Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Science of Baking

Baking at 6000 ft. is hard, y'all. It involves science and math, and other things that make my head hurt.

I've Googled, I've read. I've tried to understand why water boils faster up here, and why the first batch of Toll House cookies I made came out like hockey pucks. I read something about the principles of high altitude baking, and how to modify recipes. But I don't understand it. And please don't try to explain it to me. I promise, I still won't get it.

Fortunately, things like cake mixes and brownie mixes and the Toll House cookie recipe have special high altitude instructions. For cakes and brownies, it involves adding dry flour to the mixes, and also adding more water. What does this have to do with high altitude? I haven't a clue. But it works.

You know what doesn't work? Using store-bought, refrigerated cookie dough to make your Christmas cookies. Because after 7 minutes at 350 degrees? They look like this:

Can you tell which ones are the trees, which are the stars and which are the gingerbread men? Yeah, me either. But I swear, they started out in those shapes. Frisbee, anyone?

Can you say frustrating? I suppose I could look up a recipe for high altitude sugar cookie dough and make it from scratch, but honestly, that's just way too much work for me.

Luckily for me, guess what they sell at the grocery store?

Plain, undecorated Christmas cookies!

Besides, this is all she really wants to do anyway. I know, good luck getting her to go to sleep tonight, right?

Whatever means we used to get here, it's all good. What else do kids really want, but to make a huge mess with frosting and sprinkles for mom to clean up?

(And try not to be too jealous of my lovely matching plates, ok?)


Anonymous said...

Those cookies came out great!

I never actually knew what the "high altitude" directions were for until I read this - you learn something new every day!

Jamie said...

Might be that it is because I always have baked at 6000ft but we have no problems baking anything. Just know that it might bake faster then you expect.

My advice: ignore the high altitude directions.

Fannie said...

I remember it being a problem when we lived there but I sure don't remember what the solutions were! Then again I don't bake much! ;)

Dawn in Austin said...

If you can't bake the refigerated cookie dough from the store, why do they sell it? It makes my head hurt, too!

Love the end results, though! Good of the bakery to do the hard part.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That really is the fun part, isn't it?

Mary~Momathon said...

Love the bakery cookies frosted by the excited little one! I should do that. Wait, no, what am I thinking... my kids would have frosting all over the floos and walls and me... good idea to save for when they are older!

Joann Mannix said...

Hi Shelley,

I'm a mutual June reader and I saw your comment today. I, too, have 3 girls and they are also in the minority of tiny, little things that can wear skinny jeans. Man, I miss those days.

My hubby used to live in Littleton. I don't think he ever baked while there, though.

I'm feeling you missing your girl. Mine is in her first year of college and when she first went away, it felt like someone had ripped my heart out of my chest.

The cookies look scrumptiously sweet and so does that baby girl of yours.

Love your blog. I'll be back to visit!