I had intended to write part two of “Building a hoop house for pastured poultry” this week, but the weather has been somewhat uncooperative for working outdoors. So, in celebration of the half inch of ice covering everything, turning the world into a crystal wonderland, I’m spending as much time as possible indoors looking out. Winter is beautiful if you don’t have to be out in it.
There are lots of ways to keep warm in this type of weather. I like to wash and dry the bed sheets right before going to bed, so they’re still warm from the dryer when I crawl in. Comfort soups like ham and beans, chicken and noodles, or creamy bacon and potato soup are warming from the inside out. Hot cocoa with whipped cream or a marshmallow on top is always good, as is snuggling with the whole family under a blanket watching old movies on TV.
However, one of my favorite things to do in cold weather is to bake. I’ve been fortunate that my hens have continued to lay throughout the winter, and they’ve blessed me with plenty of eggs for breakfasts and baking. In fact, since one of my best egg customers has left the Kansas winter behind for an extended stay with relatives in sunny Arizona, I’m finding myself left with an overabundance of eggs. So, my baking goals today have been geared towards using some of my extra eggs. One my favorite recipes that uses lots of eggs is pound cake.
1 dozen eggs, separated
1 pound butter, softened
1 pound sugar
1 pound cake flour
2 Tablespoons vanilla
Whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Set aside. Cream egg yolks, sugar, butter, and vanilla until smooth and no longer grainy. If your butter is unsalted, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Fold in egg whites. Divide batter between 2 bread pans (or one Bundt or tube pan) sprayed with non-stick spray, or greased and floured. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool, remove from pan and slice. Serve with fruit topping and whipped cream.
This versatile recipe is very easy to play with to get different varieties. Try adding coconut, or using lemon, almond, or rum flavoring instead of vanilla. Sprinkle chopped walnuts in the bottom of the pan before adding batter for a nut-crusted cake.
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup water. Set aside. Cook blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in 1/4 cup water, until the water boils and the blueberry skins break. Remove from heat and add cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Serve warm over slices of pound cake.