Cookies!

Every year for the holidays, I make several varieties of cookies to share at my workplace. The most common are chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The “secret” recipe I use is actually basically on the back of the bag of chocolate chips with a couple of small modifications.

  1. Beat 1 cup (2 standard sticks) of butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated white sugar until creamy.  I prefer to use unsalted, uncultured pasture butter, but other butter works well.
  2. Beat in 2 large eggs, one at a time, until well blended. I prefer to use farm fresh eggs from free range hens for the extra bright orange egg yolks.
  3. Add in 2 Tablespoons water and 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract and then blend well. This is a difference from the “traditional” recipe – the traditional only uses 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. For the flour, I sometimes use 1 cup of whole wheat white flour and 1 1/2 cups of normal flour to add a little more chewiness to the structure of the cookies.
  5. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture.
  6. Stir in one normal bag (12 oz) of chocolate chips. For a little more sugary taste, use milk chocolate chips. For a more traditional, use semi-sweet chips. For other options, try mint chocolate chips or other flavors.
  7. Once the dough is prepared, try to not to eat all of it raw! If you succeed in not eating all of the dough raw, roll the dough into teaspoon size balls and place on a baking sheet about 2 to 3 inches apart. The greater amount of whole wheat flour that you use allows you to space the cookies closer together as the whole wheat flour helps the cookies stay more compact while baking while cookies made with white flour tend to expand a bit more while baking.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 8 or 9 minutes. Note that the traditional recipe calls for 12 to 15 minutes but that makes the cookies too crisp for my liking. Also, at around minute 6 and again when removing them from the oven, I smash down the cookies with a spatula to keep them thin and prevent the middle from fully cooking.
  9. After a few more minutes on the baking sheet, remove the cookies to cool on wire racks. Usually the cookies are still droopy and some may fall between the wire racks – this is as intended. Once fully cooled (or even before), the cookies will be deliciously soft and ready to eat.

Continue reading for the peppermint candy cane cookie recipe.

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Growing our own food (2016)

Last summer, by the time the farm purchase closed and we moved in, it was too late to start a garden for the summer. However, the prior owners had planted a full garden with a variety of plants. With limited work needed on our part (just some occasional watering), we were able to harvest a large number of tomatoes, radishes, rattlesnake beans, kale, lettuce, green peppers, dill and much more.

This year, we had a lot more work to do – we had to prepare and plant our own garden! It took many hours to turn the soil and get it ready for planting.

The garden before planting (2016).

The garden before planting (2016).

Although last winter was generally warm, it stayed colder than normal late into the spring with frost still occurring regularly up through the beginning of May. We decided to go with planting from seeds this year instead of started plants. Due to the late frosts, we couldn’t plant the seeds¬†until late May.

Our garden shortly after planting in late May 2016.

Our garden shortly after planting in late May 2016. Note that it looks very similar to the before planting picture because we planted seeds.

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