Bozeman is just under 5,000 feet above sea level, and I like to use Pie in the Sky as a reference when I’m baking. Pie in the Sky not only offers recipes versions for sea level, 3,000 feet, 5,000 feet, 7,000 feet and 10,000 feet, but it also has some good explanations as to why certain things happen to your baked goods as you go up in elevation. This was the first time that I had made a recipe straight out of the book instead of just referencing it. Yesterday I failed miserably with a batch of cookies that spread all over the pan and turned into a thin, gummy mess, so I decided to try one of their recipes.
I used the 5,000 feet version of the recipe, and the cookies turned out perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. I also used the extra note for making chewier cookies for elevations above 3,000 feet that suggested adding an extra tablespoon of flour and replacing 2 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons of Crisco.
Crisco melts slower than butter which reduces spreading and helps make a thicker, chewier cookie. The extra flour helps make the cookie thicker as well. Pie in the Sky mentions that the extra flour also helps to dilute the sugar. This is helpful since liquids evaporate faster at high altitudes, which leaves higher concentrations of sugar and fat, both of which will affect the texture of your cookie.
The original recipe is for black and white chocolate chip cookies (chocolate chips and white chocolate chips mixed together). I made a full batch of the dough and then split it into two separate bowls. In one bowl I added a half cup of chocolate chips, and in the other bowl I added a half cup of white chocolate chips and a quarter cup of both dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. The recipe below gives chip, fruit and nut amounts for a full batch of dough.
If you are baking at sea level, bake these cookies for 10-11 minutes. For 3,000 feet bake for 10-12 minutes. For 5,000 feet bake for 9-10 minutes. For 7,000 feet decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 8-10 minutes. The only other altitude adjustments I made were the extra flour and Crisco. In the recipe below these adjustments are in [brackets].
Recipe adapted from Pie in the Sky
- 2 ¼ cups [+ 1 tablespoon above 3,000 feet] all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature [replace 2 tablespoons with Crisco above 3,000 feet]
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment or non-stick silicone baking mat
- Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl
- Beat butter until smooth, add sugars and beat until smooth
- Add eggs and vanilla, beat until combined
- Gradually add dry ingredients and stir or beat on slowest setting
- Stir in your choice of chocolate, fruit and nuts
- Form dough into rounded teaspoons and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets
- Bake 9-10 minutes