Colorado Egg Producers whip up high altitude baking tips for the holidays

By Tammy Stratton and Richelle Moulin
Special to The PREVIEW

Every year, the holiday season brings with it countless joys, including quality family time and beloved traditions.

Though each family celebrates the holidays in their own unique way, there is one tradition that many people look forward to all year long — holiday baking. From gingerbread to cheesecakes and sugar cookies, there is no shortage of delectable desserts this time of year.

Because no holiday dessert recipe would be complete without the incredible edible egg, the Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association would like to share some tips for baking at high altitude, a problem many Coloradans face during the holiday season.

“Eggs are an essential part of the holidays,” said Derek Yancey, Colorado egg farmer and CEP member. “Between eggnog, sugar cookies and Christmas morning breakfast, eggs are a staple ingredient in many of our favorite holiday traditions. Colorado egg farmers are committed to the best possible care of our chickens. By cooking with Colorado eggs, you can rest assured that you are using healthy, high quality ingredients for your family this holiday season.”

Here in Colorado, it is important to take the high altitude into consideration when baking. The main factor affecting baked items in higher altitudes is lower pressure. This 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 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.

• Reduce the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. For each cup, decrease by 2 to 3 tablespoons.

• Increase the amount of liquid the recipe calls for. For each cup, add 3 to 4 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.

Use these tips, along with locally produced eggs, to ensure your dessert will be the hit of the holiday party. CEP suggests trying out these high altitude baking tips on the following recipe for chocolate peppermint crinkles, courtesy of the American Egg Board.

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles

• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

• 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

• ½ teaspoon salt

• 2 cups granulated sugar

• One 12-ounce package OR 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted, cooled

• 3 eggs, room temperature

• 1/2 cup vegetable oil

• 1 teaspoon peppermint extract OR vanilla

• 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted

• 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes

• 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Combine 2 cups sugar, cooled chocolate, eggs, oil and peppermint extract in mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed until blended.

Refrigerate mixture, covered, until firm enough to shape, about one hour or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 F. Mix powdered sugar and crushed candy in small bowl.

Work with 1/3 of the dough at a time, keeping remaining dough refrigerated. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar first and the in crushed candy mixture. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined or ungreased baking sheets.

Bake until lightly browned, eight to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets one to two minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

More information 

Inspired to learn more about Colorado Egg Producers? Visit our exhibit at the National Western Stock Show Jan. 10 through Jan. 25. Our interactive barn is fun for the whole family with videos and slide shows, life-like baby chicks and hens, a conveyor belt for kids to operate, interactive robots, informational egg brochures, recipes and much more. Find us on the third floor in the Hall of Education in the CSU Ag Adventure display.

For more facts and information about eggs and CEP, including a list of where to buy Colorado eggs, please visit www.coloradoeggproducers.com.

For more holiday recipes, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

This story was posted on December 18, 2014.