High-Altitude Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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High-Altitude Oatmeal Cookies

I’ve been in Colorado for the past week for a bevy of reasons–a dear friend’s wedding, volunteer work with an adoptee heritage camp, spending time with my grandmother… and so on. And whenever I come home, I’m always driven to cook and bake for my family; I mean, it’s what I spend most of my time doing in LA, so I want to cook for my mom & grandmom whenever I’m here. At least I’m more skilled now compared to when I was living in Colorado a few years ago–the running joke before I moved was that my ‘kitchen creations’ at my parents’ house were more like ‘kitchen disasters.’ Smoke alarms, scalded fingers, a lingering burning smell, emulsions that didn’t… emulsify

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I always managed to scrape respectable cookies out of my parents’ oven despite the charred entrées, though. Maybe I was just lucky? Honestly, I think it’s because baking requires almost no multitasking–once it’s in the oven, it’s time to play the waiting game. Either way, my family always knows that they can trust my baking and therefore I’m always tasked with cookie-baking whenever I come home to visit again.

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So what’s different about these “high-altitude” cookies? Is it just a cute turn of phrase? Actually, it’s the standard alteration I make to all of the cookies I bake in Colorado but added to my favorite oatmeal raisin recipe (via Simply Recipes). I’ve included the link below for the sea-level recipe for those of you that aren’t in the thinner air, as I have barely changed anything apart from the altitude adjustments.

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Thanks to King Arthur Flour‘s altitude baking chart, I came up with a uniform adjustment to generic cookie recipes that works very well for the Mile-High altitude. I subtract a Tbsp. of sugar, add 2 Tbsp. of AP flour and 2 Tbsp. of water, as well as increase the temperature by 15ºF and reduce the baking time by 2-5 minutes. I won’t lie–baking at higher altitude is definitely trickier than sea level, and getting a soft, chewy cookie usually involves some oven window watching. But if you continue to do these alterations over time, they’ll become second nature! Toward the end of my time in Denver [before I moved to LA], it was a customary adjustment that I had memorized and used without much thought.

So to my friends, family, and anyone else that happens to live where the oxygen percentage is lower–this recipe is for you. I wish you chewy, moist, and delicious oatmeal cookies packed with raisins and crunchy edges! My heart will always be evenly split between these mountains and the Pacific Ocean. :)

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Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

High-Altitude Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 16 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: dessert

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 c. rolled old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • If you live at an altitude above 7000 ft, add an additional 1½ tsp. of liquid and 1 Tbsp flour to the recipe; for each additional 1000 ft, add another 1½ liquid and 1 Tbsp flour.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 365ºF.
  2. Line a sheet with Silpat or with parchment paper. If you have neither, be sure to spray your pan with non-stick or wipe some oil onto the surface with a paper towel.
  3. Cream the butter using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer (1 minute).
  4. Add the brown sugar and white sugar, then mix for 3 minutes on medium or until fluffy in appearance.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract, then mix until blended into the batter.
  6. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon with a whisk or fork.
  7. Combine the oats with the dry mixture and stir until well-mixed.
  8. Pour the contents of the dry mixture into the wet batter in three batches, making sure to mix well each time before adding the next batch.
  9. Pour the water into the mix and stir slowly until the water has been absorbed by the batter.
  10. Throw the raisins into the batter and stir until the raisins have been evenly distributed.
  11. Form cookie dough into rounded tablespoon-sized balls and place onto the pan, keeping the dough balls 2 inches apart from each other.
  12. Bake for 8-10 minutes–you’re looking for the edges to be golden-brown, even if the center looks a little gooey and uncooked. Don’t worry, the center will continue to bake when you take it out of the oven.
  13. Leave the cookies on the tray for two minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack carefully–the cookies will still be very soft.
  14. These cookies will stay soft and chewy for up to a week if you keep it in an airtight container.

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Comments: 25

  1. orodertiopertul October 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm Reply

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  2. Claudia February 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm Reply

    Thank You so much for this high altitude cookie recipe. I live at 7,500 ft. in Colorado and this recipe turns out fantastic every time (and I’m no baker). With or without raisins, it’s good stuff.

    Again, Thank You so much.

    • admin February 13, 2014 at 9:58 pm Reply

      Hi Claudia! You’re so welcome! It was a blessed relief when I finally figured out something that worked for me in Colorado and I’m glad I could help a fellow Coloradan :)

  3. Kathy March 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm Reply

    Thank you! This is the clearest instruction I’ve seen for high-altitude cookies.

    • admin March 31, 2014 at 2:35 pm Reply

      You’re very welcome, Kathy! I’m glad I was able to help!

  4. Michelle Davis April 25, 2014 at 9:10 am Reply

    I live in Mexico City (7,250 ft above sea level) and I followed your recipe step by step. Unfortunately the outcome was not what expected. My cookies were as flat as a tortilla. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you very much!! Kind regards, Michelle

    • admin April 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm Reply

      Hi Michelle!

      Is your baking soda still chemically active? To test, take a small amount (½ tsp.) and pour a drop or two of vinegar on top. If it doesn’t bubble and sizzle, you may need new baking soda. Your altitude is ~1000 ft. above what mine usually is when I use my baking additions, so you might want to add an additional tablespoon of both water and flour while omitting a tablespoon of white sugar. Also, try increasing the temperature to 375ºF and decreasing the baking time by a minute or two. High-altitude baking is always a bit of a trial, but I hope these suggestions help you find the adjustments that work best for you. Good luck!

  5. Tracy V August 6, 2014 at 4:22 pm Reply

    This recipe sucks! I’m at 7,200 ft. And they came out like wafer crisps! Did not rise or fluff at all! FOLLOWED YOUR REVIPE EXACTLY WITH EXACT BRAND INGREDIENTS TOO!

    • admin August 6, 2014 at 5:44 pm Reply

      Hello,

      I’m sorry you weren’t able to achieve the same results–I think that saying this recipe “sucks” is unjustified, since I test these recipes myself before posting them. Additionally, the only brand I listed was King Arthur’s flour, and that was only to reference the conversion chart–not to recommend use of the brand itself.

      My recipe is adjusted for 6000 ft. Since you are at 7200 ft, you need to increase the amount of liquid and flour that goes into the recipe. Please reference the conversion chart to find out what best adjustments to make.

  6. Meghan September 14, 2014 at 11:34 am Reply

    I think the recipe is lovely! My family really enjoyed them, and they were a huge hit at work. Thank a bunch for posting this!

    • admin September 14, 2014 at 6:35 pm Reply

      Hi Meghan,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m happy to be of help.

  7. Ski_Sail33 September 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm Reply

    Made these twice. Second batch added 2 Tbsp of flour 1Tbsp more water. Cooked for 12min. WOW – moist & perfect!! Rose right up and stayed up!
    Kids loved them. Thanks so much! Pete

    Steamboat Springs CO 6900′

    • admin September 24, 2014 at 9:18 pm Reply

      Hi Pete,

      You’re so welcome! Always happy to hear from a fellow Coloradan :)

  8. Nicky October 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm Reply

    This was fantastic! I’d like to add pumpkin to this recipe. Would you recommend a cup or just half?

    • admin October 29, 2014 at 5:13 pm Reply

      Hi Nicky,

      Sorry for the late reply! Pumpkin is a tough call, since it adds so much moisture to the batter. Try using 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree–and let me know how it goes! Thanks again.

  9. Nicky November 9, 2014 at 6:27 pm Reply

    Kris-Your suggestion of the butter worked just fine! I saved this recipe–thanks so much for helping me bake delicious cookies at “5280” in Denver!

    • admin January 8, 2015 at 8:07 pm Reply

      Nicky–so glad I could help you, especially as a fellow Denverite!

  10. Bobbi April 1, 2015 at 9:54 am Reply

    Kris, These came out perfect and SOOOO delicious! I’m in SoCo, at a little over 9000 ft. Followed your adjustments, except decreased baking soda even more, added walnuts, and increased temp to 375. Also, required 4-5 minutes longer baking.
    High altitude baking is quite an art. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

    • admin April 1, 2015 at 10:18 am Reply

      Hi Bobbi,

      I’m so happy to hear that this recipe worked well for you! I struggled with high altitude baking the entire time I lived in CO, and I’m glad that these adjustments helped you at an even higher altitude :)

  11. Gina Fogle May 19, 2015 at 5:57 pm Reply

    Turned out great! Thank you. I am from the Pacific Northwest and have not had success with my cookies turning out very well in the past. So that was a very pleasant surprise.

  12. Kathie May 21, 2015 at 12:27 pm Reply

    Perfect cookies at 7400 ft.

  13. Emily May 23, 2015 at 2:31 pm Reply

    I live in Ft. Collins and had tried several oatmeal raisin cookie recipes before with no success. Oily blobs that did not hold together. These were perfect! Thanks for the recipe and the tip on King Arthur Flour adjustments.

    • admin June 26, 2015 at 12:47 pm Reply

      Emily,

      Thanks for your feedback, I’m so happy to hear this recipe was a winner for you! (Sorry for the ultra-late reply, I’ve been out of the country. :)

  14. Janet V. October 1, 2015 at 6:47 pm Reply

    I’m so glad I found this recipe! I agree with the other comments about your instructions for high altitude are the clearest I’ve seen. I used quick oats (no judgement, please!) because I didn’t have rolled old-fashioned oats in the house, and they still turned out delicious! Mmmmm!!! Btw, I’m at 8500 feet in Colorado, so I added an additional T of flour and and additional 1 1/2 t of water to the recipe. Next time I think I’ll try with your pumpkin butter suggestion! Tis the season for pumpkin EVERYTHING! Haha!

    • admin October 11, 2015 at 8:28 am Reply

      That’s so good to hear, Janet! Baking at high altitude is a bear, so I’m glad I could help :)

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