When baking cookies at altitudes above 7000 feet you may find that they end up with a rock hard texture or may spread too thin. This is a problem even at some altitudes below 7000 feet so this information can be useful for anyone having problems with their cookies not turning out well even when you follow the recipe precisely. Here are some suggestions which may help your cookies come out a little better.
- Reduce the amount of sugar used in the recipe. When you reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe the protein in the flour will have more control in the structure of the cookie. You can safely reduce the sugar without affection the yummy factor too much. Simply reduce between one and four tablespoons, reducing closer to the higher end of the range the higher your altitude. If the difference in taste is obvious it shouldn’t be too obvious.
- Reduce the amount of fat used in the recipe. This will produce a similar effect as does reducing the sugar. Fats weaken the gluten found in flour which makes the resulting cookie more tender. At higher altitudes there is a loss of moisture and this makes the fat in the cookie more concentrated which weakens the structure of the cookie. Thus reducing the amount of fat in the recipe can increase the structural strength of the cookie.
- Increase the amount of flour used in the recipe. Cookies just like cake will be affected by the amount of flour used in the recipe. Increasing the flour will prevent your cookie from sinking. Simply increase the flour by one to four tablespoons going to the higher end of the range the higher your altitude is.
- Increase the amount of liquid used in the recipe. At higher altitudes liquid will evaporate quicker which can leave your cookie dry. But you must be careful when increasing liquid because if you add too much it could make your cookie though.
- Increase your oven temperature. When baking cookies your recipe will tell you what temperature to use. At higher altitudes your cookies may sometimes require a bit more heat than the recipe requires. A slight increase is all you need of between 15 and 25 degrees.
- Use an electric mixer and cream your butter and sugar if the recipe asks you to do this. Many think that this is not necessary and may try to use their hands or try to melt the butter to make it blend better with the sugar. But using an electric mixer will help with the texture of the cookie and will also be less hassling for your hands.
- The last tip which is good for baking cookies at every altitude is to use a cool baking sheet. If you are baking multiple batches and need to use a sheet that has just come out of the oven you will need to cool it down before adding the next batch. Adding cookie batter to a hot or even warm baking sheet will cause the cookie dough to spread too much. These cookies will in turn have a crunchy texture and will be flat.