HONESDALE, PA — The 2012 Wayne County, PA/Sullivan County, NY Dairy Day/Ag Day is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday, February 20, at the Honesdale High School, 459 Terrace St. A 12 noon lunch, supported by exhibitors, supporters and participants, will be available to the two counties’ farming community members. Registration is requested by Friday, February 17.
At the event, the Wayne County Dairy Court will be offering many dairy-related products and free recipe booklets and games. To get you in the mood, Wayne Dairy Misses Paige Gill and Abigail Hynes offer here some butter facts, tips and a recipe.
For more information or to register for lunch at the Ag Day, email WayneExt@psu.edu  or call 570/253-5970, ext. 4110 (Wayne County); or email Sullivan@cornell.edu  or call 845/292-6180 (Sullivan County).
Butter production began prior to the 1870s on farms by a process called churning. It wasn’t until 1871, in Iowa, that commercially produced butter became available.
Butter is made from 80% milk fat, water and nonfat milk solids. It can be made from milk, cream or a combination of both. It is not uncommon to find varieties with added salt. Salted butter is also marketed as sweet cream butter. Look for two common symbols on your butter package. If you are purchasing pure butter, it will contain the “real” seal. Your butter packaging will also have a USDA grade on it. The US government assigns a grade to butter based on four criteria: flavor, body, color and amount of salt. If your butter is of superior quality, it will be grade “AA.” Standard products will contain a grade “B” symbol. Butter graded B will most often be used for manufacturing purposes, while grade AA butter is mostly a consumer good.
Isn’t butter, butter? No. Just like many other dairy products, butter comes in a variety of forms to suit the tastes and needs of the consumer. Reduced-fat butter contains nonfat milk, water and/or gelatin. This type of butter is produced so it contains 40% or less milk fat. To be government approved, it must be nutritionally equivalent and have the same quality as regular butter. Because it contains less moisture, it is advised not to substitute reduced-fat butter for traditional butters when frying or baking.
Whipped butters spread with ease and are quick to melt due to the nitrogen gas that is whipped into it to increase the volume. Whipped butter does not measure the same as regular butter and should not be used as a substitute ingredient in many recipes. You can make your own whipped butter at home using a food processor. Simply soften your regular butter, place in food processor and pulse until it becomes light in color and slightly fluffy. To finish, set food processor on high until butter consistency is fluffy.
Drawn butter or clarified butter is clear, melted butter with the milk solids and water removed. Clarified butter can be heated to a higher temperature.
Wondering about margarine? Margarine is not butter nor is it a dairy product! It does have the same caloric and fat content as butter. However, margarines contain trans fats which are linked to increased blood cholesterol levels. Butter contains low levels of trans fats; in fact, about 33 mg. per tablespoon. The daily recommended limit is 300 mg.
Storing butter is simple. To keep it fresh and flavorful, store in a covered dish in the refrigerator butter compartment. Unopened, wrapped salted butter can be refrigerated for up to two months. Looking for longer storage options? In its original wrapper, butter can be frozen for several months. Unsalted butter is best frozen until ready to use and can remain frozen for about five months. Salted butter can be frozen for six to nine months. For extended freezer times, it is recommended that you wrap the package in foil or plastic.
Ultimate Triple Chocolate Bars
12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
3 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2/3 c. evaporated milk
2 c. Bisquick original baking mix
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. baking cocoa
¾ c. butter, softened
1 c. white baking chips
6 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 c. chocolate chips, cream cheese and milk in 2 qt. saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Cool while making crust. Mix Bisquick, sugar and cocoa in medium bowl. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender or crisscrossing two knives, until mixture is crumbly. Press half of the crumbly mixture (2 cups) on bottom of ungreased 13-inch by 9-inch rectangular pan. Sprinkle with white baking chips. Spoon chocolate mixture over crumbly mixture and chips; spread evenly. Sprinkle with remaining crumbly mixture and 1c. chocolate chips. Press lightly with fork. Bake 30-35 minutes until center is set. Cool completely, about one hour. Refrigerate one hour until chilled. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.