I just want to start off by saying that I am a true fan of Happy Eggs. But, it really started with that one story of that one man who went mad and destroyed a large flock of nesters. It was a pretty sad, mad, story which you can find here by Bloomberg. I remembered that when I heard the story, it made me sad to think about these chickens cooped up and just grasping for their lives. It made me look at eggs differently. One, was the sudden spike in price. When all eggs are averaging around $5, you really start to look at them a bit differently. The prices has fallen since, but I've stuck with Happy Eggs since.
So what's the difference? There's caged, there's cage free, and then there's free range. I think this is something all of you should look into if you are serious about your eggs.
Caged - Well, this is pretty obvious. Caged eggs come from hens who live their ENTIRE lives in a wire cage that is so small that they can't even flap their wings. I can't even comprehend thinking about an animal stuck in a confined space for the rest of their lives. But... let's not open a can of worms and start talking about all other animals.
let's take one step at a time.
With caged eggs, a typical hen only has 8 1/2 by 8 1/2 square inches of space. Just think about your standard white piece of paper for a moment.
Now, California bans the producing and selling of eggs from battery caged hens. Hens are required to have enough room to turn around freely, lie down, and extend their wings. Is that wrong? Keep this in mind.
Caged Free Eggs - Here comes the fun marketing part. We see caged free eggs packaged all the time. But.. what does it mean? We believe it's good. I mean, even the packaging on these caged free eggs look happy. But, cage free eggs come from hens that are locked inside all their lives... they never go outside. Cage free birds have no outdoor access and spend their whole lives inside barns with only 10.5 x 16.5 inches of space. This angers me a bit. Because we've bought caged free eggs before assuming they were able to roam around. I guess I was ignorant.
But in lieu of the downside with some of these eggs, there are good businesses out there like Happy Eggs that does it right. Free Range Eggs - Happy egg hens have access to a total space of 8 acres, which is equivalent to 6 football fields. The hens get to roam outdoors everyday. And okay, before we start assuming that these poor hens are smooshed up outside! EACH individual pasture raised hen has access to 21.6 square ft a day. As it's a rotational pasture, pasture raised hens have daily access to 20% of the total 108 square ft available.
Oh and guess what? Besides having the whole 8 acres of pasture to roam among the beautiful trees, shade, sand pits and fresh air, they also have large protective barns overnight, freedom to choose where to roost and even their favorite nesting box.
If that doesn't do it for you, they even have a few pecking toys to keep them engaged.
So let's get into some Happy Eggs. Because I feel GREAT to use them. I've decided to make some cookies with these cute copper cutters I got from Marshall's. My very dear friends, Ben & Ricky, who recently got engaged, brought me back some Huckleberry jam from their trip to Montana. They also have a fabulous blog called the Visualante that you all need to check out.
- 3/4 cups of butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 Happy Egg YOLKS!!
- 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1 & 3/4 cups of unbleached flour
- Huckleberry Preserves/Jam (or any preserves you would like)
It's pretty simple. Preheat your oven to 375. Whisk the softened butter and sugar together, followed by the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Next thing you need to do is mix in your flour and salt until the dough is formed. If the dough gets too soft, like all dough, stick it back in the fridge till it's easier to roll out. I cut the shapes out with my cookie cutter, make a small dent to fill the preserves, then pop it in my Breville convection oven for 10 minutes.
Buttery cookies with a tart preserve always made the knees go wobbly. I brought these to work and the crowd went crazy! These will be around during my New Years eve party.
I'm telling you, this is so easy to make and I didn't even need to take out my Kitchen Aid.
Stay tuned for more Happy Egg recipes to come! I have a few more things up my sleeve that I think you will enjoy :)