I visited a friend in Colorado recently, spending too much time adjusting to the elevation change and dry air, and not enough time enjoying my friend’s company, which I miss terribly. Aside from the thin, dry air, it was a beautiful weekend. It was sunny (oh boy was it sunny, hello sunburn) and in the 70s all three days, which we filled with being outside. We walked across the “world’s highest suspension bridge,” which I thought was awesome, but my companions were not as thrilled. I took tons of pictures. Some turned out great while others were, well, just rocks. Near the bridge we also walked along an American bison/buffalo entrapment. The bison were HUGE and I was fascinated with the giant white one, though happy to be on the other side of the fence. My friend also took us to “Garden of the Gods,” which was gorgeous and filled with, you guessed it, rocks (but pretty rocks). After all the rocks, thin air, and reminiscing, it to was back to moist and oxygenated sea level.
I also learned that you have to use a special type of flour (and less of it), as well as more liquid, when baking at that elevation. Also, baked goods cook at lower temperatures and don’t need as long in the oven. I knew you needed to adjust the cook time (as does anyone who reads the instructions for a frozen pizza), but I had no idea the substitutions were so drastic. It’s a good thing I didn’t try and bake anything during my visit – it would have been a dry, crumbling, burnt mess. I want to commend all you high-elevation bakers for your recipe conversion websites and recipes. I also hope that you try converting some of my sea-level recipes and let me know how they work out.
Fortunately, I made pumpkin muffins before I left and didn’t need to worry about elevation adjustment. These muffins are full of fall spices and if you mashed up the pumpkin yourself you get little chunks of pumpkin in your muffins. This recipe is for sea-level people, but I’m sure with some high-elevation adjustments it would work well up in the Rockies.
Pumpkin Muffinsyields 12 muffins 1 cup pumpkin puree 1 1/2 cups flour 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoons baking soda 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cloves, ground, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, egg and pumpkin puree. Combine pumpkin mixture into flour mixture and stir until combined. Evenly scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick (or butter knife) inserted into the center comes out clean. Enjoy.