Tag Archive: nut free

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard BannerIt’s difficult not to fall in love with ice cream.  It’s so delicious and such a welcome treat on a warm summer day. Ice cream is certainly delicious, but you haven’t lived until you have been treated to frozen custard.  The difference may seem subtle on paper, but one taste and you’ll understand the distinction between the two. At our house, vanilla custard almost always takes the place of standard vanilla ice cream.  Once we tasted frozen custard made with our hens’ fresh eggs, there was simply no going back.

So, what’s the difference between ice cream and frozen custard?  To begin with, ice cream is a frozen concoction that does not necessarily contain eggs.  In fact, Philadelphia style ice cream specifically excludes them.  During our egg free years due to a food allergy, Philadelphia style ice cream was our go to.  Those simple recipes that were intentionally egg free allowed us to make batch after batch of homemade ice cream that tasted delicious and didn’t carry with it the potential of causing an allergic reaction.

According to the USDA, something labeled “ice cream” should contain at least 20 percent milk solids and 10 percent milk fat by weight.  Premium brands tend to include a higher percentage of fat, using a combination of milk and cream to deliver a smooth texture.  Eggs can be used, but they are not required and often omitted as they add steps to the ice cream making process and increase the cost to produce each batch.

Frozen custard relies on egg yolks to deliver a velvety texture and richer flavor.  The lecithin in the yolks naturally emulsifies the custard, creating a creamier texture.  The USDA requires food billed as “frozen custard” to contain at least 1.4 percent egg yolk by weight.  Some brands include more than required and deliver a richer, fuller flavor thanks to the extra yolks.

It’s hard for me to argue against adding egg yolks to your frozen concoction during this time of year.  Our chickens and ducks are leaving us full nests every day and making batches of frozen custard seems like a great way to enjoy our fresh eggs and create a delicious treat for dessert that doesn’t heat up the farmhouse by baking in the oven.  On a warm summer’s day, nothing seems quite as decadent as a scoop of creamy, delicious homemade custard made with fresh eggs collected from our own hens.

Over the years, I have made several different types of ice cream and custard.  When it came to vanilla bean frozen custard, I had used a few recipes, but we didn’t have a clear favorite.  This year, I decided that with a mountain of fresh chicken and duck eggs accumulating in the farmhouse kitchen, it was high time to develop a recipe we would love.

I gathered the four recipes I had tried in the past and then went in search of a few new ones to consider.  They were all remarkably similar combinations of cream, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla.  I tried a few of them and set my family to the task of tasting the different variations and registering their opinions about the taste and texture.  Each batch was slightly different.  They were all yummy, but there wasn’t a clear front runner. 

Luckily, I remembered that a book in my cookbook collection had a custard recipe that Thomas Jefferson had written.  While it had been years since I had read the book, that recipe stuck with me.  It was hard to forget the fact that Thomas Jefferson had the distinction of being the first American to write a recipe for ice cream.  In 1780, he detailed the ingredients and the steps required in his day to create vanilla Jefferson Ice Cream Recipebean ice cream.  While he called it ice cream, the recipe is in fact custard due to the high number of egg yolks in the batch.  Thanks to Thomas Jefferson, I made a few changes to my own recipe and gathered the ingredients to make the next batch.

Jefferson references using “2 bottles of good cream, 6 yolks of eggs, 1 ½ pounds sugar, and a stick of vanilla” in his recipe.  I decided to use 6 yolks which was one more than I had used in any of my recipes.  With regard to the sugar, I didn’t need nearly as much.  Instead of using all heavy cream, I used a mixture of heavy cream, whipping cream, and half and half.  I hoped that the result would be just as decadent and delicious but with a slightly lighter, creamier feel. 

We watched as this batch churned away in our ice cream maker.  As it began to freeze and come together, we could no longer resist the urge to dip a spoon in to grab a taste.  One taste was all it took for us to decide that this version was a showstopper.  We had found our perfect vanilla bean frozen custard recipe.

Since then, I have made this recipe countless times.  It always comes together beautifully and delivers a delicious, creamy, rich frozen treat that our family just loves.  With each batch, I can’t help but marvel at the fact that the recipe I am making in our farmhouse kitchen isn’t much different from the recipe Jefferson wrote down nearly 250 years ago.  I guess that this delicious custard recipe proves that sometimes you simply can’t improve upon perfection.

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, don’t let that deter you from making a batch of this frozen custard. You can omit the vanilla bean and still make delicious vanilla custard thanks to the vanilla extract. Sure, the resulting custard will be missing the pretty vanilla bean flecks and have a slightly less pronounced vanilla flavor, but it will still taste amazing. I like to use our duck’s eggs in this recipe as they have enormous, rich yolks that impart a beautiful pale yellow color to the finished custard. A version made with fresh chicken eggs is equally delicious and no less beautiful. I reserve the whites and scramble them as a special treat for Penny Lane.
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Ingredients
  1. 6 large egg yolks
  2. 1 ½ cups half and half
  3. 1 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 vanilla bean, split
  5. 1 pinch salt
  6. ¾ cup heavy cream
  7. ¾ cup whipping cream
  8. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk them briskly until they thicken slightly.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the half and half, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to encourage the sugar to fully dissolve into the liquid. Remove the pan from the heat once the liquid is nearly ready to come to a simmer.
  3. Temper the egg yolks by slowly drizzling the warm half and half mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Whisk briskly to combine before transferring the mixture back to the saucepan.
  4. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk as the mixture warms to keep the custard from scorching as it cooks. The custard will thicken as it warms, combing to a pudding like consistency when finished. The properly thickened custard will coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat. Place a fine mesh strainer or colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Transfer the warm custard to the strainer and allow it to pass through to the bowl beneath. This will ensure that the custard is completely smooth and does not contain any undissolved grains of sugar or cooked egg. Continue until all of the custard has been strained.
  6. Add the heavy cream, whipping cream, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Whisk to combine all of the ingredients. Chill the custard base until it is completely cooled. Attempting to churn ice cream or custard before the mixture is completely chilled will result in a custard with a grainy texture. If you can, allow the custard to cool overnight in the refrigerator. You can also place the bowl of custard inside a larger bowl filled with ice water to hasten the cooling by several hours.
  7. After the base has cooled completely, process it in your ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the frozen custard from the machine and place it in a freezer safe container. Freeze until firm and enjoy every single bite!
Notes
  1. If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, don’t let that deter you from making a batch of this frozen custard. You can omit the vanilla bean and still make delicious vanilla custard thanks to the vanilla extract. Sure, the resulting custard will be missing the pretty vanilla bean flecks and have a slightly less pronounced vanilla flavor, but it will still taste amazing.
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Farmhouse Coleslaw

Farmhouse Coleslaw BannerI love cabbage.  I like it raw.  I like it cooked, especially in the traditional German dishes my grandmother made when I was a child.  Hand me a soft Bierock filled with seasoned ground beef and sautéed cabbage and prepare for me to get misty at the thought of the version she made when I was young.

Ironically, I don’t like most preparations of coleslaw.  As much as I love cabbage, I just don’t usually enjoy the dressing portion of a traditional slaw as much as I would like.  Fortunately, preparing a homemade version is simple and the ingredients can easily be tailored to your family’s taste.

When I decided to create my own version at home, I filled it with my favorite fresh flavors.  Since then, this slaw has become a family favorite here at the farmhouse.  It’s delicious served with burgers, sandwiches, or grilled sausages.  It also makes a great topping for tacos.

I love to include apples in this slaw.  They add such a delicious sweetness to pair with the earthy cabbage.  Their crisp flesh is also a nice texture to include in the mix.  To keep the apples from browning, I used to sprinkle a little apple cider vinegar on them before adding them to the slaw.  Then I had the wild idea to use a bit of the pickle brine I always have on hand in the refrigerator from our batches of Spicy Ginger and Garlic Quick Pickles.  The brine works just as well to prevent browning and also adds a lovely flavor to the slaw.  You can use any acidic brine you might have lingering in the fridge or simple add a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to the apples with equally good results.

This slaw is a great side dish during the warm summer months.  While the main course is cooking on the grill, I make a batch of this slaw and dinner is ready without heating up the farmhouse.  The next night, any leftovers can be served after a gentle toss to redistribute the components.  The colors of the two colors of cabbage and apples are so beautiful on the plate and the crisp texture and flavors are sure to be a hit at your dinner table.

Farmhouse Coleslaw
I love to include apples in this slaw. They add such a delicious sweetness to pair with the earthy cabbage. Their crisp flesh is also a nice texture to include in the mix. To keep the apples from browning, I used to sprinkle a little apple cider vinegar on them before adding them to the slaw. Then I had the wild idea to use a bit of the pickle brine I always have on hand in the refrigerator from our batches of Spicy Ginger and Garlic Quick Pickles. The brine works just as well to prevent browning and also adds a lovely flavor to the slaw. You can use any acidic brine you might have lingering in the fridge or simple add a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to the apples with equally good results. I like to cut the apples into matchstick sized pieces and use a vegetable peeler to create thin ribbons of carrot. You can cut the fruit and vegetables into any size and shape of bite sized pieces based on your preference. I use Head Country spice seasoning blends in my slaw. I have also used other grill blends and even taco seasoning blend when it was all that I had on hand. Your favorite blend of grilling or seasoning spices will be delicious. Add more seasoning if needed and a pinch of cayenne pepper if you’d like a little extra spice.
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Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup mayonnaise
  2. 1 Tablespoon seasoning blend
  3. 1 green apple
  4. 1 red apple
  5. ½ cup pickle brine
  6. 2 large carrots
  7. 6 radishes
  8. ½ head green cabbage
  9. ½ head purple cabbage
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and 1 Tablespoon of your favorite seasoning blend.
  2. Slice the apples into ½ thick slices. Cut each slice into matchstick shaped pieces, omitting the core. Add the apple pieces and pickle brine to a small bowl and toss gently to coat. Allow the apples to remain in the brine as you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots. Use the peeler to cut ribbons from the peeled carrots. Add the carrots to the large bowl with the seasoned mayonnaise. Thinly slice the radishes and add them to the bowl.
  4. Prepare the cabbage by cutting each head into quarters. Remove the core of the cabbage before slicing each quarter into thin slices. You can also grate the cabbage if you prefer. Add all of the cabbage to the large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the apple pieces from their brine and add to the large bowl. Reserve the brine.
  5. Toss the slaw gently to coat with the seasoned mayonnaise. Taste for seasoning. Add more seasoning if desired and a bit of the brine if needed to thin the mayonnaise and coat the components. Serve cold and sprinkle with the seasoning mix before serving if desired.
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Raspberry Rhubarb Curd

Raspberry Rhubarb Curd SquareA few weeks ago, I shared my recipe for Creamy Lemon Curd.  It’s a staple here during the spring when we’re all craving the light, crisp flavor of fresh fruit months before our New England gardens will have anything ready to harvest. 

This is also the time of year that we begin evaluating what we have on hand from last year’s harvest.  It’s time to start using the last of the pantry and freezer’s stores of raspberries, rhubarb, and heirloom tomatoes.  Last year’s banner crops of raspberries and rhubarb gave us plenty to enjoy over the winter with enough to carry us right into this year’s harvest.

So, when I made fresh pound cake a few weeks ago, I wondered if I could create a raspberry rhubarb curd to serve with it.  I knew that I could make a delicious raspberry rhubarb simple syrup because we use one all summer long to flavor lemonade and cocktails.  I also knew that I had some of that very syrup in the refrigerator, saving me a step.

In a few minutes, I had a pot of that syrup bubbling along, thickening into a gorgeous smooth curd.  It was sweet with just the right hint of tartness.  It was a beautiful orchid purple color.

Since making this curd, it has become even more popular here at the farmhouse than our Creamy Lemon Curd.  We love to spoon it over slices of Old Fashioned Pound Cake, Daffodil Cake, or on our homemade Lemon Drop Cookies.  It’s as beautiful as it is delicious.  I hope that your family will enjoy it as much as we do!

Raspberry Rhubarb Curd
I keep a jar of fresh raspberry rhubarb syrup on hand in the refrigerator during the spring and summer. We use that beautiful syrup to flavor lemonades and cocktails. When I have plenty of the syrup on hand, I simply use 1 cup of that syrup to make this curd. If not, I make a fresh batch of syrup, using 1 cup to make curd and keeping the rest on hand in the refrigerator.
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For the Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup
  1. 10 ounces raspberries, fresh or frozen
  2. 6 ounces sliced rhubarb stalks, fresh or frozen
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 1 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
For the Curd
  1. 1 cup raspberry rhubarb syrup
  2. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  3. 4 large eggs
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) butter
For the Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan placed over medium heat. Stir gently to combine the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  2. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth to remove the fruit and seeds. Press the fruit to release all of the liquid.
  4. Transfer the strained syrup to a container with a tight fitting lid. I like to store my homemade syrups in glass bottles with a pour spout for easy dispensing. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Curd
  1. Cut the butter into Tablespoon sized pieces, reserving 2 Tablespoons to be added to the curd after it is finished cooking.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the raspberry rhubarb syrup, lemon juice, eggs, and salt. Whisk gently to combine Place a medium saucepan over low heat. Add 14 Tablespoons of the butter to the pan. Once the butter melts, add the raspberry rhubarb syrup mixture and whisk to combine. Increase the heat slightly and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. A perfectly thickened curd will be what the French would call “Nappe”.
  3. Nappe is a fancy term for the consistency a sauce reaches when it is thick enough to coat a dish without being too thick. Checking to see if a curd or custard is nappe is simple. Immerse a clean spoon into the mixture; remove the spoon, turning it so that the back of the spoon is facing you. Run a finger down the length of the spoon from the handle to the tip. If a clean path is created and the curd remains on both sides of the spoon, you have achieved nappe. If not, simply continue to cook the sauce while whisking until it thickens properly.
  4. Once the curd reaches nappe consistency, remove the pan from the heat. I like to strain my curd to into a large bowl to ensure that there are no lumps or bits of scrambled egg in the finished curd, but this step can be skipped. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter, whisking to incorporate the butter into the curd as it melts.
  5. Transfer the finished curd to a large bowl or Mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Curd can be kept in the refrigerator for one week.
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Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day Favorites Branded

Memorial Day is the official kickoff to summer and we feel like celebrating!  We’ll be marking the holiday weekend with a few of our favorite seasonal recipes, time spent outside working in the gardens, and by doing a little something special in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.

We’re making our Memorial Day dinner on the grill with dry aged beef or Asian pork burgers for everyone.  Those grilled burgers will be topped with each person’s favorite toppings including our homemade Spicy Ginger & Garlic Quick Pickles , Classic Sauerkraut, Kimchi, and Smoky Tomato Jam.  We’ll be serving up Farmhouse Style Onion Rings and Grilled Romaine Salad on the side topped with a lemony garlic homemade dressing.

I just made a fresh batch of our Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup using fruit from last year’s berry patch.  We’ll use that beautiful, tangy red syrup to dress up lemonade or make a warm weather favorite, the Franklin Cooler cocktail. Last year’s raspberries are pulling double duty this year.  They’ll also make the filling for dessert in a homemade Raspberry Pie

Monday morning will start off with a Strawberry Puff Pancake using the bounty of fresh eggs our hens are providing.  I can’t wait until we have fresh strawberries in our own garden to enjoy spooned over this delicious breakfast treat.  The plants are loaded with flowers, so I have my fingers crossed that we’ll have a bumper crop of red berries this year.

Happy Memorial Day from all of us here at 1840 Farm.  For those 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 waves 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.  We’ll try to do the same!


We’re celebrating the holiday weekend by doing a little something special in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.

First, we’re marking the occasion of the one year anniversary of adding ducks to our farm by offering coupon code “QUACK” so that you can save $5.00 off any purchase (yes, that even includes custom orders)!  Second, we’re adding in a free handmade 4″ coaster sized trivet to every order we send out.  And last but not least, we’re making a donation to Red Nose Day along with our friends from Good Dirt and Gingham Creative.  Red Nose Day is an annual event to raise awareness and funds to help end childhood poverty around the world.  Together, we can help make a difference in the lives of children all over the world.

Here’s a peek at what’s available in our shop:

Shop SS 052717

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Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup SquareIt’s egg season here, so I am forever looking for ways both new and old to use our seemingly unending supply of fresh eggs.  This weekend, it was unseasonably chilly and rainy outside.  We broke out our winter clothes and turned on the pellet stove to keep cozy.  Even with the fire burning, we were still looking for ways to warm up. 

With dinnertime looming, soup seemed like a great idea.  Yet, I didn’t have the luxury of a day’s time to simmer soup on the stove for hours in order to create a soup with the deep and delicious flavor I wanted.  I also hadn’t planned on making soup when I made my weekly trip to the grocery store, so I was limited to the ingredients I had on hand in the refrigerator and pantry.

After a quick survey of our options, it was clear that egg drop soup was the winner.  I had all of the ingredients on hand and I knew that I could create a delicious soup with complex flavors that would bring comfort with every spoonful.  Best of all, I could use a few of those fresh eggs resting on the counter in our egg basket!

 

Egg Drop Soup
I make this soup using our homemade bone broth. If you don’t have bone broth on hand, a high quality stock or broth may be substituted.
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Ingredients
  1. 6 cups chicken bone broth or stock
  2. ½ teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated
  3. 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  4. 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
  5. ¼ cup chicken bone broth or stock
  6. ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  7. salt to taste
  8. 3 large eggs, beaten
  9. 2 Tablespoons chives or green onion, sliced finely
  10. sriracha and soy sauce for serving
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, combine the broth, ginger, and soy sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and ¼ cup broth, stirring until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the simmering broth, stirring or whisking to combine. After a few minutes of simmering, the broth will take on a velvety texture, thickening slightly.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the three eggs until light and frothy. Using a spoon or ladle, stir the broth to create movement in the pan. As the broth is moving, drizzle the beaten egg into the broth. The egg will immediately begin to cook and form delicate ribbons in the broth. Continue until all of the egg has been added. Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Add the chives or green onion to the soup and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and white pepper to your liking. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with a drizzle of soy sauce and sriracha if desired. Enjoy!
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Creamy Lemon Curd

Creamy Lemon Curd BrandedThere’s something about lemon curd that I just love.  I’ll confess that I’m not a huge fan of everything lemony, but for some inexplicable reason I adore lemon curd.  I love the burst of bright citrusy flavor as much as I enjoy the creamy texture.  It just seems to taste of spring and you can count on me to make it every year when winter gives way to warmer weather and the snow finally begins to melt away.

Curd is simple to make and adds a touch of decadence to scones, pound cake, sponge cake, or as a base filling for berry tarts and tartlets.  With its gorgeous yellow color and satiny smooth appearance, it is as beautiful as it is delicious.

Take your time when making curd just as you would when making custard.  The process is simple, but rushing the thickening process can result in a grainy curd or even tiny bits of scrambled egg.  Instead, spend a few more minutes bringing the liquid to a simmer over low to medium heat, whisking constantly.  The reward will be a perfectly smooth curd that will be well worth a few extra minutes at the stove.

Creamy Lemon Curd
Yields 2
During Meyer Lemon season, I love to make this recipe using Meyer Lemons which tend to be a bit sweeter and less acidic than traditional lemons. When I do, I simply reduce the sugar to a scant cup and proceed as usual. The resulting curd has a bit more of an orange undertone from the color of the Meyer Lemons, but otherwise tastes amazingly similar.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  2. 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  3. 1 ¼ cup sugar
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) butter
Instructions
  1. Cut the butter into Tablespoon sized pieces, reserving 2 Tablespoons to be added to the curd after it is finished cooking.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, zest, sugar, eggs, and salt. Whisk gently to combine Place a medium saucepan over low heat. Add 14 Tablespoons of the butter to the pan. Once the butter melts, add the lemon juice mixture and whisk to combine. Increase the heat slightly and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. A perfectly thickened curd will be what the French would call “Nappe”.
  3. Nappe is a fancy term for the consistency a sauce reaches when it is thick enough to coat a dish without being too thick. Checking to see if a curd or custard is nappe is simple. Immerse a clean spoon into the mixture; remove the spoon, turning it so that the back of the spoon is facing you. Run a finger down the length of the spoon from the handle to the tip. If a clean path is created and the curd remains on both sides of the spoon, you have achieved nappe. If not, simply continue to cook the sauce while whisking until it thickens properly.
  4. Once the curd reaches nappe consistency, remove the pan from the heat. I like to strain my curd to into a large bowl to ensure that there are no lumps or bits of scrambled egg in the finished curd, but this step can be skipped. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter, whisking to incorporate the butter into the curd as it melts.
  5. Transfer the finished curd to a large bowl or Mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Curd can be kept in the refrigerator for one week.
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Old Fashioned Pound Cake

Old Fashioned Pound Cake SquarePound cake is the simplest of recipes yet creates something that seems extravagant, rich, and delicious.  The recipe is simple purely out of necessity.  Pound cake dates back to Britain in the early 1700s.  At that time, many citizens couldn’t read and write, so the recipe needed to be easy to remember and pass down orally.

Pound cake in that era was literally a cake made from one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour.   As far as recipes go, you can’t create a recipe any easier to remember than that.  The cake included no leavening agents, relying on fresh eggs instead.  The resulting cake was often very dense, but its easy preparation and lengthy shelf life ensured that this recipe would live on.

Over the years, the recipe has changed slightly in order to create a lighter cake with a more balanced flavor.  Today’s pound cake no longer includes one pound of each ingredient, but it does stay true to the original intent.  This recipe is simple, includes no leavening agents, and tastes as good four days later as it does the first day it is made.  The very best attributes of pound cake have lived on for centuries, a true testament to the delicious nature of pound cake.

Since we became chicken keepers, and later duck keepers, I find myself looking for recipes that celebrate the fresh eggs we collect from the coop and duck house each day.  During spring, those eggs abound and I find myself reaching for the recipes in my collection that use a good number of them.  I have found that eight eggs is the ideal amount for this cake, giving it a beautiful yellow color from our girl’s fresh eggs and a lovely texture.  When I decide to make a batch of fresh lemon curd to serve alongside this cake, I can put a full dozen of our fresh eggs to delicious use.

I like to use a homemade cake flour substitute for most cakes, including this one.  Cake flour is difficult for me to purchase at the store due to our family’s food allergies.  Luckily, I’ve learned that a combination of All-purpose flour and cornstarch from our pantry deliver the same qualities as store bought cake flour.  As an added bonus, I don’t have to keep another specialty flour on hand.

To me, this cake is a harbinger of spring, a celebration of egg season, and a wonderful way to share a beautiful and a delicious old fashioned treat with friends and family.  I’m willing to bet that this recipe will live on in your baking arsenal for years to come just as it has endured in mine.

Old Fashioned Pound Cake
Serves 10
This cake is the perfect way to celebrate spring’s bounty of fresh eggs from our flock of chickens and ducks. I find that the texture is even better when I use my homemade cake flour mix of All-purpose flour and cornstarch. If you prefer, you can use 3 cups of All-purpose flour or store bought cake flour with delicious results.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
  2. ½ cup cornstarch
  3. ¾ teaspoon salt
  4. 2 sticks butter, softened
  5. 3 cups sugar
  6. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  7. 8 large eggs, at room temperature
  8. 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a Bundt or tube pan and dust lightly with flour, tapping to knock any excess flour out of the pan. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. Using a stand mixer or sturdy hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed. Add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to high, beating for 5 minutes if using a stand mixer or 8 minutes if using a hand mixer. The increased mixing time will help to incorporate air into the mix, lightening the texture of the cake. The mixture should be pale yellow and fluffy when finished.
  3. Add the eggs one or two at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition to fully incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding approximately half of the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed just until the flour has been incorporated. Add the heavy cream and mix on low speed until well mixed. Add the remaining flour and mix on low speed just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Rap the pan on the counter to help release air bubbles and create a more even texture in the finished cake. Transfer the pan to the warm oven. Bake for 60 – 75 minutes until the surface of the cake is a beautiful golden brown and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with small crumbs attached.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven to a wire rack to cool. After 15 minutes, invert the pan onto the wire rack, remove the cake from the pan, and allow to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon curd or whipped cream and fresh berries.
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Nut Free Skippers

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar BrandedFor me, there are few foods more comforting than a warm chocolate chip cookie.  My family feels the same way, so our Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies are a common sight cooling on the kitchen counter.  We never seem to tire of them.  I can perk up any day by adding a batch of chocolate chip cookies to them.

It doesn’t take long to make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, but portioning the individual cookies, baking them, and allowing them too cool before loading up the baking sheets again does take time.  Granted, it’s time well spent and work that ends with a pile of delicious cookies.  So, I’m happy to make individual cookies with time allows.

Some days, I am short on time, yet we still want to enjoy that delicious flavor of a chocolate chip cookie.  On those days, I put away the baking sheets and bake one pan of cookie bars instead.  The entire batch of dough fits beautifully in a 9×9 baking pan and the cookie bars are baking in the oven in minutes.

To up the flavor, I like to add a little something extra to the top of the bars just before placing them in the oven.  We live and bake around nut allergies here at the farmhouse.  It’s been a decade since we were able to enjoy an M&M candy or a cookie studded with M&M candies because they aren’t an allergy safe option for us. Luckily, we can enjoy the same fun flavor and crunch with Vermont Nut Free’s Skippers without any need to worry about an allergic reaction.  They deliver the same delicious flavor, the same chocolatey center covered in a crispy layer of candy coating.

Vermont Nut Free’s products are all 100% peanut and tree nut free, so we’re big fans.  Their products are so delicious and my go to for baking chocolates, cocoa powder, and these Skippers which have been a family favorite for years. If you don’t have nut allergies to contend with, you can substitute your favorite baking candies or chips. 

No matter how you choose to flavor your pan of cookie bars, I’m willing to bet that a warm square will end your day on a comforting and delicious note.  If you choose to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the mix, your week will be made!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Nut Free Skippers
We live and eat around nut allergies here in the farmhouse. We love using Vermont Nut Free's baking products and use their semi-sweet chocolate chips and Skippers candies in this recipe. If you don't have nut allergies to contend with, simply substitute your favorite baking chips and add-ins for an equally delicious cookie bar.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened and cubed
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  9. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  10. 8 ounces (2 generous cups) chocolate chips
  11. 2 ounces (a generous handful) Skippers candies or your favorite cookie add-in
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position an oven rack in the middle of your oven. Line a 9x9 baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper if desired.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Stir to mix the dry ingredients.
  5. 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.
  6. Transfer the dough to the 9x9 pan, spreading the dough to evenly fill the pan. Add Skippers to the top of the dough, dividing them across the dough evenly. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until the cookie dough has browned slightly and has a dry appearance on top. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan should come out cleanly or with small crumbs attached when the bars are baked. Rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time will help to ensure that the cookies are evenly baked.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven, allowing it to cool to room temperature. As with any cookie, these are even more delicious when eaten while still warm with a cup of coffee or cold glass of milk. They also make a delicious base for a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Notes
  1. Our family lives and bakes around nut allergies, so our farmhouse kitchen is nut free. This recipe uses one of our nut free favorites: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. You can learn all about them at www.vermontnutfree.com.
Adapted from Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Celebrate Pi Day with our Favorite Pie Recipes

PiDayRecipesCollageEach year, we celebrate Pi Day on March 14th by enjoying a homemade pie together here at 1840 Farm.  The day is publicized in the hope of inviting us to all learn more about the mathematical significance of Pi and the importance of math in our daily lives.  I’m happy to extol the virtues of math, especially if I can do so by spending time in the farmhouse kitchen making my favorite dish for our family table.

More than celebrating pi’s mathematical importance, I like to celebrate the power of pie to bring our family together.  When we gather in our farmhouse kitchen to bake or enjoy a warm slice of pie, it’s impossible to ignore the power of food to bring people together.  Indeed, you really can feed the soul with a homemade slice of pie.

I have a deep rooted love for pie.  I love to make it, I love to serve it, and I especially love to eat it.  Every bite reminds me of sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen as a little girl.  She was an accomplished pie baker and I was always greeted with not one, but two or three homemade pies when we visited her.

Those pie memories are certainly responsible for my unabashed love for pie.  Since today is Pi Day, it’s the perfect day to share a few of my favorite pie recipes and posts with you.  I hope that you’ll use these recipes to make a pie for someone you love. 

Throughout the year, we enjoy pies of every sort.  Our annual Kentucky Derby Day celebration would seem incomplete without a homemade Bourbon Peach Pie.  Summer is marked by raspberry season and always includes the promise of a Double Crusted Raspberry Pie.  When fall’s apple season arrives at our local farmer’s market, I find myself dreaming of a slice of Brandied Apple Pie topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Our Thanksgiving celebration always includes Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie that we make nut free here in our nut free farmhouse.  If you don’t bake around nut allergies, you can substitute pecans with delicious results. 

When we’re craving something chocolatey, Chocolate Cream Pie always delivers.  It’s the perfect pie for making ahead of time and using up our supply of fresh eggs.  If you’re hesitant to make a traditional pie crust, this recipe is for you.  The graham cracker crust is a simple way to make a delicious pie without any need for a rolling pin.

I also love to make savory pies.  One of my favorites is our Heirloom Tomato Pie that we make when our beloved heirloom tomatoes are fresh and in season.  The crust is flaky and every bite is filled with the intense earthy flavor of the heirloom tomatoes we love.

If you prefer cake to pie, then Boston Cream Pie will be just what the doctor ordered.  This cake has a fascinating story behind the reason for being called a pie in spite of the fact that it is clearly a cake.  No matter what you call it, a slice of it is delicious.

I hope that you will join in the celebration and add one of these pie recipes to your plans in the coming days.  I’ve included a few pie crust making tips for good measure.  I receive so many messages from readers who are intimidated by the thought of making a homemade pie crust.  Using these tips, you will make a deliciously flaky pie crust that will delight your friends and family, I promise!

Happy Pi Day!

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2017/03/piday2017/

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Sweet Potato Gnocchi BannerThere are a few foods that seem to require being made by hand.  They simply have the handmade goodness baked right into them and their imperfections are somehow an integral part of what makes them so special.  For me, that list begins with berry pie and continues on to include many of my favorites.  Gnocchi would definitely be among them, and the sweet potato version would be my sentimental favorite.

The reason is really quite simple.  Sweet potato gnocchi was one of the first recipes that the whole family gathered in the farmhouse kitchen to make together.  Several times each fall and winter, we would spend a Saturday in the kitchen together making pounds of these little orange pillows to keep in the freezer.  During the years that our garden’s sweet potato harvest was plentiful, those days were frequent and we had a supply of homegrown and handmade sweet potato gnocchi to last all winter long.

Our children were young, but their small hands followed ours while rolling ropes of gnocchi dough until they were ready to section into pieces before pushing them down the ridged paddle and rolling them onto a sheet pan. By the time we were finishing filling tray after tray with gnocchi, we would be covered in the mess of the day’s work.  The kids often had sweet potato dough mashed under each fingernail, smeared onto their foreheads, and pressed  into every crevice of the table and slate tile floor. Cleaning up the kitchen and the kids sometimes took almost as long as making the gnocchi. 

No matter the mess, I have such fond memories of those days.  They ended with our family gathered around our farmhouse table enjoying a meal that was literally made with our hands.  Every bite was a celebration of time spent together in the kitchen. There’s something warm and wonderful about that sort of memory, that type of meal, and knowing that we are continuing a tradition as old as this farmhouse by creating something nourishing for our family table together.

Years have passed, but we still enjoy this meal just as much today.  My kitchen helpers have grown by leaps and bounds in every way including their gnocchi making prowess.  They roll these gnocchi down the paddle with such ease now.  The trays fill quickly with beautiful gnocchi and the mess is a mere hint of what it was years ago.

I’ve written about food memory so many times before.  Most often, my childhood food memories involve my paternal grandmother’s homemade pies.  The mere thought of them has the power to transport me back decades to her humble kitchen table.  Food memories are so powerful, so intertwined into our remembrance of a time and place.

While I didn’t set out for this rustic recipe to become one of my children’s food memories, they certainly have.  We speak of them often, peering back into the years gone by to revisit them.  I hope that my children will continue to hold this food memory and many others we have cultivated very close to their hearts.

For me, these sweet potato gnocchi will always have a special place in my heart, a rich food memory that will be bound together by the mental images I have of us gathered together to make them in our farmhouse kitchen.  I hope that you will create your own tradition and food memory by making them to share with your friends and family.  I can promise that all who gather at your table to enjoy these gnocchi will remember them fondly for years to come.

 

You can certainly make this recipe without a gnocchi paddle.  The ridges are meant to both make the gnocchi look beautiful and help them to hold on to their sauce.  You can make them without the ridges without affecting their flavor.  We have two gnocchi paddles at the farmhouse.  One is an antique that we discovered at a local antique shop.  The other is a new version we purchased from a kitchen shop.  I’ve had so many readers ask me where they can find a paddle for making gnocchi and pasta that I’ve added one to our Amazon shop so that you can find one to add to your kitchen!

 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
This recipe comes together quite easily, but does require a bit of prep time. At our house, we make a double recipe and save half of the gnocchi for a second evening’s dinner. These frozen, unboiled gnocchi can be stored in a freezer bag for later use. When the time comes, frozen gnocchi can be dropped directly into a pot of boiling salted water. They will take a few extra minutes to float to the surface and cook completely, but the taste will not be affected by their stay in the freezer.
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For the Gnocchi
  1. 2 pounds raw sweet potatoes
  2. 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  3. 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  4. 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  5. 2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
For the Brown Butter
  1. 3 Tablespoons butter
  2. 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  3. Parmesan cheese, grated for serving
Instructions
  1. Wash the sweet potatoes and puncture all over with a fork. Place half of the potatoes on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high in 4 minute intervals until soft. Remove from the plate and set aside to cool. Repeat with the remaining sweet potatoes.
  2. Once the cooked sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, split each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape the flesh from the skin and place into a potato ricer. Rice the sweet potato into a large bowl. Repeat until all the sweet potatoes have been riced into the bowl. If you do not have access to a potato ricer, the cooked sweet potato flesh can be placed in the large bowl and mashed using a hand potato masher.
  3. Add ricotta cheese, brown sugar, and salt to the sweet potatoes and stir until well combined. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour to the sweet potato mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough forms a soft ball. The goal is to create a soft dough that comes together without being too dry. If needed, add more flour a bit at a time until the dough comes together. Take care not to overmix.
  4. Turn dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equally sized sections. Take one of the sweet potato dough sections and roll on a floured surface to form a rope with a 1 inch diameter. Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the rope into one inch long pieces.
  5. Traditionally, gnocchi are individually rolled on a gnocchi paddle or over a fork in order to create ridges that trap the sauce on each piece.You can also push each piece of gnocchi across the tines of a fork with your thumb.
  6. However, if you find this intimidating or simply don't have the time, don't despair. This step can be skipped and the gnocchi can simply be prepared once they are cut. While the appearance will differ slightly, the flavor will still be delicious.
  7. Place the gnocchi on a sheet pan lined with a piece of parchment, waxed paper, or freezer paper. Continue until all of the gnocchi have been shaped and cut. If you are planning to freeze some of the gnocchi, place them in a single layer on a tray lined with freezer paper. Freeze them for several hours until they are frozen solid. Transfer them to a freezer bag for long term storage.
  8. To prepare the gnocchi, place a large stockpot filled with water over high heat. Once the water comes to a simmer, add 1 Tablespoon of salt and allow the water to come to a full rolling boil. Reduce the heat slightly.
  9. Add the gnocchi in batches small enough to allow them to move freely in the salted boiling water without being crowded. The gnocchi will begin to float on the surface of the water as they cook. Continue to cook for approximately one minute before removing with a slotted spoon to a lightly oiled baking sheet to allow the gnocchi to dry slightly. Continue until all of the gnocchi have been cooked.
  10. Once the gnocchi have been boiled and are drying on the sheet pan, prepare the brown butter and sage. Add the butter to a large skillet over medium heat. After the butter melts, you will notice that the milk solids will begin to separate. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally to allow those solids to brown slightly. You will notice a slight change in color and aroma. Brown butter has a slightly nutty aroma which will signal that the solids have caramelized and that the brown butter has finished cooking.
  11. Reduce the heat to low and add the minced sage, swirling the pan or stirring to combine. Begin adding the boiled gnocchi to the pan in small additions, tossing gently to coat them in the brown butter without damaging the tender gnocchi. Continue adding gnocchi to the pan until they have all been added.
  12. Warm the gnocchi briefly, moving them gently to prevent sticking and to ensure that they are all coated with the brown butter and sage. Transfer the warm gnocchi to plates and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese before serving. Enjoy!
  13. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and gently stir to coat. Serve immediately, garnishing with grated Parmesan.
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Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie BrandedChocolate.  Cream.  Pie.  Need I say more?  I didn’t think so.  What could be better than a combination of rich, chocolate cream made from scratch over a crumb pie crust topped with vanilla bean whipped cream?  For a pie lover like me, adding chocolate to the mix sends this recipe to the top of my favorites list.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this recipe is perfect for treating your loved ones to a delicious homemade dessert.  My Valentines are chocolate lovers, so this pie often finds a place at our table on and around Valentine’s Day.  It never fails to delight each and every one of them.

In our house, we bake and eat around food allergies, so the first step in any recipe is ensuring that the ingredients are safe to keep in our nut free home.   Finding premium quality chocolate that is free from nut allergens would be a difficult task if it wasn’t for Vermont Nut Free Chocolates.  Thanks to their delicious line of nut free baking ingredients, chocolates, and treats, I always know that the baking ingredients I keep in the pantry and use in our farmhouse kitchen are safe for our whole family.

In this recipe, I use three different types of chocolate from Vermont Nut Free Chocolates.  I found that combining milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate yielded the most delicious result.  If you don’t have nut allergies to consider when making this dessert, you can substitute your favorite brand of chocolate when making this recipe with equally delicious results.

This pie is also the perfect recipe to use the very best vanilla extract you have available.  In our house, that means reaching for our homemade vanilla extract.  Its rich amber color, intense flavor, and fragrant aroma are the perfect counterpoint to the chocolate filling and whipped cream topping.  You can learn more about making your own vanilla extract and our vanilla extract kits in our Mercantile Shop.

I hope that you will enjoy making and serving this delicious pie as much as I do.  I turn to it time and time again when I want to treat my family to a dessert that puts a smile on every face gathered around our table.  It never disappoints!

 

Chocolate Cream Pie
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For the Crumb Pie Crust
  1. 200 grams (approximately half a box) of graham crackers
  2. 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
For the Chocolate Filling
  1. 4 large egg yolks
  2. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  3. ¼ cup cornstarch
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 2 ½ cups whole milk
  6. 3 ounces milk chocolate
  7. 3 ounces dark chocolate
  8. 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
  9. 2 Tablespoons butter
  10. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Whipped Cream Topping
  1. 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
  2. 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To Make the Crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor or blender. Pulse/process until the crackers have been reduced to fine crumbs. If you prefer, you can place the graham crackers on a sheet tray and use a rolling pin to crush them to a uniform, fine crumb.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan or microwave. Place the graham cracker crumbs and butter in a medium bowl and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer the crumb mixture to a pie plate and gently press it into the bottom and sides of the pan. The crumbs should come together to form a crust.
  4. Transfer the pie plate to the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the plate from the oven and allow the crust to cool to room temperature.
To Make the Chocolate Filling
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until they form a thick, smooth mixture. Slowly add the whole milk, whisking to fully combine and prevent lumps from forming. Place the saucepan over low heat and add the chocolate, whisking until it is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from scorching on the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly as you prepare the whipped cream, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Once the mixture has cooled to lukewarm or room temperature, transfer it to the pie plate, spreading it evenly over the baked pie crust.
To Make the Whipped Cream Topping
  1. Place the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Using a whisk attachment for your stand mixer or beaters for a hand mixer, beat the cream and sugar on high speed until it forms stiff peaks.
  2. Transfer the whipped cream to the pie, spreading it gently to evenly cover the surface of the chocolate filling. Chill the pie until you are ready to serve.
Notes
  1. Our family lives and bakes around nut allergies, so our farmhouse kitchen is nut free. This recipe uses one of our nut free favorites: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates baking pieces and cocoa powder. You can learn all about them at www.vermontnutfree.com.
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This recipe is included in our Valentine’s Day recipe gallery.  You’ll find our favorite homemade Valentine’s Day recipes there just waiting for you!

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Our Favorite Holiday Recipes from The 1840 Farmhouse Kitchen

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Each holiday season, we turn to our favorite family recipes.  It simply wouldn’t feel like the holidays without them.  From the sweet chocolate crinkle cookies that remind me of my childhood to the savory tomato and onion jams that we will enjoy with our appetizers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, these recipes will be an integral part of our family’s celebration this year.

Whether you’re looking for something sweet or something savory, I hope that your friends and family will enjoy these dishes just as much as we do.  Simply click on a photo from our recipe gallery below and you’ll be taken to the original post and recipe.

We’ll be in the farmhouse kitchen cooking and baking today, making our way through this list of recipes while the snowflakes pile up outside.  The farmhouse will smell so inviting and the farmhouse kitchen tree will help set a festive mood, decorated with a few antique kitchen tools handed down by great grandmothers on both sides of our family.  It will be my favorite kind of day: one spent in the kitchen with my family baking for my family and making fresh memories to last for years to come.

I hope that you have a wonderfully warm holiday spent with friends and family and filled to the brim with delicious dishes to celebrate the season.  It won’t be long until we embark on the journey of the New Year, turning our calendars to 2017 and dreaming of all the opportunities and adventures that await us.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from all of us here at 1840 Farm!

 

Something Sweet

Something Savory

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/12/holiday-recipes/

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