For the past few months, I have been participating in the Fennel Friday series with a group of food bloggers. Delicious smelling packages arrive in the mailbox from Pollen Ranch and then the fun begins. It has been a great experience, working to create and share delicious recipes that incorporate the different fennel pollen varieties.
When Divine Desserts arrived in the mail, I was stumped. I hadn’t thought of fennel pollen as a dessert component. The ingredient list for Divine Desserts includes orange peel, plum powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, clove, and a host of spices and flavors perfect for accenting a sweet preparation.
I struggled to find just the right recipe to make with Divine Desserts. I wanted the beautiful flavors of this spice blend to shine through. I added this spice blend to a batch of my family’s favorite Pumpkin Bars with Dark Chocolate Chips in place of the cinnamon that the recipe calls for. The flavor was incredible, but Ii was still in search of a recipe that would really highlight the flavor.
One night, as I was scooping vanilla bean ice cream to serve as dessert for my family, the answer was literally staring me in the face. Days earlier, I had made a batch of my dark chocolate “magic” ice cream topping. Suddenly, I knew exactly what to do with this Divine Desserts blend.
A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream was drizzled with the homemade magic shell topping. As the dark chocolate began to harden, I sprinkled the Divine Desserts on top of the chocolate. In seconds, the chill from the ice cream had hardened the magic shell and the spice blend was held firmly in place.
The dessert looked beautiful, but I wondered how it would taste. I delivered the cups of topped ice cream to our family table and waited for my taste testers to share their opinions. They were too busy enjoying their dessert to register an opinion.
I took their empty bowls as a compliment. Then they went on to remark about what a delicious, unique flavor the spice blend had added to a seemingly simple dish of vanilla ice cream topped with dark chocolate. Since then, Divine Desserts has become a favorite ice cream topping here at 1840 Farm. One taste of this flavor combination and it just might become a favorite in your house!
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Topping and Divine Desserts Spice Blend
Place a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in the bottom of a bowl or cup. Stir the homemade magic shell topping until smooth before pouring several spoonfuls over the ice cream. Before the topping has fully set, sprinkle liberally with Divine Desserts Spice Blend. Serve and enjoy!
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/09/vanilla-bean-ice-cream-with-dark-chocolate-and-divine/
Every year, we celebrate the arrival of autumn by bringing our favorite fall foods back into the regular rotation on our kitchen menu board. Mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and New England Cheese squash begin to dominate the dinner recipes. Pumpkin takes center stage where desserts are concerned.
As a child, I didn’t eat pumpkin very often. I loved pumpkin pie and it was ever-present at fall family gatherings. It was guaranteed to be part of any Thanksgiving celebration, especially if my paternal grandmother had anything to do about it. Other than pumpkin pie, we didn’t eat many pumpkin baked goods. Instead, our desserts tended to lean towards the chocolate end of the dessert scale.
Then I met my husband, a man who loves all things pumpkin. Since he also loves chocolate, this recipe was the perfect combination. Once I started making these pumpkin bars with dark chocolate chips, we were both happy to see fall arrive at 1840 Farm.
3/4 cup (6 ounces) butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup (2 ounces) plain yogurt
1 large egg
2 cups (240 grams) All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Position an oven racks in the middle of the oven. Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and sugar, stirring to combine. Add vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, yogurt, and egg and stir until completely smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir just until fully incorporated. Resist the urge to over mix.
Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35—40 minutes, rotating the pan after the first 20 minutes. The bars are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean with small crumbs attached.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
To view a printable copy of this recipe, click the link below to open the PDF file.
Last month, I shared my recipe for blueberry gooey butter cake. We were right in the heart of blueberry season here at 1840 Farm. Adding fresh berries to our family favorite gooey butter cake was a natural way to celebrate our best blueberry season ever.
For me, there are certain ingredients that never go out of season. Chocolate always seems to be near the top of that list. We all love chocolate and it finds its way into many of our favorite baked goods.
Chocolate chips are a lovely addition to our favorite gooey butter cake recipe no matter the season. They perfectly balance the sweet, creamy topping both in appearance and taste. One bite and you’ll agree: chocolate is always in season!
Make the crust by combining flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir to combine. Add the egg and milk and stir to fully incorporate. The mixture should be crumbly and evenly moistened.
Evenly press the crust mixture into an ungreased 13 x 9 inch pan. Set aside while the topping is prepared.
To prepare the topping, combine softened cream cheese and melted butter in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and stir until fully incorporated.
Pour topping over the prepared crust and spread to completely cover the crust. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the filling. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes.
The cake is done when the topping develops a light brown color. The topping should not be completely set in the middle as it will firm up as the cake cools. Remove the cake from the oven and cool at least 30 minutes before slicing. If desired, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar before serving.
To download a printable copy of this recipe, click the link below to open the PDF file.
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Sometimes you need a freshly baked cookie. I mean really need one. The trouble is, you don’t always have the time required to make one. There’s butter that needs to be brought to room temperature and dough that needs to be chilled before baking. I love to bake, but there are times when I need a recipe that doesn’t require pre-planning or the better part of my day in order to make it on to our dinner table.
This is one of those recipes. These cookies taste delicious, look fantastic, and go from raw ingredients to warm cookies fresh from the oven in less than 30 minutes. They never last long here at 1840 Farm. They seem to disappear almost as quickly as they were prepared.
You can read the I hope that you will enjoy baking a few of our favorite cookie recipes this holiday season and that you will share a few of your own. A flurry of cookies will be baked this week at 1840 Farm. We’ll have cookies for bedtime snack on Christmas Eve and there will have to be a few cookies left over for Santa. I’ll need as many great cookie recipes as I can get my hands on in order to keep fresh cookies in our farmhouse kitchen through next week. Sometimes, you just need a cookie and a great cookie recipe.
1840 Farm Coconut Macaroons makes approximately 20 cookies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with nonstick liners or parchment paper. Set aside while the cookie batter is prepared.
In a large bowl, combine coconut, sugar, vanilla, salt, and egg. Mix until thoroughly combined and evenly moist. Add flour and stir just until flour has been incorporated. Do not overmix.
Drop batter by rounded Tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 16-20 minutes or until the top of the macaroons are lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve and enjoy.
This recipe is linked to:
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Prepare yourself. December is shaping up to be a month full of cookies here at 1840 Farm. I will make no apologies for tempting you with photos of decadent looking cookie treats in the coming weeks. I will not shy away from posting recipes for batches of cookie dough that involve Julia Child-like quantities of butter. Consider yourself warned.
Somehow, cookies always find their way into our kitchen each December. It seems that there is always an opportunity to use a cookie to help celebrate the season. There are office luncheons, cookie exchanges, hungry visitors, and the plate of cookies left for Santa on the evening of his epic journey.
No matter the reason, cookies inevitably remind me of the holiday seasons of my childhood. Those years will filled with trays of beautiful cookies lovingly baked by my Grandmother. She loved to fill each tray with cookies of every kind from rugelach to chocolate crinkles and everywhere in between.
Now that my children are old enough to be making their own lifelong holiday memories, I know that theirs will be colored by time spent with their Grandmother making sugar cookies to leave for Santa. Of course, a few cookies will find their way to our counter and be enjoyed well before December 24th in the name of quality control. These memories are the kind of gift that will stay with them long after the tree and tinsel have been packed away until the next holiday season.
This year, we have an extra reason to make sure that there are always cookies on the counter at 1840 Farm. We were honored to be selected to help OXO and OXO Good Cookies raise awareness and much-needed funds to support Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was started by two OXO employees after their son was diagnosed with cancer. When they learned that 25% of children diagnosed with cancer don’t survive due to a lack of funding to develop more effective pediatric therapies, they took action and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was born.
In order to inspire us to get baking, OXO has provided me with a limited edition “be a good cookie” cookie spatula to give away to one lucky reader. The spatulas can be found at your local OXO retailer or online through Amazon. For each spatula sold, OXO will donate 50% of the profits, up to $100,000, to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Until December 31, they will also match all proceeds from registered bake sales, up to $100,000. These spatulas would make a perfect stocking stuffer for someone on your shopping list who loves to bake. In fact, a few of them just might find their way under our Christmas tree this year.
I hope that you will gather together with family and friends to “bake a difference” with all of us here at 1840 Farm whether that involves holding a fundraising bake sale or simply spending a little time together in your kitchen. I am a firm believer that involving yourself in either activity will brighten your holiday season. Each time we lift a homemade cookie, we’ll be reminded that we can all bake a difference and be a good cookie in our homes and our communities.
In my next post, I’ll be sharing all the details on how you can enter for a chance to win the coveted green spatula. I’ll also include a cookie recipe to inspire you to start your cookie baking. I’ll keep sharing a new cookie recipe every few days as we march through the month of December.
In the end, we’ll all gain something whether it be a spatula or a new, delicious cookie recipe just in time for our holiday celebrations. As an added bonus, we’ll help raise awareness for pediatric cancer research. Maybe some day Cookies for Kids’ Cancer will meet their goal of helping to provide more effective therapies for children with Cancer. Then more children will be able to make their own holiday cookie memories. I think that’s something that we can all raise a cookie for.
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/12/bake-a-difference-be-a-good-cookie/
There’s just something about a perfectly ripe peach. It bears no resemblance to the variety that comes from the grocery store with mealy texture and bland flavor. In fact, a peach at the peak of its season is not unlike my most beloved fruit, the tomato. At their best, they are luscious and sweet with juice to spare. I think that you get the point. I love a great peach.
So, when peach season comes to New England, I go immediately to the local pick your own orchard. I start dreaming up peach desserts before I’ve even left the driveway of 1840 Farm. What to make first? Pie is the easy answer followed closely by preserves.
So, after I had brought home a delicious batch of peaches I immediately made a peach raspberry pie using some of the raspberries from our year’s harvest. It was delicious. Then, by request of Mr. 1840 Farm, I made a peach pie with a cinnamon crumble topping. Delicious again.
Over the weekend, I made over 10 pints of peach raspberry preserves knowing full well that they would be just the mood lifter I’d need once winter had been keeping us indoors for several straight months. I tasted the warm preserves and found that I was three for three when it came to peach concoctions. I felt triumphant. I knew that the peach season of 2011 would be remembered for fantastic fruit and the resulting delicious pies and preserves. There are certainly worse ways for a summer to be remembered.
As the preserves cooled in their jars and the lids began to pop, I realized that I had a dilemma. What was I going to do with the remaining peaches that were still sitting on my kitchen counter? I peeled and sliced a few pounds to be frozen in case we felt inspired to make a peach pie later this fall. Even after all of my baking, canning, and freezing, there were seven ripe peaches staring up at me.
While I was contemplating the best way to utilize these peaches, my son saved the day. He reminded me that he had requested a batch of peach ice cream. Finally, I had a way to use up our freshly picked peaches. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a recipe for peach ice cream.
We’ve made quite a collection of homemade ice creams this summer at 1840 Farm. We’ve had vanilla bean, mint chocolate chip, honey vanilla, caramelized banana, and chocolate chocolate chip. Now I had to take my experience with these flavors and create a recipe for peach ice cream that would please my five-year old. It’s a good thing that I enjoy a challenge.
I studied my existing recipes and took a stab in the dark as to how much honey would be enough to accentuate the peach flavor without covering it up. I hoped that this recipe would deliver a smooth, creamy base with a rich peach flavor and a hint of honey. It didn’t disappoint. As I sat in our kitchen enjoying the first scoop, I knew that there was only one problem with this delicious concoction. I was going to have to hurry back to the orchard and pick more peaches before peach season was over.
Honeyed Peach Ice Cream
1 1/2 pounds peaches
1/4 cup (84 grams) honey
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract Honey Ice Cream Base
1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
2 Tablespoons (42 grams) honey
3 large egg yolks
1 Tablespoon (21 grams) honey
Peel and pit half of the peaches. Chop the peaches and place them in a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup of honey. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook approximately 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. When peaches are softened, remove from heat and allow to cool uncovered. When the peach mixture has cooled, place it in a blender and puree until smooth. Add vanilla and blend to combine.
Combine milk, cream, and 2 Tablespoons of honey in a saucepan. Warm over medium heat until bubbles begin to form on the surface. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in a small bowl. Temper the egg yolks by adding 1/4 cup of the warm cream mixture and whisking to combine thoroughly. Gradually add the tempered egg yolk mixture to the pan and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from heat and place mixture in the blender with the peach puree. Puree until smooth, taking care to vent the blender and cover with a kitchen towel to prevent the hot mixture from erupting. Pour the mixture into a bowl and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
After the base has cooled, process it in your ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions. As the ice cream is processed, peel and pit the remaining peaches. Finely dice the peaches and gradually add them to the base as it reaches the final stage of processing. Remove the completed ice cream from the machine and place it in a freezer safe container. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of honey over the frozen mixture and stir gently to incorporate. Freeze until firm.
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Wasn’t the first day of summer last week? I am quite sure that it was although Mother Nature seems to have forgotten. In the last ten days, I’ve found myself digging through fall and winter clothes to outfit myself and my children with long sleeve shirts, jackets, sweaters, and the like. I am not happy about this.
We live in New England where the growing season is only 90 days long. We trudge through every winter and mud season, aka spring, holding the promise of summer close at hand. We have to, it’s the only way to make it through. Yet here we sit mere days from July with temperatures barely breaking the 60 degree mark. I am not amused.
This should be the time of year when we end a day of working outside by swimming in the seasonal pool in the backyard. Icy cocktails should be served. The garden should need watering to cope with the abundant sunshine. I should be able to eat ice cream without wearing a jacket.
I will have to press on in spite of the unseasonably cool weather. I will persevere. I will have multiple flavors of homemade ice cream in our freezer to accompany our Fourth of July Feast. If the weather hasn’t warmed up by then, I may rescind Mother Nature’s invitation to dine with us.
On to the ice cream. It is a perennial favorite here at 1840 Farm. We all have our favorite flavors, but a few are popular with every member of our family. Honey vanilla bean is a great base for ice cream sundaes and caramelized banana sends everyone running to the churning ice cream machine for a taste.
How do they know when to come running with a tasting spoon in hand? Even if I haven’t divulged my plan to make caramelized banana ice cream, their sense of smell gives me away. Preparing the bananas suddenly perfumes our whole farmhouse with the heavenly smell of warm honey and bananas. In less than thirty minutes, the base is prepped and the hard work begins. We need to allow the base to sit overnight in the refrigerator to completely cool and allow the flavors to develop.
I will admit to skipping this step in the past. I cooled the base in an ice bath and processed it in my machine. Doing so never yielded the rich, smooth texture that I can achieve if I allow the mix to chill overnight. After I had tried it a few times I decided that the overnight chill would just have to be part of the process. We would all just have to take a deep breath and wait.
I hope that you will enjoy this ice cream as much as we do. I also hope that Mother Nature will remember that it is indeed summer. A little warmth and sunshine would be much appreciated. Until then, I’ll take a deep breath and wait. At least I’ll have ice cream to make the wait a little more bearable.
Caramelized Banana Ice Cream
I prefer to use honey in this recipe instead of refined sugar. If you prefer, brown sugar could be substituted for the honey. Using brown sugar will result in a darker ice cream but the taste will still be delicious.
1 Tablespoon butter
4 Tablespoons (84 grams) honey 3 medium bananas sliced 1/2″ thick
8 ounces (1 cup) heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1 pinch sea salt
16 ounces (2 cups) whole milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add honey and banana slices and saute until caramelized and soft, about 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add cream, stirring to combine. Remove from heat.
In small bowl, combine egg yolk and 2 Tablespoons of the warm cream mixture. Whisk until smooth. Add egg mixture to skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.
Add warm mixture to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add salt, whole milk, and vanilla. Pulse until well combined. Remove mixture to a covered container. Refrigerate overnight. Prepare ice cream maker for use.
Pour refrigerated mixture into freezer base and process as recommended by manufacturer. Place ice cream in a freezer safe container and freeze until ready to serve.
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/06/caramelized-banana-ice-cream/
As a general rule, I might be insulted if someone tasted food that I had prepared and promptly announced that it was “too delicious” for me to have made. I might grab said item away from the offending party and refuse to share any more with them. I might, but last weekend was the exception to this rule.
The reason was simple. My son had made the comment. No, I didn’t merely write it off as the musings of a five-year old. It was much sweeter than that. It was all about a young boy and his love of his Dad.
To put it simply, my son loves the chocolate chip cookies that Daddy makes for him. They are one of the few baked items that he comes running into our farmhouse kitchen for. I’ve already written about his strict views on his Grandmother’s sugar cookies. I guess, upon further review, that he has very specific cookie tastes.
Last Saturday, he made a request that just couldn’t be fulfilled. He wanted to play with Dad after dinner and also wanted to have the previously mentioned chocolate chip cookies for bedtime snack. It seems like a simple enough request, especially when you’re five. Unfortunately, there are only so many minutes in the brief time between dinner and bedtime snack. Someone had to step in. It seemed like it might as well be me.
So, I did my best and decided to change the method of making his beloved cookies in order to meet our time constraints. I used a food processor instead of a mixer. I made the whole batch in a pan instead of dropping individual balls of dough on the cookie sheets to bake. The pan of food processor chocolate chip cookies was in the oven in less than ten minutes. They baked while I cleaned up the dinner dishes and the boys had their quality time together.
By the time the cookies had cooled, it was time for bedtime snack. We topped the warm cookies with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream. My son couldn’t wait to sit down and take the first bite.
He loved it. He proclaimed for all of us gathered at the table that Daddy always made the best cookies. My husband told him that I had actually made these cookies using the same recipe that he usually followed. My son stopped for a moment to take in the information. Then he looked at me and said, “Mom, I know that you didn’t really make these. Your cookies are always good, but these are too good. They’re so good that they have to be Daddy’s cookies.”
I could have been offended. I could have put up an argument. I could have stormed into the kitchen and claimed the entire pan of cookies as my own. Instead, I smiled and tried to capture the moment in my memory forever. How could I be upset? Here sat my son enjoying a homemade snack and proclaiming that it was too good to be made by anyone but his Dad.
These are the moments that lifelong memories are made of. I don’t intend to stand in the way of a boy and a happy moment shared with his Dad. I do intend to make sure that I make these cookies for him any time he wants them. If he thinks that his Dad made them, I’ll simply smile. I’ll know that decades from now he’ll remember Daddy’s chocolate chip cookies that were too good to be made by mom. In my opinion, that’s a family food memory too good to miss being a part of.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars These cookies can go from raw ingredients to baking in the oven in less than ten minutes. They are delicious served warm topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract 2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add eggs and process until well incorporated. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and chocolate chips and process just until combined. Resist the temptation to overmix the batter.
Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out clean. Serve warm.
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/06/too-good-chocolate-chip-cookie-bars/
Here at 1840 Farm, we are three years and six months into our nut free years. Not that I’m counting. Okay, who am I kidding? I’m definitely counting. I could tell you that I don’t miss eating nuts, but I’d be lying. Nuts were my go to healthy snack back in the day. I loved to eat them and I loved to bake with them. I firmly believe that a sea salted cashew is one of the most delicious edibles on the face of the earth. Unfortunately, they are also my arch nemesis.
I gave up walking down the nut aisle in the grocery store lo those many years ago. There’s didn’t seem to be any point unless I was trying to depress myself or make my son panic at the mere proximity of his sworn enemy. That was until a few months ago when I was looking for sunflower seeds for our flock of chickens here at 1840 Farm. I had read that sunflower seeds would provide our hens with nutritious snack during the long winter. I had no choice but to force myself to turn the cart down the nut aisle and look for sunflower seeds that came without a warning that they “might contain peanuts.”
So imagine my complete surprise and utter elation when I discovered Wheat Nuts at the grocery store. A product that claimed to taste like nuts without containing even a trace of them. As in, I can keep these in my house without needing to bulk up my supply of Epi-pens. Hallelujah. Praise the genius who invented this one.
I have to admit to eating them in the car on the way home. No, I don’t normally do that, but I couldn’t wait to try them. I also couldn’t wait to alert everyone at my house that we had a nut free, nut-like snack to add to the pantry. The last thing I wanted to do was try yet another nut substitute that didn’t taste anything like a nut and watch the disappointed looks on their faces as another new product went straight into the garbage bin. Instead, I decided to take one for the team and try them myself figuring that I could get rid of the evidence on the way home if I needed to. Wheat Nuts had me at the first bite. I couldn’t believe how good they tasted.
I am happy to say that we are all still in love with Wheat Nuts. We eat them by themselves as a snack. We make our own nut free trail mixes with them. We used them to bake a completely nut free pecan-like pie. Our favorite way to eat them is baked into Pecanless Pie Bars. They are a revelation after being nut free for so long.
Now I’m off to watch the NCAA Tournament with my family. I won’t be thinking about allergies or nut free snacks, but I’m glad that we have some Wheat Nuts in the pantry just in case. I’ll just be hoping that the Kansas Jayhawks can advance to the next round. We’ll root them on and have a great time doing so. If you were here to join us in the Rock Chalk Chant, I’d be happy to pass the Wheat Nuts your way.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper.
Place all ingredients in food processor. Process using on/off turns until the mixture has just formed small clumps. Do not over process. Sprinkle mixture over the bottom of prepared pan. Lightly press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes until light golden brown. Prepare filling as the crust is baking.
Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, honey, and half and half. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chopped Wheat Nuts.
When the shortbread crust is finished baking, remove it from the oven and immediately pour warm filling over the top. If necessary, spread filling evenly over the crust. Return pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Run a sharp knife or spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the cooled bars. Use the edges of the parchment paper to lift cooled bars from the pan to a cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut into bars. Serve.
Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/03/pass-the-wheat-nuts/
Yesterday was a special day at 1840 Farm. Without getting into too much detail, I will tell you that we found ourselves in the midst of a birthday. A birthday that involves a child and the celebration of a decade gone by.
I’m not sure where the time went. I won’t allow myself to wallow in sentimentality or triteness here. I’m already doing that in my head. In any case, it has happened. The days led to weeks, then months, then years. And here we stand, looking back on the last decade wondering how we got here.
Birthdays are all about throwing caution to the wind and celebrating the moment, even more so when a child is involved. This one seemed like the perfect opportunity to head into the kitchen with my kids in tow to bake something. The birthday girl likes vanilla bean cupcakes, so they came up the winner.
I stood in the kitchen and watched as my children cracked eggs, creamed butter and sugar, and reveled in the excitement that is a child’s birthday. I didn’t see birthday excitement on the ingredient listing for the recipe, but I can assure you that a heaping cup full went into these cupcakes. They laughed as they measured and mixed. Yes, flour became airborne and dusted the counter. No, I didn’t care. This wasn’t an activity meant for neatness. It’s almost impossible to truly celebrate the moment while tidying up the kitchen counters as if Martha Stewart might be dropping by.
As the cupcakes baked in the oven, we moved on to frosting. My daughter requested a cream cheese version. My son insisted that it be pink in honor of his sister’s favorite color. A very big concession from a boy whose favorite colors are anything dark without so much as a hint of a “girly” color.
And so it was. Pink cream cheese frosting along with a few other colors including dark chocolate brown. As soon as they were finished being used, the beaters were licked until they were shiny and bare. Cupcakes cooled on their racks while I cleaned up the last remnants of our baking celebration. In short order, it was time to frost the cupcakes and taste them just to make sure that they were worthy of our big birthday celebration.
The cupcakes received the seal of approval from the birthday girl. As my children ate their cupcakes, my daughter marveled at how pretty the frosting was. My son predictably ate the top half of the cupcake with its frosting and then announced that he was too full to finish the plain cake. Then he told me, as only a young boy could, that, “Cupcakes taste better when you make them with someone and for someone.”
I couldn’t agree more. Today reinforced what I knew before the last decade had even begun. The kitchen is simply a room in your house unless you fill it with the people who matter most to you. Baking and cooking can be transformed from a daily chore into a true labor of love if done correctly. And by correctly, I don’t mean precise measurements and intricate preparations. I mean music playing overhead mixing with laughter in the air while you and yours plan, discuss, prepare, and enjoy food together. Over the years, I have found creative ways to substitute and modify countless recipes, but there is no substitute for the experience that is cooking and eating together.
It is a mystery what the next decade will bring for my family or yours. What I do know is that time is always ticking and it won’t be long until we will all be looking back on another ten years gone by. I’ll blink and another decade will need to be celebrated.
I don’t know who originally stated that “time flies when you are having fun.” Whoever they were, they were right. Maybe that’s why these last ten years have passed by so quickly. I am having fun. I’m in the kitchen with my family.
I have to agree with the sage wisdom of a five-year old on this topic. Food does taste better when you make it with someone and for someone. Try it yourself. Gather together in your kitchen with someone near and dear to you and make something. Anything. You won’t be sorry.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
These cupcakes are moist and dense, perfect for providing a place for your favorite frosting to land. If you have buttermilk on hand, it can be substituted for the skim milk and apple cider vinegar mixture. These cupcakes are not overly sweet. That is my preference when I know that sweet frosting will accompany them. If you prefer a sweet cupcake, the amount of sugar called for in the recipe can be doubled without adversely affecting the cake’s texture.
12 ounces butter or margarine, room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract 2 cups King Arthur white wheat flour
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
7 1/2 ounces skim milk
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or arrange silicone cupcake liners on baking sheets. In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In small bowl, combine milk and apple cider vinegar.
In large bowl, cream sugar and butter using stand or handheld mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until completely incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the combined dry ingredients and milk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined.
Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before embellishing with frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting makes 3 cups
This frosting is a delicious addition to cupcakes or cakes. It is firm enough to hold its place on baked goods and lends a creamy texture to anything it is served with. The cream cheese allows it to stay slightly softer than a traditional buttercream, making it less than ideal for detailed piping work.
Combine cream cheese, butter or margarine, and shortening in a large bowl. Using a mixer on medium speed, cream the ingredients together until smooth. Add vanilla extract and mix to combine. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Mix until frosting is completely smooth.
Color frosting as desired and decorate cupcakes. Unused frosting can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 7 days.
I’m having a hard time writing this post without hearing Tina Fey saying “Uhlaskuh” in my head. Nevertheless, the aforementioned dessert is so fantastic that I will bravely forge ahead.
I don’t remember when I first started making Baked Alaska. I do know that it was pre-egg allergy in the family, so that puts it back a few full calendars ago.
Back in the day, this recipe was a cook’s favorite. I loved that I could make it ahead of time and pull it straight from the freezer while the broiler heated. Five minutes later I had a dessert worthy of a magazine cover.
When eggs were finally welcome in our refrigerator again, the requests for long since abandoned recipes started at mach speed. It was hard to keep up with the continuous list of foods that we had given up. It didn’t take long for Baked Alaska to come to the top of the list.
As far as desserts go, this one is tough to beat. Easy to make. Can be made ahead of time. Tastes delicious. Looks beautiful. See, I told you. This one has it all. Traditionally, Baked Alaska is made to serve several diners. I prefer to make individual desserts, but the recipe can be made in either form.
There’s really no point in me waxing poetic about it any longer. Try it yourself. Soon you’ll be the one hearing Tina Fey’s voice in your head. But it will be worth it. You’ll have Baked Alaska waiting in your freezer.
Baked Alaska Serves 4 – 6
4 ounces pound cake (can be frozen or room temperature)
8 ounces chocolate ice cream
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup sugar
Gather 4-6 broiler safe bowls or cups. Remove chocolate ice cream from freezer and allow to soften.
Cut pound cake into 1/2 inch cubes. Divide evenly between bowls. Divide softened ice cream between portions and spread on top of pound cake. Pound cake should be completely covered by ice cream.
In medium bowl, make meringue. Combine egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Using mixer, beat at high speed until frothy. Continue beating while adding sugar two Tablespoons at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form and mixture is glossy. Divide meringue between the bowls and spread to fully cover chocolate ice cream. Place in freezer. Freeze for several hours to overnight before continuing.
Preheat broiler with oven rack five to six inches away from broiler element. Remove Baked Alaska from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature at least five minutes as broiler heats. Place bowls under broiler. Watch closely to avoid burning. Broil 5-8 minutes or until meringue is medium brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
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