Tag Archive: spring

Lemon Drop Cookies with Lemon Buttercream

LemonCookieWMSpring couldn’t arrive soon enough for me this year. It was a brutal winter with snow piled so high that it was difficult to believe that spring would ever arrive to our snowy landscape. While I wait for winter to release us from its firm grasp, I find myself dreaming of the garden and the fresh meals that it will provide for our family table. That first harvest of crisp radishes and greens seems both close at hand and miles away.

The garden won’t produce anything for us to enjoy at our family table for a few more weeks. We’re still waiting for our last frost date to pass on the 29th of June. As I wait for the danger of frost to pass, I find myself craving something fresh and bright.

Enter the lemon, which is synonymous with spring in my book. First, there’s the striking beauty of the lemon’s yellow color. Then there’s the lovely punch of fresh flavor that a lemon brings to a recipe when its tart nature is perfectly matched with just the right balance of sweetness to highlight its distinct flavor. It’s no wonder that I turn to the lemon to help me bridge the gap between the end of winter and beginning of our gardening year.

This recipe is one of my favorites each spring. The bright, tart lemon flavor and earthy vanilla are delicious when combined with just enough sugar. The end result is sweet enough without ever masking the lemon’s lovely acidity. The fluffy lemon buttercream ups the ante and adds even more lemon flavor with a creamy texture that provides a lovely counterpart to the crisp cookie.

To be fair, we don’t consider this as a spring only favorite. We enjoy them year round and they never disappoint. I hope that your family and friends will enjoy them as much as ours do!

 

Lemon Drop Cookies with Lemon ButtercreamLemonButtercream
makes 2 dozen 3” cookies

You don’t need specialty equipment to make these beautiful cookies, but a few simple tools will help to make the job easier. While you can use a simple box grater to zest the lemon, a microplane grater/zester makes quick work of the zest. A set of inexpensive rolling pin rings will ensure that all of the dough is rolled to an even thickness. The resulting cookies will bake more evenly and have a beautiful appearance.

I reach for my WonderMix Kitchen Mixer when making this recipe in our farmhouse kitchen.  With two sets of whisk/whip attachments, I can easily cream the butter and sugar for the cookie and blend the buttercream into a perfectly smooth, satiny texture.  You can learn more about The WonderMix and get my recipe for Multigrain Brioche by reading my review.

Lemon Drop Cookies

1 cup sugar
Zest of one large lemon
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained to remove seeds and pulp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 cups All-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Lemon Buttercream

4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained to remove seeds and pulp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

ZestRubbedSugarWash and dry a large lemon. Using a fine grater or microplane, remove the zest from the lemon, taking care to remove only the yellow zest. Leave the white pith intact as it can be incredibly bitter. Place the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Mix the sugar and zest together by rubbing the grains between your fingers. Mixing the sugar and zest in this manner will infuse the sugar with the essential oil from the lemon peel.

Using a mixer or food processor, cream the butter and sugar mixture until it combines completely and makes a smooth paste.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Mix to combine.  Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until completely smooth.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the batter and mix briefly to fully incorporate.  Take care not to over mix as this will develop the gluten in the flour, resulting in dough that is chewy and tough instead of light and delicate.

Remove the dough to a sheet of parchment paper or freezer paper.  Cover with a second sheet of paper.  Using a rolling pin and rolling pin rings (if you have them); roll the dough in to a rectangle approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours or until firm enough to cut cleanly using a cookie cutter or sharp paring knife.

When the dough has been properly chilled and you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two baking sheets with nonstick Silpat liners or parchment paper.  Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and cut into your desired shape.  Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets approximately 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating at the midpoint of the baking time, taking care not to overbake. TheWonderMix Kitchen Mixer cookies should be firm to the touch, but not overly brown. Remove the trays from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, combine the softened butter, lemon juice, and vanilla extract using a mixer or food processor.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and blend until the buttercream is completely smooth.

Buttercream can be piped or spread on the cookies as soon as they are completely cool. Two cookies can be held together with a layer of buttercream to make a delicious lemon drop sandwich cookie. Cookies and buttercream can be stored in separate, airtight containers at room temperature for several days.

Note:  This dough works very well when stored in the freezer.  Simply prepare the dough as directed above, chilling the rolled dough in the freezer instead of refrigerator.  Once the dough has frozen solid, it can be moved to a freezer bag for long-term storage.  When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove the frozen dough from the freezer and allow it to warm slightly as the oven preheats.  Cut the dough into your preferred shape before transferring them to the warm oven. Frozen cookies will require an additional 3-5 minutes in the oven, but taste identical to those made from freshly made refrigerated dough.


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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/05/lemon-drop-cookies/

The 1840 Farm Spring Collection

1840 Farm Spring Collection on EtsyAs soon as the calendar turns to the New Year, I start counting the days until the arrival of spring.  Once the holiday decorations have been safely put away inside the farmhouse, I’m ready for Mother Nature to do the same outside.

Of course, we live in New England, so there is plenty of winter left to endure before we’ll see the first signs of spring.  I can’t do anything about that, so I’ll accept that it will be months before we can begin preparing the gardens and planting our first seeds.

Yet I’m still dreaming of spring and days spent outside working the farm.  Until then, I’ll be hard at work inside the farmhouse.  I’ll pass the time writing, sewing, and daydreaming of that first day when we’ll happily return to working outside in the sunshine .

While I’m dreaming of that day, I’ll be busy making an 1840 Farm Spring Collection of items for The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  There will be aprons in pink, green, purple, and blues.  Of course, there will be plenty of handcoiled fabric baskets in colors perfect for Easter.

A few items from the spring collection have already been added.  Visit our shop and take a look!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/01/the-1840-farm-spring-collection/

Nesting Instinct

The Easter table at 1840 Farm will have a touch of whimsy this year:  at least for a few moments.  I know that my son’s white chocolate nest place card with candy coated eggs won’t stand a chance.  The eggs will be history in a matter of seconds.  Then the nest will fall prey to a six-year-old who loves both white chocolate and coconut.

I can almost picture his plate with only the small flag remaining where the nest used to be.  I won’t mind a bit.  I’ll be happy to have made something that brings beauty and deliciousness to our table in the same bite.

I shared the instructions for making these chocolate nests on CommunityChickens.com  for the publishers of Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine.  For a family that holds its flock of heritage breed hens in high regard, they seemed like the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of spring to our farm.  To learn how you can make these adorable and delicious place cards for your Easter table, read “Welcome to the Easter table at 1840 Farm.”

In a matter of weeks, the newest batch of day old baby chicks will make 1840 Farm their home.  For the first time ever, we’ll be adding a few fancy bantam hens to the mix.  After they arrive, there will be an unending supply of adorable baby chick photos and videos to share along with product giveaways and money-saving offers.  To make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the fun, follow 1840 Farm on Facebook to get the daily news from the coop.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/04/nesting-instinct/

Nearly Wordless Wednesday – April 4, 2012

This morning, a welcome sight made its first appearance in the flower gardens at 1840 Farm.  The first daffodils have emerged and brought some much appreciated spring color to the flower beds.  It won’t be long and they’ll be joined by colorful blooming tulips.

The mere sight of them made me daydream about planting the vegetable garden and spending entire days tending to our gardens in the summer sunshine.  Aah, to dream!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/04/nearly-wordless-wednesday-april-4-2012/

Nearly Wordless Wednesday – March 21, 2012

Hello, spring!  The temperatures at 1840 Farm this week have been summer-like and we’re taking full advantage.  We’re constructing raised beds and installing them in the garden to expand our growing area.  We harvested some beautiful bearded iris (Iris germanica) bulbs that are available for sale at the farm.

Today, we’ll be starting the first flight of our vegetable, herb, and flower seeds.  Add in our daily farm chores, and we’ve been very busy farmers for the first week of spring.

Here’s a look at the raised beds in progress and a photo of the bearded iris in full bloom last season.  It won’t be long before we’ll be seeing these beautiful blooms in our flower beds.  I can’t wait!

       

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/03/nearly-wordless-wednesday-march-21-2012/

1840 Farm Seed Exchange – Extended One Week

Behold the beautiful power held by the first day of spring.  It’s a day of promise for everyone, but especially for those of us who love to tend the soil and plant a garden.  It seems that I count the lingering seconds all winter long to remind myself that spring really is on the horizon.  Now we’ve made it and it’s time to mark the occasion by dreaming of the coming summer’s garden.

In my recent post announcing the 1840 Farm Seed Exchange, I had mentioned that the seed exchange would kick off on the first day of spring.  Well, if there’s one thing that farming and gardening has taught me, it’s that flexibility is key. A farmer has to be ready to change course at a moment’s notice, willing to throw off their best laid plans and move organically in the direction that time and nature allows them.

I’m doing just that with the 1840 Farm Seed Exchange.  When I proposed this project, I never imagined that gardeners from around the country would still be signing up two weeks after I had invited you all to join.  In fact, the entries were still fluttering into my inbox yesterday afternoon.

I don’t want anyone to miss out on the fun, so I am extending the entry period in order to allow more readers to sign up and participate.  On next Tuesday, March 27, 2012, I will send each participant an Email with the name and address of the person their seed packet should be mailed to.  In the meantime, please encourage your gardening friends and family to join us.  The more people we involve, the more interesting this seed exchange, and our resulting gardening seasons, will be.

To make things a little more interesting, I’ll be awarding one lucky participant an extra prize:  a collection of heirloom seeds for planting in their garden.  The collection will include some of the beloved varieties grown here at 1840 Farm.  I have been busy researching heirloom seed varieties and collecting a few to plant here at 1840 Farm .  As you can see by the collection on the kitchen table, they include vegetable and flower varieties that will be finding their way into our 2012 garden.  I will be sharing a few of these with the lucky winner.  Several of them are species discovered during the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804-1806.  I can’t wait to plant them in our garden and see them for myself.

If you would like to receive more than one seed packet (and send more than one packet) simply fill out the form as many times as you would like to participate.  The seeds you share can be saved from your garden or purchased from a store.  Gardeners and farmers of all ages and skill levels are welcome (end encouraged) to participate.

Good luck to all of you who participate.  I’ll announce the winner of the 1840 Farm Seed Collection on March 27, I promise!  Until then, I’ll be busy readying our gardens for planting.  Mother Nature has decided to give us temperatures thirty degrees warmer than usual, and I’ll be taking full advantage.  Like I said, a farmer has to be flexible, especially if it gives me an excuse to spend more time in the garden.

The spring 1840 Farm Seed Exchange has closed for 2012.  If you are interested in participating in the 2013 Seed Exchange, leave a comment below and I will contact you next spring when the details are available.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/03/1840-farm-seed-exchange-extended-one-week/