By Michele Worthington
Special to The PREVIEW
Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us. For many, this time of year means festive family gatherings, unique traditions and, of course, all types of holiday treats.
Holiday baking is a favorite tradition for many families and the incredible, edible egg is a central ingredient in nearly every dessert recipe.
The Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association would like to share some helpful tips for baking at high altitude, a problem many Coloradans face during the holiday season.
“Locally produced eggs from Colorado can be used in holiday baking recipes,” said Chef Jason Morse, CEP partner. “From gingerbread cookies to eggnog to Christmas-morning casseroles, eggs are very versatile and contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral the body needs. Including eggs in your holiday baking means your family is eating healthy, nutritional ingredients.”
Baking in high altitudes here in Colorado can make a big impact on the end result of your dish. Why? Higher altitudes often have lower pressure, which leads to lower boiling points, faster evaporation of liquids and more rapid rising of batters when baked. Basic adjustments and a little experimentation can compensate for higher altitudes. Here are a few tips:
• Reduce the amount of baking powder the recipe calls for. For each teaspoon, decrease by one-eighth to one-quarter teaspoon.
• Reduce the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. For each cup, decrease by two to three tablespoons.
• Increase the amount of liquid the recipe calls for. For each cup, add three to four tablespoons. Eggs and butter are considered liquids.
• Fill baking pans half-full, not the usual two-thirds, as high altitude cakes may overflow.
Increase the baking temperature 15-20 degrees, unless using a glass pan, and reduce the baking time by up to 20 percent.
• For hard-boiled eggs, higher altitudes have a lower boiling point, so eggs will need to cook longer in order to achieve desired doneness. Hard boiling at 9,000 to 10,000 feet in elevation may never fully cook through, so you may want to hard-boil your eggs before traveling to the high country.
Using these tips, along with locally produced eggs, will ensure your dish will be the hit of the holiday party. CEP suggests trying out these high altitude baking tips on this recipe for cranberry white chocolate cookies, with a bonus gift idea courtesy of the American Egg Board.
Cranberry white chocolate cookies*
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 40 cookies
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup white chocolate chips
• 1 package (6 ounces) dried sweetened cranberries
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For dry cranberry white chocolate cookie mix, combine all dry ingredients in a clear 2-quart container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover with lid. Store in a cool, dry place until ready to give as a gift.
To make the cookies right away, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine your container of dry cookie mix with butter in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined after each addition. Stir in vanilla until blended. Drop dough using a tablespoonful for each cookie onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet on a wire rack for 1 minute. Remove, cool completely and enjoy.
To make a personalized gift, attach a hand-written recipe card with the ingredients and directions. The dry mix can be prepared and held in a container for up to two weeks before giving.
*Note: The measurements in this recipe are for an altitude of 5,280 feet. As you increase in altitude, please make the necessary adjustments to measurements and cooking times.
Find more holiday recipes and baking tips by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. To learn more about CEP, please visit www.coloradoeggproducers.com.
The CEP is a membership organization representing six farms throughout Colorado.