I greatly enjoy welcoming visitors to our farm and helping them learn more about dairy farming. Last week, we hosted Simple Goodness on the Farm, which is one of Land O’Lakes’ Kitchen Conversations.
Our guests included food bloggers Ree from The Pioneer Woman, Becky from the Land O’Lakes Test Kitchen, Sommer from A Spicy Perspective, Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod, Brenda from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles, Julie from The Little Kitchen, Bridget from Bake at 350, Jessica from The Novice Chef, Joanne from Fifteen Spatulas, and Jenny from Picky Palate.
We wanted our guests to learn more about dairy farming and have fun at the same time, so we organized a hand milking contest and then helped each blogger milk a cow the modern way.
We explained all of the equipment in our milk house, showed them how we raise our calves, and displayed a dairy cow’s diet. Before we took a break for a picnic lunch, the milk truck came, so everyone got to see how our milk is loaded up for transport.
After lunch, we took a walk out to the pasture so everyone could meet the rest of the herd. It was a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery and balmy weather and answer more of the bloggers’ questions.
I explained that our farm is just one type of dairy farm. There are as many different types of dairy farms as there are ways to make chocolate chip cookies. Just as every baker has their own recipe and technique for making cookies, every dairy farm has a unique combination of methods for feeding, housing and milking their cows. And just as every baker’s goal is a perfect cookie, dairy farmers share common goals: to produce high quality milk, provide a comfortable life for our cows, protect our natural resources, and generate enough profit to allow us to continue to do what we love.
Dairy farms also have another commonality: 98% of all dairy farms are family owned and operated. Some farms have one small family, like ours, and some farms have multiple generations of a family working together in partnership.
So the next time you’re thinking about dairy farms, I hope you remember chocolate chip cookies. Here’s my family’s favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Serve them with a big glass of milk!
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 30 large cookies*
Prep time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours (minimum)
Bake time: 14 minutes per pan
· ½ cup rolled oats
· 2 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour** (lightly spooned into cup and leveled with knife OR about 310 grams)
· 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
· 1 teaspoon salt
· ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
· 1 cup (2 sticks) LAND O LAKES butter (I use salted)
· ¾ cup brown sugar, packed (I use dark brown)
· ¾ cup white sugar
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· ½ teaspoon lemon juice
· 1 Tablespoon milk (I use whole milk)
· 2 large eggs
· 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
· 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
In a small food processor, grind oats until fine. Combine oats, flour, soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Blend in vanilla and lemon juice. Then blend in milk. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping sides of bowl. Add dry ingredients to bowl and mix together with a sturdy spoon just until mostly combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts just until combined.
Using a large cookie scoop (I use a #20, which is about 3 Tablespoons), scoop cookie dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Chill cookie dough in refrigerator for at least 2 hours (I chill them overnight). You must scoop cookie dough before you chill it.
Place scoops of chilled dough on lined baking sheets at least 2½ inches apart and bake at 350°F for 14 minutes, rotating pans after 7 minutes. Cool on pan for 7 to 10 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely.
*I always make a double batch of these. Whether you make 30 or 60, these cookies disappear quickly!
**White whole wheat flour has a much milder taste than regular whole wheat flour – you won’t be able to tell that these cookies are 100% whole grain. You can substitute regular whole wheat flour, but the cookies will be darker and have much more of a whole grain taste. If you use regular white flour instead of white whole wheat flour, omit the milk.