The weather lately has been crazy. Last Thursday, the wind chill was 3 degrees and two days later it hit 65. I much prefer the latter, but it is winter in Indiana and I've come to accept how unpredictable conditions can be. I love consistency and I usually got exactly that growing up in Western Washington where winters were typically between 45 and 55 during the day with the occasional drizzle and occasional sunny day. Indiana is definitely different.
Just like me, cows love consistency too. They don't like huge swings in temperatures. While farmers certainly cannot control the weather (as much as we may try...), there are several management techniques we can implement to keep cows as comfortable as possible in these conditions.
Enclosed barns are one of them. They allow for a temperature-controlled environment without the wind, rain, snow and other elements that may negatively affect the cows. Looking out for the cows' best interest is always a priority on farms. Without them, we don't have a farm.
Cows also eat more in the winter when it's cold. Their rumen (the largest of the four stomach compartments) is basically a large fermentation vat and it helps keep them warmer also. Water freezes and regardless of the temperature, it's essential that cows have access to fresh water.
For more about how cows stay warm in the winter, click here.
Let's get back to these cookies, shall we? As I said earlier, use any kind of jam you like. Here's the recipe for my raspberry jam that I used. It's SO good!
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- Your favorite jam (I used raspberry and strawberry on these; also try blackberry)
- To make chocolate cookies: add dark cocoa powder. Everyone's taste is different, so start with 1 tbsp. and increase by 1 tbsp. until it's to your liking
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper
- Whisk all dry ingredients in a large bowl (I use my KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment for this)...leave butter, vanilla extract and egg out of this mix
- Add butter (slightly softened) and mix slowly until crumbly
- Add vanilla extract and egg and then mix until you have a cookie dough consistency
- Add a little flour to your hands so the dough doesn't stick to you as you create small balls of cookie dough
- Using your thumb, create a crater in the middle of each cookie
- Add your favorite jam to the crater (here's my raspberry jam recipe)
- Bake for 9-12 minutes. I like them soft and don't like when the bottom of the cookies are burnt or extremely brown, so keep an eye on them. This part is primarily due to preference.
- Store in an air-tight container or freeze
Makes 20-24 small cookies. Double/triple the batch to make more.