The holiday season is in full swing, which provides an abundance of delicious food to enjoy. As tasty as our favorite holiday treats are, indulging in one too many can often lead to feelings of guilt and regret. Luckily, the Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association has a solution to your sugar-toothed dilemma: eggs. As a versatile, healthy food used in many favorite holiday meals and treats, they are a perfect addition to any grocery list. By using eggs locally produced in Colorado and following some foolproof secrets to baking with eggs and at high altitudes, you will be savoring every last nutrient-filled bite of the holiday season before you know it.
“Incorporating locally produced eggs into holiday baking makes for healthy and delicious treats,” said Mike Surles, Colorado egg farmer and CEP member. “Without eggs, it’s difficult to make traditional favorites such as sugar cookies or a hearty Christmas morning casserole. Also, Colorado egg farmers are committed to the best possible care of our chickens, ensuring consumers receive a safe and wholesome product to use for baking needs, casseroles and many other holiday dishes.”
It’s easy to feel good about the nutrition eggs lend to delicious delicacies. A nutrient-dense food, eggs contain almost every major vitamin and mineral the body needs. The protein from eggs is the highest quality of any food and is found in both the white and the yolk of an egg. So whether you are making eggnog, custards or meringues you are sure to benefit from the nutritional value of eggs.
Here in Colorado, it is important to take the high altitude into consideration when baking. The main factor affecting baked items in higher altitudes is lower pressure. This leads to lower boiling points, faster evaporation of liquids and more rapid rising of batters when baked. Basic adjustments and a little experimentation can compensate for higher altitudes. Here are a few tips:
• Reduce the amount of baking powder the recipe calls for. For each teaspoon decrease 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon.
• Reduce the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. For each cup decrease 2-3 tablespoons.
• Increase the amount of liquid the recipe calls for. For each cup add 3-4 tablespoons. Eggs and butter are considered liquids.
• Fill baking pans half-full, not the usual two-thirds, as high altitude cakes may overflow.
• Increase the baking temperature 15-20 degrees, unless using a glass pan, and reduce the baking time by up to 20 percent.
By baking individual or bite-sized desserts you can enjoy the taste of your favorite holiday treats, with less guilt. Armed with our high-altitude baking tips, you’re ready to try out this recipe for mini chocolate cream tarts courtesy of the American Egg Board.
Mini Chocolate Cream Tarts:
• 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
• ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
• ¼ cup cornstarch
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups nonfat milk
• 3 large eggs, separated
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 45 mini phyllo shells (about 15 in each package)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine one cup of the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Then whisk in combined milk and egg yolks. Cook this mixture over medium-low heat while whisking constantly until it thickens. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Meanwhile, bake the phyllo shells on baking sheets for three minutes or until slightly crisp. Then cool them on a wire rack. Once cooled, fill each shell with about one tablespoon of the chocolate filling. Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Then stir in the cream of tartar. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, beating the mixture until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over the top of each tart, making sure to seal the edges. Bake the tarts on baking sheets for five to seven minutes or until lightly browned. Finally, you can enjoy your mini chocolate cream tart warm or refrigerate it to enjoy it cold. Find more recipes, egg facts, agricultural news and more at www.coloradoeggproducers.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!
About Colorado Egg Producers Association
The Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association is a membership organization representing seven farms throughout the state. CEP is committed to doing what’s right for its community, as illustrated by the regular donation of thousands of eggs to food banks throughout the state. Local egg farmers take great pride in providing eggs to Coloradans. We are also proud to offer consumers the choice between cage, cage-free eggs, organic, nutrient enhanced, brown and white eggs, although it is important to note, there is no nutritional difference between cage-free eggs and conventionally produced eggs. For more facts and information about eggs and CEP, including a list of where to buy Colorado eggs, please visit www.coloradoeggproducers.com.