Crunchy, chewy, and chocolatey High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies that are 100% perfection for us high altitude bakers!
This recipe was originally published April 15, 2020. It was updated with recipe tips and information on December 21, 2020.
Say goodbye to flat and lifeless cookies with these High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies. They're adapted for all of us high altitude baking folks (that is, people leaving over 3500 feet) to come out thick and chewy, rich and buttery, and chocolatey. See my notes on how to most accurately measure flour for the best and most consistent baking results -- you'll be so glad you did!
I remember to this day the first time I baked cookies after moving here to Colorado!
I pulled out my favorite cookie recipe, got to work mixing it up, scooped out the batter onto the cookie sheet, and tried to keep myself busy as I anxiously awaited from the treat to come out of the oven.
And then, when I opened the oven door, my little cookie-loving heart dropped. I swear, all those balls of cookies virtually melted into what looked like one of those cookie pizzas you see at the mall.
😭 WHAT HAPPENED?! I thought.
I checked the bottom of the cookies to see if they were done (yep! they were golden); I double checked the time I baked the cookies and temperature to which I set the oven (also correct); and then I started going through all the measurements. No where did I mess anything up!
And then, as I was wracking my mind for the mistake I made, it hit me: high elevation!! So what I've heard people talking about all along is a real thing.
Not the first time my stubbornness got the best of me!
And so I set out to research high altitude baking and got back into the kitchen with some adaptations to my recipe. What resulted were cookies that were thick and chewy, buttery and chocolatey, and -- most importantly -- weren't a cookie pizza!!
So, today I share with you that recipe. In the three years since I first adapted it, I've continued to perfect it, wanting nothing less than to give you the Best High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Enjoy, friends!
Table of contents
- What ingredients are in these high altitude chocolate chip cookies?
- Substitutions you can make in this recipe:
- How many cookies does this recipe make?
- Can you halve or double this high altitude cookie recipe?
- What texture are these cookies?
- Why do you need to make high altitude baking adjustments?
- What are common high altitude baking adjustments?
- Pro-tips to make these cookies delicious every time:
- What is the best way to measure flour?
- How do you measure flour? Watch this quick video to learn how!
- How to make the Best High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies:
- Can you make chocolate chip cookies with melted butter?
- How long do these high altitude chocolate chip cookies last?
- Can you freeze these chewy chocolate chip cookies?
- Other high altitude baking recipes you'll enjoy!
- Other fun baking recipes:
What ingredients are in these high altitude chocolate chip cookies?
- Unsalted butter - what can I say? Butter in cookies is just pretty much the best. See my notes below for adaptations if you only have salted butter.
- Brown sugar - the molasses in brown sugar adds depth and richness to the cookies.
- White sugar - we need just a bit of this sugar to balance out the cookies!
- Eggs - this recipe calls for two eggs because we need a bit of extra moisture at high altitude.
- Pure vanilla extract - I know it's more expensive, but the pure vanilla extract adds the best flavor if you can find or splurge on it!
- Whole wheat flour - the high protein in this flour is best for high altitude baking. See my substitutions below if you don't have it.
- Baking soda - we will still use a leavening agent (baking soda) when baking at high altitude, just not as much.
- Salt - it may seem contradictory, but salt brings out all the flavors in the cookies.
Substitutions you can make in this recipe:
Unsalted butter - if you don't have unsalted butter you can use salted butter, just reduce the salt in the recipe down to ½ teaspoon.
Whole wheat flour - bread flour works as a substitute for whole wheat flour in this recipe because of it's high protein content.
Pure vanilla extract - an imitation vanilla extract will work in these cookies, but a powdered vanilla extract will be better if you have it. Substitute in the same amount of either if using.
How many cookies does this recipe make?
This full recipe makes 2 dozen large cookies.
Can you halve or double this high altitude cookie recipe?
Yes, it's pretty easy to halve or double this cookie recipe. Just cut all the ingredients in half (or multiply them) and then bake at the same temperature for the same amount of time.
What texture are these cookies?
These cookies are rich, nutty, thick, and chewy. They are not thin, bendy, or spreadable.
If you like a thin and spread out cookie, this recipe is not for you. I recommend this recipe instead.
Why do you need to make high altitude baking adjustments?
The main reason we need to make high altitude baking adjustments is due to the lower air pressure when baking at high altitudes. This causes the baked goods to rise faster, liquid to evaporate faster, and take longer to bake.
What are common high altitude baking adjustments?
These are the most common baking adjustments you'll need to make when baking at high altitude:
Increase the heat - by 15-25 degrees is usually sufficient.
Use a high-protein flour - whole wheat flour and bread flour are two of my preferred high-protein flours.
Decrease the sugar in your recipe - 10% less sugar is usually perfect, though you can decrease your sugar by up to 20%.
Increase the baking time - start checking the baked goods at the directed time and add on baking time in 1-2 minutes increments until baked through.
Increase the liquid - liquid evaporates faster when baking at high altitudes so you'll usually have best results by increasing the amount by 10-20%.
Pro-tips to make these cookies delicious every time:
- Use the right amount of eggs - this will affect the amount of moisture in this recipe, which is crucial at high altitude. Use either 2 jumbo eggs or 3 large eggs for this recipe.
- Weigh your flour by measuring - see my video below for an illustration of this, but weighing your flour by scooping or spooning and leveling can add up to 20% more flour to your recipe, drastically affecting the outcomes of your recipe.
- Check the freshness of your flour - old flour will kill almost any recipe. Check your expiration date and make sure you're using good, fresh flour.
- Press your cookies down before baking - these cookies are thick and chewy and they don't spread a whole lot. So, press them down into the shape you want before popping them in the oven!
What is the best way to measure flour?
The best way to measure flour is by weighing it. The second best way to measure is by scooping the flour into your measuring cups and then leveling off the top with a knife or your finger.
See how the different methods of flour measuring stack up!
How do you measure flour? Watch this quick video to learn how!
What tools do you need to make these high altitude chocolate chip cookies?
- Cookie sheets
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mats
- Food scale
- Mixing bowls
- Hand-held mixer or stand mixer
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Silicone spatula or wooden spoon
- Cookie scooper
- Wire cooling rack
How to make the Best High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for about a minute, or until all the butter is absorbed into the sugars. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the two eggs and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and mix in until a light tan color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, lightly whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together with a fork.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture and mix in at slow speed until there are no streaks of flour remaining. Mix in the second half of flour at low speed until all the flour is absorbed again. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix again at medium speed for 15-30 seconds, or until the batter has formed a large, craggy mass of dough.
- Mix in the chocolate chips with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon. Scoop the dough by heaping 2 tablespoons and roll into rough balls. Lightly press down on the top of each cookie and place them on the baking sheet 2-2.5 inches away from each other.
- Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and sides.
- Cool the cookie sheets on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then move the cookies directly onto the wire cooling rack and let cool until room temperature (or sneak a few while they're cooling!).
Can you make chocolate chip cookies with melted butter?
Yes, you can definitely make chocolate chip cookies with melted butter. In fact, it's my favorite way to make bakery-style chocolate chip cookies!
Using melted butter makes the cookies more chewy and crackly than cookies made with softened and creamed butter. This resulting texture difference is due to the way the creaming traps in air bubbles.
How long do these high altitude chocolate chip cookies last?
These cookies will last for 3-4 days in an airtight container at room temperature, though they'll be the most fresh within the first 24 hours of baking, or if you freeze them.
Can you freeze these chewy chocolate chip cookies?
Yes, freezing is my favorite way to store these chocolate chip cookies! Frozen cookies will stay fresh in the freezer for 2-3 months in an air-tight freezer-safe container.
Other high altitude baking recipes:
- High Altitude Sugar Cookies
- Chocolate Coconut Cookies
- High Altitude Beer Bread
- High Altitude Peanut Butter Cookies
- Chocolate Hazelnut Fudgy Bonbons
- Peanut Butter M&M Cookies
- Funfetti Cookies
- Chocolate Coconut Bars
- Whole Wheat Beer Bread
- Easy No-Yeast Oatmeal Bread
Please note: these high altitude chocolate chip cookies are thick and hearty. They are not soft or thin. If you like a chewier and thinner cookie, check out my Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe -- they're also high altitude friendly!
More baking recipes:
- Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten-Free Peach Cobbler
- Oatmeal Bread Recipe (No-Yeast!)
- Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- Lemon Blueberry Muffin Bread
- Peanut Butter Brookies
- Pumpkin Dog Treats
- Fudgy Date Brownies
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