Plenti. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share new brands and products with our readers. 1840 Farm abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. Compensation received from sponsors will not influence the topics or posts made on this blog. Sponsored posts will be clearly labeled as such. Product reviews will include our honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. Samples of the products that I review (or reimbursements) are sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to use the product and evaluate its performance. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/08/plenti-greek-yogurt/
Have you ever re-pickled? I’m happy to say that I have. A few weeks ago, I found myself at the bottom of as amazing jar of McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles. As I stared at the remaining brine, I wondered: could I add fresh vegetables to the brine and create a refrigerator pickle?
Each summer, I make several batches of refrigerator dill pickles using heirloom cucumbers from our garden. I use the brine a few times, making delicious batches of fresh, crispy pickles. By the time the brine has been used a few times, I need to start a new batch of brine. The cucumbers release enough liquid as they sit in the brine to eventually dilute the brine to a point that it is not strong enough to be used.
Knowing that a cucumber dilutes the brine as it pickles, I decided to create a different type of pickle for my first re-pickling experiment. I used fresh green and yellow beans and beautiful carrots from our local farmer’s market. I quick blanched the vegetables to preserve their color, adding them warm to the cold jar of brine. I hoped that the warmth of the vegetables would speed up the pickling process and help each piece of vegetable to take on more of the brine’s flavor.
Within hours, I tasted the first carrot and was amazed at the flavor. It tasted as though I had spent hours creating a delicious brine and preparing the vegetables. Knowing that I had instead spent a few minutes made each bite taste even more delicious.
Here’s how I achieved re-pickling perfection. First, I selected a brine that has an intense flavor. I also chose vegetables with a lower moisture content than cucumbers, knowing that they would release less water into the brine and allow me to continue re-pickling through several batches. Since then, I have attempted to re-pickle using a more moderately flavored brine with cucumbers and found the results to be disappointing. Select a strong brine and the low moisture vegetables for the most flavorful pickles.
To prepare the beans and carrots, bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add a generous Tablespoon or two of salt. Wash the beans and snap to remove the ends. Trim any beans that are too long to fit into the pickle jar. Peel the carrots before cutting them into long spears.
Add the carrots to the boiling pot of salted water. Once the water has come back to a boil, blanch the carrots very briefly, 1-2 minutes. Remove the carrots from the boiling water while they are still crisp and shock them by placing them in the cold jar of pickle brine. Repeat this process with the beans.
Shocking the blanched vegetables in the cold brine will stop the cooking process, set their bright color, and help the vegetables to develop a delicious flavor. At this point, the jar of vegetables and brine can be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. These pickles must be refrigerated. They are not intended for long-term pantry storage.
I can’t wait to try this re-pickling method with other fresh vegetables. I have my sights set on a batch of dilled cauliflower florets. I hope that you’ll give re-pickling a try especially if you’ve been hesitant to attempt making your own pickles!
So many of you wanted to know more about the grilled Romaine salad I was preparing for dinner last week. I love this dish for its simplicity and amazing flavor. Add in that I can make it from start to finish in less than ten minutes and that it is beautiful on the plate and it’s really no wonder that I make it so often!
Grilled Romaine Salad
Romaine lettuce heart (one per person) olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the grill. Slice the Romaine lengthwise in half and drizzle a little olive oil over the top before seasoning with salt and pepper. This is a great time to use a premium olive oil. My favorites are the selections from the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club. Place the Romaine cut side down on the grill. A spot around the edge or not directly over the flame is best.
Grill for 4-6 minutes. The surface of the Romaine will char a bit as the core softens. Remove the grilled Romaine from the grill, drizzle with dressing and serve. It’s really delicious and makes such a beautiful side dish. For me, the unique flavor and texture are a really nice change of pace.
In the winter, I often make this salad under the broiler. I use the same process, just place the lettuce cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet under the broiler for a few minutes.
I grew up celebrating Independence Day with sparklers and barbecue. We lived in Kansas and didn’t really need the guise of a holiday as an excuse to eat barbecue. Fourth of July parades and celebrations seemed to be as ubiquitous as sunshine on a summer day during those years.
There were opportunities for fun everywhere I looked. Children ran through neighboring yards while flags flapped on front porches. As darkness enveloped the neighborhood, fireflies were caught in jars and held just long enough to marvel at their luminescence before releasing them back into the humid, warm air. Those Independence Day celebrations were filled with family, food and the pride we felt in being Americans.
These days, I celebrate the Fourth of July with my family in New England. Our geography has changed along with the way I view this holiday and commemorate its meaning. Living in a farmhouse that has seen so much of our nation’s history has strengthened my connection to this day.
In my opinion, every chicken keeper celebrates their freedom each time they collect an egg from their coop just as every gardener celebrates with each tomato they harvest fresh from the vine. Choosing to raise your own food rather than simply purchase it at the local grocery store is an epic decision. Every meal that consists of fresh food personally raised, harvested and tended is a celebration of an independent spirit and the determination to hold our food supply close at hand.
I don’t take my freedom to make this choice for granted. Instead, I celebrate the opportunity we have been given to live on our farm and learn the real value of the food that graces our dinner plates. Generations ago, Americans learned that lesson by working on their own farms. They had firsthand knowledge of the amazing effort required to raise a baby chick to the day it laid its first egg or tend a crop and bring it to harvest.
Chickens are an integral part of our nation’s long history. When our nation celebrated the first “Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America” in 1777, it was more notable to be an American who didn’t keep chickens. Chickens were easily accessible to the colonists and critically important to their daily survival. They were equally important to our Founding Fathers and the settlers who came before them.
Chickens arrived in the New World after long voyages to Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth Rock in 1620. Those chickens helped travelers endure long journeys at sea and set down roots in their new communities in the New World. In those settlements, a chicken was a prized possession and held the promise of the incredible ability to produce food for your family.
In the early 1800s, chickens were a common sight on large plantations, estates and even the yards of modest homes. They were likely to be seen strutting through the streets of the early cities and towns looking for food. In those days, chicken was rarely seen on the dinner plate of average citizens.
Chickens were instead kept for their egg-laying capabilities. An egg-laying hen could supply a family with many meals compared to the single meal a chicken dressed for service on the dinner table provided. The lacking nutritional quality of the bird’s diet was also a contributing factor. Instead of carefully formulated, complete chicken feeds, chickens were fed diets consisting almost entirely of kitchen scraps. While today’s chicks can mature to table weight in as little as 8 weeks, back in the Colonist’s day it could take as long as six months.
At that time in our nation’s history, chickens were kept by Americans of all classes and backgrounds. Slaves were often allowed to keep a few hens at their quarters to supplement their diets or to trade or sell the resulting eggs. Poor families kept hens loose in their backyards to help dispose of kitchen waste and to assist in turning manure piles. Only the wealthy could afford to house their birds in decorative coops within the confines of their manicured gardens and lawns.
Care of the family flock fell mostly to the women in the early days of our country. It was lighter work than tending to the larger livestock and a chore easily managed by a woman and her children. Even the youngest child could gather fresh eggs and bring them into the farmhouse kitchen.
George Washington kept Dominique chickens along with other heritage breeds of livestock at his estate, Mount Vernon. By all accounts, he was captivated by animal husbandry. In fact, he longed to leave both the military and the presidency to return to his beloved farm. Washington carefully selected the breeds of livestock kept on his estate and endeavored to make use of every single product and byproduct of their life cycle.
Most notably, he aimed to incorporate their manure as rich fertilizer in the cultivation of his gardens and crops. In fact, he didn’t only collect fertilizer from his farm animals. He also constructed and located his “necessaries” within the aesthetic design of the grounds at Mount Vernon. Years ago, when I visited, I noticed these impressive, elevated structures with brick foundations and even photographed them. Only after reading Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners did I learn that they were in fact the outhouses purposely located in the ornamental gardens at Mount Vernon.
Our second president, John Adams’ relationship with chickens was slightly different. Like Washington, he saw himself as a farmer. He returned to Peacefield in Quincy, Mass., after losing a bitter election to Thomas Jefferson in 1800. While he hadn’t left political life willingly, he consoled himself with the work of his farm and lived there happily until his death in 1826.
His wife, Abigail, so loved her chickens and ducks that she tended to their daily needs herself. In fact, she remarked to Thomas Jefferson after living in France and England as a diplomat’s wife that, “I seldom meet with characters so inoffensive as my hens and chickens.” She much preferred the company of her hens to that of the dignitaries in St. James’ Court.
A discussion of our nation’s history of farming would be incomplete without mention of Thomas Jefferson. He loved agriculture and believed that its advancement should be our primary national endeavor. His affection for gardening and farming included an affinity for chickens. While living in the President’s House, Jefferson exchanged letters with his granddaughter Ellen regarding a pair of bantams he had sent her. It was his hope that she would have the opportunity to experience the joy of chicken raising.
By the time Jefferson left the President’s House to return home to his famed gardens at Monticello, America had been celebrating its Independence Day for more than three decades. The landscape of the country was expanding, as was its agricultural knowledge. Agricultural fairs began to gain popularity and provided an opportunity for farmers to learn about new techniques, show their prized poultry and livestock, and spend time with other members of their local farming communities.
1840 Farm has stood for more than 170 Independence Day celebrations. This year, we’ll mark the occasion by spending the day together at our farm. The flag will wave from its perch on the front porch as our day begins in the quiet of the barn and garden. There will be homemade food to enjoy for family dinner as dusk approaches.
We’ll attend our town’s fireworks display and then return home to put the farm to bed for the evening. In the end, it will be a celebration filled with family, food and the immense pride we feel in being independent American farmers. Somehow, I think it’s exactly what the Founding Fathers would have wanted.
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/07/independenceday/
Have you ever wished that you had a canning rack that would adjust to every pot in your kitchen? I did. I never seemed to have a rack that I liked or that fit very well into whichever pot I was using for canning.
Then I discovered that I could use my stockpile of canning jar rings to make a rack in any pot. Simply arrange the rings in a single layer on the bottom of a pot and proceed as usual. The jars sit on top of the rings and I don’t have to add another single use piece of kitchen equipment to our farmhouse kitchen. Problem solved!
My family knows all too well the depth of my love of paper and ink. They indulge me in this lifelong love, following along as I meander through fine stationery and paper shops like other women browse in jewelry stores. They know that I love to look at every type of paper, feeling the thickness and gazing at the colors before selecting something to bring home and add to my stash of papers and pens.
I have loved putting pen or pencil to paper since I was a very young girl. I love to write. I always have. As a child, I used to sit with a pencil and a notebook and watch as the words filled page after page with stories and poems. When I paused to search for the words to continue, I often found myself doodling some sort of small drawing. That habit has continued to the present, with most of my notes and lists including a few drawings and doodles.
I also love to send a handwritten card or note to friends and family. There’s something magical about sending my heart and soul anywhere in the world for the cost of a postage stamp. I love being on the receiving end of that equation every bit as much as I enjoy sending warm heartfelt wishes to someone I love.
My love for paper, ink, and embracing the art of handwritten correspondence have all played a role in providing the inspiration for our newest line of handmade products for The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop. It’s time for me to introduce you to 1840 Farm Paper & Ink. I hope that you will enjoy using these products as much as I have loved creating them.
The items in our Paper & Ink line will feature my original drawings and celebrate the seasonality of life here at 1840 Farm. From the fresh produce we harvest from our gardens during the warmer months to the activities that keep us busy inside the farmhouse during the long New England winter, these paper products will reflect the beauty of every month and season.
The first member of our Paper & Ink Collection celebrates Strawberry Season. I worked with my original paper and pencil drawing of a berry basket filled with fresh ripe strawberries, transforming each curve and line into a digital file. That digital artwork was used to create both the signature drawing featured on the front of each card and the pattern used to line the envelopes. Each card and notecard will be printed to order and cut by hand. Each envelope will be embellished by hand with a custom paper liner.
Look for the Paper & Ink Collection to be added to The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop in the coming days. In July, we’ll be adding a new design to the collection. We can’t wait to share and celebrate each season of our lives here at 1840 Farm with you through this new Paper & Ink Collection!
The flavor of a ripe strawberry. is always welcome at our farmhouse table. During strawberry season, we enjoy our strawberries eaten freshly picked from the berry patch, added to a few of our favorite baking recipes, and preserve many more as jam to last us through the long New England winter. On a blustery snowy day, that burst of strawberry flavor is a delicious reminder that we’re one day closer to the next strawberry season.
Several years ago, I decided to try making a strawberry syrup that could be used to flavor cocktails, nonalcoholic drinks, and baked goods. It was so delicious that we’ve been making it ever since. It’s not overly sweet, with just the right hint of tartness and a lovely earthy sweetness courtesy of the homemade vanilla extract. It adds that wonderful ripe strawberry flavor to any dish it is paired with. It’s also divine when drizzled over Great Grandma’s Daffodil Cake or vanilla bean ice cream. I even use it to make my Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting.
This is such a simple recipe to prepare and keep at the ready. It can be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator. It can also be prepared for long term storage in a water bath canner. I process this syrup in half pint jars with 1/4 inch headspace for 10 minutes. While it can be stored for a year when properly canned, our jars never last that long.
Added to lemonade, it can transform an ordinary beverage into something extraordinary. If you prefer your beverage to be carbonated, I have added soda water to lemonade concentrate and a healthy dose of this syrup to make a delicious bubbly strawberry lemonade that is always a hit with our friends and family.
I can’t wait to hear how you put this delicious syrup to use!
Slice or roughly chop the strawberries before adding them to a medium pot with the remaining ingredients. Using a large wooden spoon or potato masher, crush the berries slightly. Set them aside for 20 to 30 minutes in order to allow the berries to begin releasing their juice.
Place the pot over low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. At this point, you can choose to strain the mixture or leave the remaining pieces of strawberry in the syrup. If you strain the syrup, the berries can be added to a recipe or served as a topping over yogurt, ice cream, or a slice of cake.
The syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month. I like to store a batch of strained syrup in a clean, repurposed bottle with a pourer spout in the refrigerator for adding to lemonade or using as a base for cocktails. Syrup with berries can be stored in the refrigerator in a mason jar or other glass container with a lid or canned as mentioned above.
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When fresh strawberries are in season, we take full advantage and work them into a variety of baking recipes and canned goods. These Oat Scones studded with chunks of juicy, fresh strawberries find their way to our breakfast table every year. They’re delicious and a reminder of why we love strawberry season so much. While the scones are always best if eaten the day they are baked, I find that any leftovers are great when used as a base for a strawberry shortcake dessert that evening. Enjoy!
I like to grate the butter for recipes that require butter to be cut into the flour. Using tiny grated bits of butter makes mixing the dough a breeze. It also yields an incredibly tender scone as much less mixing is needed.
2 cups (160 grams) old fashioned oats
1 cup (80 grams) oat flour
½ cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour
¼ cup (30 grams) All-purpose flour
¼ cup (48 grams) brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, grated
¼ cup (2 ounces) heavy cream
1 large egg
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the grated butter and gently toss with your hands to fully coat the butter and evenly distribute it throughout the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine the cream and egg and whisk to combine. Add the cream and egg to the bowl with the flour and stir gently to moisten the dry ingredients. Reserve the small bowl as the remnants from the cream and egg mixture can be used to brush the scones before they are transferred to the oven. Add the chopped strawberries to the batter and fold gently to combine.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Gently pat the dough into a circle approximately 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into eight wedges. Transfer each wedge to the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, gently brush each scone with the remaining cream and egg mixture. Sprinkle a bit of the granulated sugar on top of each scone.
Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven. Bake the scones 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. When fully baked, the scones will be lightly browned and firm to the touch.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven to a wire rack to cool. Scones are most delicious served the day they are made, so serve them immediately and enjoy every last bite!
Here in New England, we spend more of our calendar days with frigid temperatures than intense heat. Yet, we can count on several days above 90 degrees each summer and seem to see more of them each year. Today, our temperature is predicted to exceed 90 degrees and summer won’t officially begin for nearly a month.
On the first truly hot day of the year, we’ll be employing strategies for helping our animals to cope with the heat. We’ll make regular rounds to the coop, barn, hoop house and garden with fresh, cold water to help everyone and everything cope with the heat. We’ll also utilize the design of our coop and share a few helpful, cooling treats with our flock. Together, these actions will help them to deal with the high temperatures.
The hens spend their days outside in their shaded runs. We take full advantage of the cross ventilation we built into the design of our coop. The back vent will be opened to the full position, the front window opened wide, and the side door secured in the open position to capture any fresh, cooling breeze that might pass by. On a day with temperatures in the 90s, even the slightest breeze blowing through the nearby maple tree is helpful.
On my regular rounds, I will replace the water that has grown hot in the goat stall and top off the BriteTap Chicken Waterer that keeps our hen’s water cool and fresh. On a hot day, the volume of water consumed by our animals is staggering. When I freshen the water, I can count on the chickens and goats to line up for a sip of cool refreshment. As they help themselves to a drink, I make sure that everyone is accounted for and not struggling too mightily with the conditions of the day. When I visit the coop with frozen yogurt, fruit, and vegetables, the hens gather at my feet as if I am a rock star.
Several years ago, I discovered that these frozen treats could help our hens cope with the brutal heat. Since then, I keep a few freezer bags with frozen healthy treats in our barn’s upright freezer. Small berries, tiny cherry tomatoes, diced vegetable scraps, and cubes of frozen yogurt are at the ready and make a welcome snack on days when the temperature is uncomfortably hot. When I have healthy kitchen scraps to share with the flock, I simply freeze them, add them to the bag, and keep them for the next hot day.
As soon as the frozen pieces hit their bowl, our hens clamber for a prime spot to grab a bite. The frozen treats only last a few seconds. The girls happily help themselves to a bit of cool refreshment and then return to the business of scratching at the ground, making happy hen sounds, and patrolling their run. Cooling them down from the inside out seems to bring them immediate relief from the heat.
Summer will officially be here in less than a month. It’s time for me to restock my supply of berries, frozen vegetables, and yogurt cubes for the hens. If this spring is any indication, we’re in for a hot summer and the hens are sure to be looking for their frozen afternoon treats!
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Spring couldn’t arrive soon enough for me this year. It was a brutal winter with snow piled so high that it was difficult to believe that spring would ever arrive to our snowy landscape. While I wait for winter to release us from its firm grasp, I find myself dreaming of the garden and the fresh meals that it will provide for our family table. That first harvest of crisp radishes and greens seems both close at hand and miles away.
The garden won’t produce anything for us to enjoy at our family table for a few more weeks. We’re still waiting for our last frost date to pass on the 29th of June. As I wait for the danger of frost to pass, I find myself craving something fresh and bright.
Enter the lemon, which is synonymous with spring in my book. First, there’s the striking beauty of the lemon’s yellow color. Then there’s the lovely punch of fresh flavor that a lemon brings to a recipe when its tart nature is perfectly matched with just the right balance of sweetness to highlight its distinct flavor. It’s no wonder that I turn to the lemon to help me bridge the gap between the end of winter and beginning of our gardening year.
This recipe is one of my favorites each spring. The bright, tart lemon flavor and earthy vanilla are delicious when combined with just enough sugar. The end result is sweet enough without ever masking the lemon’s lovely acidity. The fluffy lemon buttercream ups the ante and adds even more lemon flavor with a creamy texture that provides a lovely counterpart to the crisp cookie.
To be fair, we don’t consider this as a spring only favorite. We enjoy them year round and they never disappoint. I hope that your family and friends will enjoy them as much as ours do!
Lemon Drop Cookies with Lemon Buttercream makes 2 dozen 3” cookies
You don’t need specialty equipment to make these beautiful cookies, but a few simple tools will help to make the job easier. While you can use a simple box grater to zest the lemon, a microplane grater/zester makes quick work of the zest. A set of inexpensive rolling pin rings will ensure that all of the dough is rolled to an even thickness. The resulting cookies will bake more evenly and have a beautiful appearance.
I reach for my WonderMix Kitchen Mixer when making this recipe in our farmhouse kitchen. With two sets of whisk/whip attachments, I can easily cream the butter and sugar for the cookie and blend the buttercream into a perfectly smooth, satiny texture. You can learn more about The WonderMix and get my recipe for Multigrain Brioche by reading my review.
Lemon Drop Cookies
1 cup sugar
Zest of one large lemon
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained to remove seeds and pulp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 cups All-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Wash and dry a large lemon. Using a fine grater or microplane, remove the zest from the lemon, taking care to remove only the yellow zest. Leave the white pith intact as it can be incredibly bitter. Place the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Mix the sugar and zest together by rubbing the grains between your fingers. Mixing the sugar and zest in this manner will infuse the sugar with the essential oil from the lemon peel.
Using a mixer or food processor, cream the butter and sugar mixture until it combines completely and makes a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until completely smooth.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the batter and mix briefly to fully incorporate. Take care not to over mix as this will develop the gluten in the flour, resulting in dough that is chewy and tough instead of light and delicate.
Remove the dough to a sheet of parchment paper or freezer paper. Cover with a second sheet of paper. Using a rolling pin and rolling pin rings (if you have them); roll the dough in to a rectangle approximately 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours or until firm enough to cut cleanly using a cookie cutter or sharp paring knife.
When the dough has been properly chilled and you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with nonstick Silpat liners or parchment paper. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and cut into your desired shape. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets approximately 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating at the midpoint of the baking time, taking care not to overbake. The cookies should be firm to the touch, but not overly brown. Remove the trays from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool completely.
To make the buttercream, combine the softened butter, lemon juice, and vanilla extract using a mixer or food processor. Slowly add the powdered sugar and blend until the buttercream is completely smooth.
Buttercream can be piped or spread on the cookies as soon as they are completely cool. Two cookies can be held together with a layer of buttercream to make a delicious lemon drop sandwich cookie. Cookies and buttercream can be stored in separate, airtight containers at room temperature for several days.
Note: This dough works very well when stored in the freezer. Simply prepare the dough as directed above, chilling the rolled dough in the freezer instead of refrigerator. Once the dough has frozen solid, it can be moved to a freezer bag for long-term storage. When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove the frozen dough from the freezer and allow it to warm slightly as the oven preheats. Cut the dough into your preferred shape before transferring them to the warm oven. Frozen cookies will require an additional 3-5 minutes in the oven, but taste identical to those made from freshly made refrigerated dough.
To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.
Spring has been slow to show itself this year. In fact, we were beginning to believe that it might never arrive. Then, without any gradual warm up, our temperature hit 90 degrees on Sunday. While we were happy to have warmer temperatures, such a big leap in the temperature was very unexpected and certainly didn’t give our animals time to acclimate to the change in weather.
In order to help our animals and pets deal with the sudden heat, we made sure that they all had shade to take refuge from the blistering sun and plenty of fresh water to drink. We also brought our BriteTap Chicken Waterer out of its winter storage and reintroduced it to our flock. As soon as they saw me placing the BriteTap in their run, they were gathering at its base to help themselves to a cold drink of water.
We first began using the BriteTap late last summer. ChickenWaterer.com promised that their system would provide clean, cool water to our flock even on the warmest days. I will admit that I was a bit skeptical that the water would remain cool and completely clean. I also wondered if our four year old hens could learn a new trick and begin using the system after using standard tray waterers their entire lives.
I was happily surprised on both counts. The BriteTap did indeed deliver clean water even in the dry conditions of the outdoor run that is attached to our coop. When dust covered the outside surface of the BriteTap, our girls were still enjoying crystal clear water thanks to the ingenious design that provides protection to the supply of water as it fills and is made available for drinking. The BriteTap also kept the water cool even on very warm and humid days. By employing a water cooler as its tank, the water remained cool instead of warming in the way our standard waterers do during the hot summer months.
My concern about our girls learning a new trick were completely unfounded. Within minutes, their curiosity got the best of them and they were inspecting the red nipples attached to the BriteTap. As soon as the first hen pecked at the silver protrusion and was rewarded with a cool drink, the girls lined up to have a go. They stepped up one by one and even the most timid bird in our flock pecked fearlessly at the nipple and enjoyed a fresh drink.
The BriteTap is easy to assemble and simple to clean. The waterer portion can be attached to a several different brands and sizes of water coolers. For larger flocks, it can be installed on a cooler with a capacity of 10 gallons. In our case, the 2 gallon cooler provides fresh water to our flock of twelve hens for several days even during the warmest weather.
We love using the BriteTap almost as much as our hens love helping themselves to a drink of fresh cold water. Thanks to our sponsor ChickenWaterer.com, you can enter their “Everyone’s a Winner Giveaway” for a chance to win a gift certificate valued at $100 to be used in the ChickenWaterer.com online store. Better yet, they’re offering the members of The 1840 Farm Community a special opportunity to win one BriteTap Waterer valued at $29.95.
To enter, simply click on the image below to visit Hobby Farms and enter the giveaway. Be sure to tell them that you heard about the giveaway from 1840 Farm in order to be automatically entered into our 1840 Farm Community giveaway for the BriteTap waterer. Once you’ve entered, you’ll also receive a code that allows you to enjoy a 10% discount on any purchase in the ChickenWaterer.com online shop.
Everyone’s a Winner with this contest, especially the birds in your flock who will be enjoying fresh clean water all summer long! If you’re lucky enough to win one of the $100 gift certificates, we recommend the BriteTap Automatic Feeder as highly as we do the BriteTap Waterer and Tank Combo Pack. Good luck to all who enter!
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