August 28, 2012

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies - High Altitude and Sea Level

I purchased Pie in the Sky cookbook after taking a high altitude baking class.  I saw the cookbook before the class, but the instructor recommended the cookbook so I decided to take a second look.  The cookbook is nice because it gives you the measurements/directions for sea level, 3,000 feet, 5,000 feet, 7,000 feet and 10,000 feet.  In Boulder, we are at 5,430 feet above sea level.  I've found that some recipes aren't affected by the altitude, but I have definitely had my share of baking issues.  I like to blame them on the altitude.  =)  I can notice a difference in a few of my recipes that I've made at sea level and now trying to make them here at altitude.

These cookies are very tasty.  With all the oatmeal (3 cups), the cookies are dense, but you can feel good eating the oatmeal.  It's good for you!  =)  You have to love my logic because it allows me (and you) to eat more cookies.

Trout Dale Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1 1/2 tablespoons at 5,000 feet)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (generous 1/4 teaspoon at 5,000 feet)
1 teaspoon salt (generous 1 teaspoon at 5,000 feet)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (1 1/2 teaspoons at 5,000 feet)
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (6 ounces) raisins

Line cookie sheets with baking parchment or nonstick mats or coat with butter or nonstick vegetable spray.

Position oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, using a sturdy spoon or in the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and creamy, then beat in both sugars.  Scrape down the bowl and beater, if using, and beat until smooth.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla, and scrape down the bowl again.

Stirring slowly, or with the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually work in the flour mixture, then the oats and raisins.  The dough will feel very stiff.  (You can make the dough ahead, cover, and refrigerate for several hours.)

Drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets by the heaping tablespoon, placing the cookies about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 12 to 16 minutes at sea level, 13 to 15 minutes at 5,000 feet, or until the cookies are golden brown; the longer they bake, the crisper they will be.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack.  If the cookies were baked on parchment or a baking mat, simply slide it off the cookie sheet onto the wire rack to cool.  When the cookies are completely cool, store them in an airtight container.

Yield - 55 to 60 cookies (2-inch diameter)

Hat Tip - Pie in the Sky by Susan G. Purdy

August 19, 2012

Graham Break Aways

I'm back to blogging.  I haven't been blogging for a few reasons, but I'm not going to bore you with excuses.  I will tell you about the main reason.  I've been discouraged with the photo taking part of blogging.  I got some new lights for picture taking.  I thought they would cure all my issues, but sadly they haven't.  It seems to be a trial and error process.  One day (soon), I hope to take pictures easily and correctly.

Now, on to the food!  Graham Break Aways are amazing!  They taste like a candy bar. I haven't been able to put my finger on which one, so if you figure it out please let me know.  They are sweet, buttery, crunchy, and decadant.  Lick The Bowl Good recommends using different ingredient combinations for the recipe.  You could use cinnamon graham crackers, dark chocolate, walnuts, peanuts, or dried fruit!  Make them any way you want, just make them soon.  Don't miss out on this tasty, easy treat!

Graham Break Aways

12 graham crackers, broken crosswise in half (24 squares)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven do 350 degrees.  Line a 15x10x1 cookie sheet with foil (makes for much easier clean up).  Arrange the graham crackers in a single layer.

Place the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for two minutes.  Pour mixture over grahams.  Immediately spread the mixture to cover all the graham crackers.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.  

Once the sugar mixture is bubbly, remove from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Return grahams to the oven and bake for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until chocolate melts.  

With the back of of a spoon or offset spatula, spread chocolate evenly over caramelly mixture.  

Sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Carefully press the nuts into the chocolate so the stick, but be careful because it's HOT!

Cool completely.  Break in 24 squares.

Hat Tip - Lick The Bowl Good