Tuesday, December 14

12 Days of Christmas Cookies- Day 2

Baking at high altitude isn't the easiest. Well, no. It pretty much stinks.

When we first moved to the mountain states seven years ago, from sea level no less, I quickly learned that baking was going to be a whole new ball game. I tried baking a batch of Toll House cookies and couldn't believe the results. They were completely flat and far too crispy. How can you bomb Toll House cookies?

Refusing to accept defeat, I set out to find a decent high altitude baking book. The recipes in the first book I purchased didn't work very well. A huge disappointment.

I moved on to other books until I found one that turned the whole thing around. Pie in the Sky - Successful Baking at High Altitudes is the best.

The author, Susan G. Purdy, is a baking teacher, journalist and author of 30 books. What I especially like about the book, - in addition to the fact that the recipes work - is that all of the recipes were tested in home kitchens at sea level, 3,000 feet, 5,000 feet, 7,000 feet and 10,000 feet. How comprehensive is that?

You may have guessed that today's recipe is from Pie in the Sky. The cookies turned out beautifully, made by the Diva entirely by herself. We used the instructions for 5,000 feet, which I've included below.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Makes 50 cookies (2-inch) diameter

Line cookie sheets with baking parchment, nonstick baking mats or lightly coat with butter.

Divide oven into thirds; bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

12 tablespoons (1 and a half sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
2 and three-quarters cup all-purpose flour
three-quarter teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then scrape down the bowl and beater. Remove bowl from mixer stand.
  2. Place a sifter over the bowl and measure the flour, baking powder and salt into it. Stir/sift the dry ingredients onto the egg mixture, then beat with a sturdy spoon or the mixer at lowest speed until well incorporated. Form the dough into a ball. If it feels too sticky, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour, until it is easier to handle.
  3. Work with about a third to one-half of the dough at a time and keep the rest in the refrigerator. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to one-eighth inch thick on parchment or baking mat. Dip cookie cutters in flour to prevent sticking, then cut shapes. 
  4. Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

The Diva chose to sandwich chocolate filling between the cookies. Yum!


  1. Such a good find! AND a thrifty one! I've ruined many a recipe hoping for results at altitude I too enjoyed when at sea level. Will be checking this one out!

  2. It was definitely money well spent. Tomorrow's recipe is another from the book with a couple of my own add-ins.

  3. Those. Look. AMAZING! You are outdoing yourself this year, Thrifty!

  4. Thank you, thank you! Couldn't do it without the Diva.