When heirloom tomatoes are ripening by the basket full in our garden, I experiment with all sorts of ways to feature them on our farmhouse table. I really love preparations that require little to no cooking, allowing the natural texture and delicious flavor of an heirloom tomato to be the star.
This pico de gallo definitely fits the bill. It’s packed with delicious flavor, texture, and bright color. It’s so beautiful on the plate and a wonderful way to enjoy the glorious flavor or tomatoes fresh from the garden without heating up the kitchen on a hot summer’s day.
I love to use cherry tomatoes of varying colors when they are available to celebrate the range of red, purple, yellow, and black colors we grow here in our garden. The burst of color and flavor on our plates is always a welcome sight.
Garden Fresh Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo
I love to use cherry tomatoes for this recipe. They can easily be quartered to create the perfect size bite. If you are using larger slicing tomatoes, simply seed the tomatoes before chopping to prevent the pico de gallo from being too runny. If you like a bit of heat with your Pico de Gallo, add a bit of minced jalapeno pepper to the tomatoes and onions.
In a medium bowl, combine the onion, tomato, and cilantro. Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice and a generous sprinkling of salt. Stir to combine and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine and the tomato to release its juice. Stir, taste for seasoning, and add more lime or salt as needed.
Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Pico de Gallo means "rooster's beak" in Spanish. It is thought that the name originated from the appearance of the red tomato pieces in the dish. It seems like the perfect name to me!
By Jennifer from 1840 Farm
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/08/garden-fresh-heirloom-tomato-pico-de-gallo/
Boston Cream Pie has always been one of my favorite desserts. It’s difficult to beat the combination of a light sponge cake layered with vanilla pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache. It wins on flavor and appearance in my book.
Sure, it isn’t really a pie in spite of its name. As a pie lover, I could choose to hold that against this dessert. Or, I could choose to love it more because it was made in a pie plate instead of a cake pan. I’ll go with the second option because it doesn’t prevent me from loving Boston Cream Pie for any reason at all.
If you’re not familiar with the story behind Boston Cream Pie, here it is. Once upon a time (around 1856), a chef by the name of Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel made a sponge cake layered with rum infused pastry cream, garnished with toasted almonds, and topped with chocolate fondant. As was common practice at the time, he baked the cake in pie tins which were often used for cake baking. The cake was called “Chocolate Cream Pie” and the name stuck.
Years later, it came to be called Boston Cream Pie in a nod to its birthplace. The Parker House became the Omni Parker House and the rest is culinary history of the most delicious kind. In 1996, this dessert with a history became the official state dessert of Massachusetts.
No matter the reason this dessert was originally baked in pie tins, it is more common to find it baked in a cake pan these days. Doing so creates a more symmetrical cake that can be sliced horizontally into layers for the finished dessert. I like a challenge, so I prefer to use pie plates which create the rustic appearance of the homemade dessert that I love.
In addition to using pie plates, I like to create three layers of cake rather than the customary two layers. I find that the ratio of cake to pastry cream and ganache is just right when I create three thin layers of cake. There’s also something decadent about a triple layer cake.
Once we moved to New England, it seemed fitting to master my own homemade version of Boston Cream Pie. We even took a trip in to Boston to have a slice at the Omni Parker House just to experience it at the very place it was first created.
Once we became chicken keepers and had a steady supply of the fresh eggs that give this cake and pastry cream such a rich flavor, my recipe really took shape. I have been making it the same way ever since.
You can call this dessert a pie or a cake, either is fine by me. I’ll call it homemade and delicious and enjoy every last bite!
Boston Cream Pie
This recipe makes use of several foundation recipes and techniques. You’ll make a sponge cake with a meringue that is folded into the batter to deliver the most amazing texture. Then you’ll move on to make a beautiful pastry cream followed by the chocolate ganache. These three components can be used time and time again making a wide range of delicious dishes to share with your friends and family.
200 grams (1 ¾ minus 1 Tablespoon) All-purpose flour
4 heaping Tablespoons cornstarch (36 grams)
1 cup (192 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 ounces oil (I prefer a sunflower oil blend, but any neutral tasting oil will do)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
butter or coconut oil and sugar to prepare pie pans
For the Pastry Cream
12 ounces whole milk
½ vanilla bean pod
pinch of salt
¼ cup (30 grams) All-purpose flour
6 Tablespoons (72 grams) granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate
For the Vanilla Sponge Cake
Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Position the oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Prepare three pie pans by coating with butter or coconut oil and granulated sugar. Set aside as you prepare the cake batter.
Place the cup of whole milk a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife. Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside. Transfer the beans and pod to the pot with the milk and place over low heat. The heat will help to infuse the flavor and aroma of the vanilla bean into the milk.
Prepare a large mixing bowl and the beaters for your mixer by wiping with a paper towel lightly moistened with white vinegar. This will remove any trace of fat, allowing you to create a fluffy, beautiful meringue from the egg whites.
Separate the three eggs, placing the whites in the prepared mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites on high speed until they become frothy. Continue beating while adding the ½ cup of granulated sugar one Tablespoon at a time. Beat until all of the sugar has been incorporated and the meringue has come to stiff peaks. You can test the meringue by removing the beater and holding it upright. If the peak of the meringue holds, it has come to stiff peaks and is ready to use.
Remove the milk and vanilla bean from the heat to cool slightly. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk.Transfer the whipped egg white meringue to a small bowl and return the mixing bowl and beater to your mixer.
Add the flour, cornstarch, 1 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder to the mixing bowl. Add the oil and half of the warm milk to the bowl. Mix slowly to combine. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, mixing again on slow speed just to combine. Add the remaining milk to the bowl and beat slowly for approximately one minute until the batter is smooth and well combined.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, gently fold the reserved egg white meringue into the cake batter. Continue folding until the mixture is smooth and even.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pie pans, dividing equally among them. Transfer the pie pans to the preheated oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The cakes are done when the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with small crumbs attached.
Remove the cakes from the oven to a wire rack to cool. When the pans are cool enough to handle, use an offset spatula to loosen the cakes from the pans. Turn each cake out on to the wire racks to cool completely.
For the Pastry Cream
Place the whole milk in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife. Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside. Transfer the beans and pod to the pot with the milk and place over low heat.
As the milk is warming, combine the eggs and dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. The resulting batter should be thick and smooth.
Move the pan of milk from the burner. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk. Slowly add the egg mixture, whisking to incorporate the thick batter into the warm milk.
Return the pan to medium low heat and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the pastry cream from the pan (straining if necessary to remove lumps) to a bowl. Add the vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing it firmly against the mixture to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Refrigerate until the cake is ready to be assembled.
For the Chocolate Ganache
Prepare the ganache by warming the heavy cream in a small pan or in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat source and add the chocolate. Allow the mixture to rest for two minutes before whisking to incorporate. When the cream and chocolate have become a satiny glaze, set the ganache aside to cool.
To Assemble the Boston Cream Pie
Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator. Whisk the mixture to ensure that it is completely smooth. Whisk the chocolate ganache.
Place one of the cake layers on a large plate or platter. Transfer half of the pastry cream to the top of the cake. Using a spatula, spread the pastry cream to evenly cover the cake, leaving a narrow margin around the edge of the cake. Repeat this process with the second layer of cake and remaining pastry cream.
Place the third cake layer on top. Transfer all of the chocolate ganache to the top of the cake. If the ganache is warm enough, it can be poured, if not, simply use a spatula to spread the ganache to fully cover the top of the cake. I like to completely cover the cake and allow a small bit of the ganache to drip over the edge. There’s just something inviting about seeing this cake with chocolate reaching down to the cake plate below.
Transfer the fully assembled Boston Cream Pie to the refrigerator. The cake can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, although they never last that long here!
This cake benefits from the use of cake flour. Due to food allergies, I struggled to find a brand of cake flour that was safe to use in our kitchen. Fortunately, I discovered that I could combine All-purpose flour and cornstarch to deliver the benefits of cake flour without adding allergens to our kitchen and one more specialty ingredient to our pantry. For each cup of cake flour called for in a recipe, simply weigh out one cup of All-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour and add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Problem solved!
By Jennifer from 1840 Farm
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/06/boston-cream-pie/
This morning, I published a new issue of our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter filled with links to my favorite baking how to posts. I hope that each of them will help you to enjoy baking in your kitchen and turning out delicious breads and dessert for your friends and family. Here they are, all gathered together in one place so that you can access each and every one of them!
If you enjoy reading our posts, why not subscribe to our FREE newsletter? It’s the best way to ensure that you don’t miss a single recipe, new handmade product, or special offer for our Etsy Shop. We’ll never share your email and send our best posts directly to your inbox. Take a look through our past issues to see what you’ve been missing.
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/06/my-favorite-baking-how-to-posts/
There I was, reading a recipe for what sounded like a delicious cake. I was inspired to head into the farmhouse kitchen to make one for my family. I scanned through the list of ingredients, mentally placing a check mark on each line, happy to see that I had each ingredient on hand. Then I came to cake flour and everything came to a screeching halt.
Cake flour is all but impossible for me to purchase at the grocery store. Each box seems to carry an allergy warning that prevents me from being able to invite the ingredient into our kitchen. We are completely peanut and tree nut free, so buying a box of cake flour that might contain both simply wasn’t an option.
I knew that cake flour was designed specifically for cake baking. In fact, each type of flour is designed to deliver differing levels of protein, gluten, and density to recipes. Bread flour often promises a protein content in excess of 12%. All-purpose flour typically has a protein content in the range of 11% while cake flour comes in at between 6-8%, A lower protein content helps to create a cake that is tender, airy, and light.
After a bit of reading, I found that I could indeed make my own cake flour substitute using two ingredients that I always have on hand in the pantry: All-purpose flour and cornstarch. By combining the two, I can create a flour that has a reduced protein content with less gluten, a silky texture, and the density that cake flour is known for. I could also sidestep peanuts and tree nuts, keeping our kitchen safe for the whole family.
This substitution is simple and I have used it with great success to bake light and delicious cakes. I hope that you’ll find that it works just as well for you in your favorite recipes calling for cake flour.
Homemade Cake Flour Substitute
Our food allergies prevent me from purchasing cake flour at the grocery store, but they don't keep me from making recipes that call for cake flour.
This homemade cake flour substitute works well, I can control the allergens, and I can use ingredients that I already have on hand. Now you can too!
For each cup of cake flour called for in a recipe, you can easily create your own substitute. This substitute can be used in any recipe that calls for cake flour. There's no need to adjust the amount of flour used.
Measure 1 cup of All-purpose flour into a small bowl. Remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour. Add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl and whisk lightly to combine.
By Jennifer form 1840 Farm
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/06/cake-flour-substitute/
Memorial Day is the official kickoff to Summer and we feel like celebrating! We’ll be enjoying a few of our favorite warm weather recipes with family and friends this weekend. The temperatures are predicted to hit 90 degrees tomorrow, so we’ll be ready for a cold refreshing Franklin Cooler made with our homemade Raspberry and Rhubarb Syrup by midday!
Each year, we choose to commemorate Memorial Day by making a donation from our 1840 Farm Community to a veteran’s charity for every handmade basket sold in our Etsy Shop. It’s our small way of showing our deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who serve in our military and the families that support them.
This year, I want to give you the opportunity to help select the charity that will receive that donation. If you have a favorite charity that focuses on those who serve our nation, please visit our Facebook page and join in our discussion. Together, we’ll choose the charity that receives our donation. Then we’ll repeat the nomination process for Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veteran’s Day.
For all of you who have served in the military or are on active duty, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your service to our country. To the families and friends who support those who serve, thank you for the sacrifices you make to support the bravest Americans among us. As the flag flaps on our farmer’s porch, I am forever reminded that we owe a debt of gratitude to all who serve that can never be repaid.
I hope that you have a holiday weekend spent with friends and family filled to the brim with laughter, delicious food and drink, and memories in the making.
You can access any of the recipes by clicking on the photos below.
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/05/memorialdayfavorites/
The temperatures are warming up and gardening season is giving us reason to spend hours outside in the hot sun. When the work is done for the day, I’m ready for a cold, tall, glass of refreshment. If that cold drink can include two components harvested from our garden, then the moment seems like a celebration of growing our own food and enjoying every season.
This beautifully colored and deliciously flavored drink came together by accident. We had raspberries and rhubarb in the freezer from last year’s garden. In no time, they had been transformed into a batch of our homemade Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup. There was lemonade in the refrigerator, and good bourbon was just begging to be added to the party. The accidental combination was full of color, flavor, bright acidity, and the earthy goodness of a splash (or two) of bourbon.
While drinking a round of these icy libations, it was time to give this concoction a name. It didn’t take long to decide that Benjamin Franklin should get a nod as a thanks for his role in bringing rhubarb to the colonies that would become our country.
It is thought that he sent rhubarb seeds from Scotland to famed Philadelphia botanist John Bartrum some time around 1770. While some believe that these were rhubarb seeds of the medicinal variety rather than the culinary, we all know that Franklin loved to eat interesting and delicious fresh foods as much as he loved to drink. So, the name seemed fitting to me and The Franklin Cooler was born.
This beverage can be adjusted to suit your preference, adding more syrup or lemonade if desired. While I like mine with a splash of bourbon, they are equally delicious made without as a non alcoholic lemonade.
I’ll be raising a glass or two of these this holiday weekend and hope that you’ll join me in celebrating the beginning of the gardening season and the simple joy of taking time to enjoy the flavor of the seasons. Cheers to the happy accident of a great beverage and to a happy and safe holiday weekend for all!
The Franklin Cooler
Here at the farmhouse, we make two versions of this drink. One includes bourbon, the other does not. They’re both delicious and always a hit with guests looking to celebrate with a cocktail or those who prefer a glass of refreshing lemonade without any alcohol.
Here in New England, we’re still counting the days until it is safe to plant our tender perennials in the gardens. Heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and the like are all being held in the farmhouse under lights until our overnight temperatures are warm enough to not cause damage to those tender plants.
We’re almost there, but I am growing increasingly impatient. I find it so difficult this time of year to wait for planting time even though the calendar begs me to. I just want to have my hands in the dirt, planting the seeds that will become homegrown food for our family table this growing season.
While I count the days until I can plant my beloved heirloom tomatoes, I can thank the rhubarb patch for giving me something to celebrate. Each spring, the rhubarb patch comes to life long before the rest of the garden. Those beautiful stalks seem to reach higher and higher each day, supporting their enormous green leaves.
We allow our rhubarb to go to seed each year, encouraging the patch to add new plants naturally and increasing our harvest each year. As the rhubarb harvest increases, the volume of rhubarb that we put up in the freezer each year grows exponentially. As the pounds of rhubarb pile up in the deep freeze, I start to dream up new uses for our homegrown rhubarb in the farmhouse kitchen.
I make upside down cake, pies, and rhubarb and strawberry crumble each year. This year, I added a delicious new rhubarb recipe that has quickly become a family favorite. Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup has been finding its way into icy glasses of lemonade, homemade cocktails, and on top of ice cream sundaes and slices of my Great Grandma’s Daffodil Cake. It even inspired my husband and I to craft a cocktail that we lovingly named the Franklin Cooler in honor of Benjamin Franklin who is thought to have introduced rhubarb to the colonies around 1770.
This recipe is so simple and the results are delicious. The color is so beautiful and each drop is bursting with fresh flavor. It’s the perfect way to use up any bits of last year’s harvest from the freezer as we prepare to make room for this year’s. The proportions of fruit can be adjusted to match what you have on hand and other berries can be added or substituted with equally delicious results.
A drizzle of this syrup will bring the taste of summer to your next meal or family gathering. I hope that you’ll enjoy this taste of summer as much as we do!
Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup
This syrup is delicious added to tall glasses of lemonade, iced tea, or your favorite summery cocktail. You'll also love it drizzled over vanilla ice cream, pound cake, or your favorite sponge cake recipe.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, I have gathered together a collection of our favorite recipes to make for breakfast and brunch. These recipes have been made time and time again in our Farmhouse Kitchen here at 1840 Farm. Now you can make them for your friends and family. They’re sure to love them as much as mine do!
Click on any of the photos to view the recipe for each dish.
I love a perfectly poached egg. The texture is unlike any other egg preparation, firm enough to hold together yet delicate and smooth as velvet. The perfectly poached yolk is thick and fluid, imparting an earthy richness to anything it is served with.
I first came to know poached eggs watching Julia Child on PBS as a teenager. She waxed poetic about the luscious taste of a poached egg. I remember her talking specifically about fresh eggs versus store bought eggs. She belabored the point that eggs from the grocery store were in her words “unpoachable” due to their age. She then went on to demonstrate several methods for poaching an egg, turning out lovely oval shaped specimens that were cooked to perfection.
At that point in my life, I didn’t have access to eggs fresh from the coop, so I was determined to make do with the eggs we had in the refrigerator. I tried and tried, learning firsthand that Julia (of course) was right. Those store bought eggs simply didn’t have the ability to stay tightly together when plunged into the hot water. The results were a shaggy and disappointing mess.
Years later, but long before I became a chicken keeper, we purchased fresh eggs at our local farmer’s market. I did poach those eggs using Julia’s instructions to guide me. They were delicious. Unfortunately, the process was time consuming and my kitchen looked like a war zone once we were finished. There was the poaching pot, the double boiler used to make the Hollandaise, and all the implements used to make one meal for two people.
I was thrilled with the results, but left wishing that there was an easier way to poach eggs. I tried several methods with differing results, but was left with the conclusion that I was happy enough with a perfectly fried egg to just serve those when I wanted that lovely runny egg yolk and softly cooked white.
Now that we are chicken keepers, I find myself always on the lookout for a new way to prepare the eggs we collect fresh from the coop. The time had come for me to revisit the poached egg and find a simple, foolproof method for creating them for the whole family.
I had read about oven poaching eggs but was skeptical about the process. It seemed too easy, too simple. Yet, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. I loved the thought of being able to poach dozens of eggs at once. If I could perfect the timing, poached eggs would be making a regular appearance at our farmhouse table.
It took a few attempts for me to pin down the timing of oven poached eggs. Once I did, I couldn’t believe how simple they were to make. Not only were the eggs beautiful and delicious, but the process was so easy and forgiving.
It’s egg season here right now. Our heritage breed hens are producing an abundance of delicious fresh eggs. With a steady supply of fresh eggs and the garden harvest so far away, these poached eggs are a simple and comforting homegrown meal that my family requests time and time again. They’re a regular feature on our breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates and always a welcome sight.
This method certainly isn’t Julia’s way of poaching eggs, but I don’t think that she’d mind me finding an easy way to serve perfectly poached eggs to my family. In fact, I think that she’d approve wholeheartedly.
Oven Poached Eggs with Hollandaise Style Sauce
I find that room temperature eggs work best in this preparation. I reach for the eggs in our egg basket on the kitchen counter when making them. Choosing eggs that are similar in size will result in evenly cooked eggs and make the process of timing much easier. I choose eggs that would be considered large in size (approximately 60 grams in weight). Eggs of smaller or larger sizes can certainly be poached by adjusting the baking time slightly.
For the Hollandaise Style Sauce (Makes enough for four eggs)
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
hot sauce to taste
1 Tablespoon warm water
salt and pepper or chives to garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Gather a standard sized muffin pan and the number of eggs you would like to poach.
Add one Tablespoon of water to each compartment of the muffin tin that will be used for poaching. Crack a large egg into each of the water filled compartments. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven.
Bake the eggs for 14 – 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through that time. The whites should be softly set and the surface of the egg should remain glossy. Remove the pan from the oven.
Using a slotted spoon, remove each poached egg from the pan. Serve with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, chives, or your favorite egg topping. I like to serve them with an easy hollandaise style sauce made by stirring together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and a few dashes of hot sauce. I add the warm water to loosen the sauce and spoon it over the poached eggs before garnishing with a bit of salt and pepper or chopped chives.
By Jennifer from 1840 Farm
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/04/oven-poached-eggs-with-hollandaise-style-sauce/
I have long believed that any day can be made better with a homemade cookie. If the cookie happens to a perfectly made chocolate chip cookie still warm from the oven, all the better. While I make many different types of cookies in our farmhouse kitchen, this chocolate chip cookie recipe is hands down our favorite.
This recipe was inspired by a cookbook I was sent to review for our readers. I was ready to love this book immediately based on the delicious cookies shown on the cover. Any book titled “Cookie Love” has my attention from the first page.
Cookie Love by Mindy Segal and Kate Leahy is filled with 60 intriguing cookie recipes from drop cookies to shortbread, sandwich, rugelach, and bars. These aren’t the same recipes you’ve seen over and over again. When I turned to page 23 and discovered a recipe for Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies, I stopped in my tracks.
When I accept a cookbook to review, I like to select a recipe to test before sharing the cookbook with you. To me, it seems like the best way for me to review a cookbook. If the recipe doesn’t have clear instructions or produces something that doesn’t pass my family’s taste test, I don’t feel like I can encourage you to add it to your cookbook collection.
So, as I read through Cookie Love, I gave thought to which recipe I should choose for my review. Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies were definitely on the list, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand. A recipe for homemade Milanos definitely caught my eye. Due to food allergies, my family can’t safely purchase the store bought version, so making a homemade take on these classics was very appealing. There were so many beautiful photos of scrumptious looking cookies that it was a very difficult task to choose the first recipe to attempt.
In the end, I went with the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie. I was drawn to the story behind this recipe and the fact that my family would be sure to enjoy taste testing a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I was right. They loved these cookies and happily tasted one after another before giving them a collective thumbs up.
Since then, I have adjusted the recipe slightly, adding more of our homemade vanilla extract to deepen the vanilla flavor and reducing the salt called for in the original recipe. I also like to reduce the baking temperature and slightly increase the baking time. Doing so encourages the butter in the dough to melt a bit, spreading out to create a cookie that is thin and crisp around the edge and soft and chewy in the middle.
These cookies are so popular with my family, that I keep our freezer stocked with balls of cookie dough that can be baked at a moment’s notice. I allow the frozen dough to warm up as the oven preheats and then pop them in the oven. With a few extra minutes added to the baking time, the cookies are perfectly baked and we can enjoy warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies in less than 20 minutes.
Cookie Love also includes helpful tips for choosing ingredients, mixing, shaping, and baking cookies. I can’t wait to try a few more recipes here in the farmhouse kitchen. Now I just have to decide which recipe to try next!
I like to use bittersweet chocolate chips in this recipe, but you can substitute your favorite chocolate chips or chunks. I often replace ½ - 1 cup of the All-purpose flour with an equal amount of our home milled whole wheat flour. The freshly milled flour adds a lovely bit of texture and earthly flavor to the finished cookies.
Place the cubed butter in the bowl of your mixer fitted with a paddle or dough beaters. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds, until the butter begins to smooth out a bit. Add the sugar and brown sugar before beating on medium speed until the mixture is completely smooth, approximately 2-4 minutes.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the bowl and beat on low for a 10-20 seconds, just until combined. The batter may break up a bit, but don’t worry. It will come together when the dry ingredients are worked into the mix. Scrape down the bowl and beaters if necessary to gather the batter together before continuing.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Stir to mix the dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients in one addition to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients have completely integrated into the dough. This should only take 30-60 seconds depending on the strength of your mixer. Take great care not to overmix the dough. Mixing develops the gluten in the flour and overmixing will encourage the dough to become tough.
Transfer the dough to a covered container for storage in the refrigerator. Allow the dough to chill for a few hours or overnight. I often make a batch of dough and keep it in the refrigerator, baking a single evening’s cookies each night. Portioned balls of dough can also be frozen on a small tray and then transferred to a freezer bag for long term storage. Frozen dough can be baked by simply adding a few minutes to the baking time.
When you are ready to bake some or all of the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position the oven racks to the top and bottom third of your oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat style liner.
Create balls of dough using heaping 1 ½ Tablespoons (approximately 1 ounce or so). Place six balls on each baking sheet, spacing evenly to prevent the cookies from touching as they bake. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the cookies have flattened and browned. Rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time will help to ensure that the cookies are evenly baked.
Remove the cookies from the oven, allowing them to cool for a few minutes. As with any cookie, these are even more delicious when eaten while still warm with a cup of coffee or cold glass of milk.
Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. Dough can be refrigerated for one week and frozen for several months.
Adapted from Cookie Love by Mindy Segal with Kate Leahy
The book reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge by the Blogging for Books Program in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. The book that I reviewed was sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to evaluate it. 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.
Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.
This week marks the opening of our baseball season. Opening day has been rescheduled from yesterday to today due to snow. That means we’ll be celebrating opening day and the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the same day. It also means that I’ll be making another batch of our homemade caramel corn for snacking.
Popcorn is a perfect pairing for baseball and movies. If you’ve ever stood in your team’s stadium and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, you have uttered the iconic lyrics:
“Take me out to the ball game;
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.”
Like so many families, we eat around food allergies, particularly peanuts. So, buying peanuts or cracker jack when we’re at the ballgame isn’t an option. When my son was little, he just couldn’t understand why he couldn’t have the treats that were mentioned in the song. Somehow, he felt like they must be paramount to enjoying the ballgame if they were included in the song that an entire stadium full of fans stood up to sing together.
It was hard for me to argue that point with him. For a little boy, dressed in his team’s hat, swaying to the music with the crowd, those treats seemed like part of the experience, a part that he wasn’t able to enjoy. Suddenly, I knew that I was going to be spending time in our farmhouse kitchen doing my best to recreate the taste of cracker jack without a peanut or nut in sight.
I searched cookbooks, blogs, magazines, and anywhere I could find reference to a homemade caramel corn. I tried many of them. Some were complete disasters. I burnt more caramel than I would care to admit, filling the farmhouse with the acrid aroma of burnt sugar. Other batches were good, but difficult to make and not quite what I was hoping for.
I wanted to create a caramel that added that crisp texture and hint of sweetness to a batch of popcorn. I also wanted a recipe that was simple to make so that we could enjoy it whenever we wanted to. So, I kept working, trying new recipes and altering them in the hopes that I would discover one that was just right.
It required a lot of experimenting and many batches of popcorn being thrown away before I had landed right where I wanted to be. When my son took a handful of that caramel corn, I couldn’t wait to see his reaction. I watched as he tasted it and smiled from ear to ear. When that happened, I knew that it was perfect.
Since then, I have made this recipe for Bourbon Caramel Popcorn countless times. The caramel is crisp and filled with earthy sweetness of fresh caramel. There’s just enough salt to balance the sweetness without overpowering it. It tastes so much better than the old cracker jack mentioned in the song that started me on my quest to perfect caramel corn.
We’ll be enjoying a few batches of this popcorn this week. We’ve got opening day for our hometown Red Sox to celebrate and Star Wars: The Force Awakens to watch on movie night. You can be sure that we’ll all be snacking on this crunchy treat on both counts. While my son has long forgotten about his disappointment over not being able to enjoy cracker jack at the ballgame all those years ago, I haven’t. With each bite that he takes, I’ll be smiling at the thought of him having his very own homemade version to enjoy year after year and replacing that memory with a happy food memory that will last a lifetime.
Bourbon Caramel Popcorn
Making homemade caramel is simple, but some precautions should be taken to ensure your safety. Take care when making this or any other candy that involves boiled sugar. Use a large, deep pot that will allow the mixture to come to a full boil without boiling over. Do not touch the mixture when stirring to coat the popcorn as it will be incredibly hot and could easily burn your skin.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liner. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
I like to use our air popper to pop the popcorn, but you can use whatever method you prefer. After popping, carefully sort through the popcorn to remove any unpopped kernels. Transfer the popcorn to a very large bowl or pot. If you are adding Nadanut pecan or walnut pieces or traditional nuts, mix them into the popcorn.
In a small bowl or cup, measure out the bourbon. In a second small bowl or cup, combine the baking soda and cinnamon. These ingredients will be added to the caramel very quickly and premeasuring is necessary for success. When the bourbon and baking soda mixture are added to the hot caramel, it will bubble violently (hence the need for a large pot to make a small batch of caramel). Take care to stir these ingredients fully without touching the mixture.
Place the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Stir as the butter melts to mix the ingredients. Once the mixture begins to bubble, set a timer for four minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to gently boil the caramel. Do not stir the caramel during the four minute time period.
When the four minutes have elapsed, remove the pan from the heat. Add the bourbon all at once, stirring as it bubbles violently to combine. Add the baking soda and cinnamon, stirring again as the mixture begins to lighten in color and expand. As soon as the soda and cinnamon are fully incorporated into the caramel, pour the caramel over the popcorn. Using two wooden spoons or spatulas, toss the popcorn and caramel until it is evenly coated with the caramel mixture.
Transfer the caramel coated popcorn (and nuts if using) to the lined baking sheets, dividing evenly between the two sheets. Move the baking sheets to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the caramel corn from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature. As the caramel cools, it will become crisp.
This caramel corn is best on the day it is made. It can be stored in an airtight container for a day or two before losing its crisp texture.
*The version we make often includes nut free "pecan" or “walnut” pieces from Nadanut - Nut Free Snacks. They deliver that delicious nutty flavor and are made in a nut free facility so that we can enjoy the flavor of nuts without any worry of causing an allergic reaction. You can learn more about them at www.nadanut.com.
If you don't have nut allergies to contend with, you can easily add in your favorite nuts to the popcorn with equally delicious results.
By Jennifer from 1840 Farm
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/04/bourbon-caramel-popcorn/
Easter weekend is upon us and spring is beginning to show itself here on the farm. We’ve seen glimpses of the season already this year, with a few glorious days marked by sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. We’re grateful for the gift of beautiful weather from Mother Nature, but know full well that this is New England and there’s still plenty of time to wait for warmer weather to permanently arrive.
As Easter approaches, my mind drifts to spring planting, seed starting, and thinking about finally building that duck house we’ve been discussing for a few years. While it’s impossible to know what this spring and summer have in store for our farm, I can guarantee that we’ll be enjoying our favorite seasonal recipes while we take in the very best of each season.
I hope that you’ll enjoy those seasonal recipes right along with us. The recipes in this issue are perfect for adding to your Easter weekend plans or for welcoming spring to your family table. You can begin by learning how we color beautiful jewel toned Easter eggs every year and move on to the recipe for French Toast Bread Pudding to serve for Easter breakfast or brunch.
On the sweeter side, you can’t go wrong with my Great Grandma’s Daffodil Cake. This cake combines the best of airy angel food cake and rich pound cake. It’s the perfect way to celebrate your flock producing more eggs as the days grow longer each week. For a quick and lovely bite, my Lemon Drop Cookies with Lemon Buttercream are tough to beat. They’re delicious with a cup of tea or served after dinner when the bright taste of lemon will be a welcome treat.
Whatever you cook, bake, and enjoy this weekend, I hope that you have a lovely weekend through and through. Happy Easter from all of us here at 1840 Farm!
Here’s a peek at a few of the recipes that we love to include in our Easter celebration.
You can click on any of the photos to visit the original post so that you can print our recipes and add them to your celebration.
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/03/easter-favorites/
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