High Altitude Chocolate Sugar Cookies

High altitude baking is terribly confusing to me.  Various websites will tell you that baking at high altitudes causes evaporation and leavening to occur more quickly. This apparently messes with the cellular structure of your baked goods, particularly cakes, causing them to "fall".  To coin this generation's favorite retort to anything, "Wait, what?" You could text to my kids, "We're having steak for dinner tonight." and they would each respond, "Wait, what?" Oh how many times I've asked, "How is this a 'Wait, what' moment?" to which I get no response whatsoever. 

But to get back on track...  I love Colorado.  I can't imagine living anywhere else.  I love the lack of humidity.  I love autumn with all the glorious and beautiful colors and I love the cooler weather that accompanies it.  I love snow.  While all my transplanted friends complain after two snow storms (That's not a snow storm! That's just a light dusting!), I love the gently falling snow with the huge snowflakes or even the fast pace of a good blizzard.  Hot chocolate, anyone?  I love Colorado. I hate high altitude baking adjustments.  

My irrational fear of high altitude adjustments were justified in a failed attempt at homemade Oreo cookies. Never blogged it because they were terrible. Something akin to a very dry, flat brownie that was badly in need of more sugar.  Flavor-wise, not bad.  Rich.  But did I mention they were dry? I ended up throwing over half of them out.  Yes, I ate the other half out of guilt.  
A quarter cup of molasses should do just fine, right? Yes. It did just fine.

Tired of baking the same four recipes for cookies,  I came across a recipe for chocolate sugar cookies.  If you ask me, it looked as if it had already been high altitude adjusted (1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour plus 2T).  Am I supposed to know the altitude of geographic locations I don't live in???? She didn't give her city (which I can't say I blame her), just her location-ish.  I adjusted. And adjusted more because I don't understand the decreasing of butter if it is indeed a liquid in baking which I am supposed to increase for high altitude.  And adjusted more because I didn't have one of her key ingredients. And adjusted again because, dang that is a lot of sugar.  And again because, dang that is a lot of vanilla (yes, I said that and I love vanilla). And I adjusted again because I just add heavy whipping cream to everything I bake.  And again because I didn't want to waste two sticks of butter on a dry cookie no one but me will eat. The end result? A gooey dough. Refrigeration followed.
Okay, it wasn't that gooey. Tapped off excess confectioners sugar into my dough!

After attempting to roll them into balls, and finding that the refrigeration quickly came back to room temperature (yes, I didn't wait long enough because I'm me), I finally just spooned it. Two spoons in a sword fight over the shape of the dough.  Hers had a lovely coating of what looked like confectioners sugar even though her recipe called for granulated sugar.  I tried both.  Neither turned out like hers so in the end I just ix-nayed the sugar because ultimately, sweet enough without the added calories.
Excess confectioners sugar... meh. Just bake it!
Wait, what just happened. See what I just did there.  My version of "Wait, what?" IX-NAY the UGAR-SHAY.
The taste? YUM.  A fine meld of chocolate, sugar and butter with a soft center and crunchy exterior. I'm telling you, add 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream to everything you bake. Oh. Em. Gee.
Mmmmm. Moist, chocolatey and buttery too. Yum.

Hope you'll give it a try! 

xo ~
Rolly <3

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup unpacked light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 T heavy whipping cream

  1. Combine dry ingredients except cocoa powder in a bowl.
  2. In a separate larger bowl, mix sugar and butter until creamy.
  3. Add 1/4 cup molasses, mixing again until combined.
  4. Add vanilla, eggs, and whipping cream. Mix to combine.
  5. Add cocoa powder - very messy - be gentle.
  6. Add dry ingredients about a 1/4-1/2 cup at a time, mixing between each addition.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Drop by heaping teaspoon onto parchment lined cookie sheet with at least 2" space between each
  10. Bake 10-12 minutes. 
  11. Cool on sheet 1 minute before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.