High-altitude baker and Vail Daily columnist shares her best baking tips at the Bookworm in Edwards | VailDaily.com

High-altitude baker and Vail Daily columnist shares her best baking tips at the Bookworm in Edwards

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Vera Dawson's new cookbook dives deep into cookie-making at high-altitude, which in her experience, is one of the most popular desserts that people like to make at home.
Special to the Daily

Every high-altitude chef knows the disappointment of pulling a meal or dessert out of the oven, only to have it be burned, or have gone flat despite knowing they followed the recipe exactly. Luckily for us, experienced high-altitude baker and Vail Daily columnist Vera Dawson will be doing a talk at Bookworm in Edwards to help make cooking at altitude go a better.

Join Dawson, at The Bookworm of Edwards on Thursday at 6 p.m. to learn the ins and outs of successful cooking and baking at high-altitude. She’ll be bringing some of her famous cookies to snack on, and guests can try to make them using her new cookbook, “Cookies for People in High Places,” which is included with the ticket.

Dawson has been in love with cooking for as long as she can remember.

“I come from a family that likes to cook, and am married to a man who loves to cook and eat,” Dawson said, “so I have been into food of all kinds.”

“I got into baking full-time when I semi-retired. It drew me in because it’s an art form, as well as a culinary experience.”Vera DawsonVail Daily columnist and author of the new cookbook “Cookies for People in High Places”

But it wasn’t until a little later in life, after a doctorate in psychology and a successful school administration career, that baking became her passion.

“I got into baking full-time when I semi-retired,” Dawson said. “It drew me in because it’s an art form, as well as a culinary experience.”

It’s no secret that cooking, and especially baking, at high altitude comes with an extra set of challenges. It can be disheartening to spend time on a recipe that just never comes together.

“Accommodating for altitude when baking or cooking gains importance for every thousand feet that you live above sea level,” Dawson explains. “Where we live, at 7,800 feet and above, it’s critical to the success of many recipes.”

This accommodation comes with much trial and error, a practice Dawson has mastered. Over her many years of cooking and baking, she has discovered that testing is crucial to a recipe’s success. It is because of this belief that Dawson never publishes a recipe without multiple tests, to make sure it is as reliable as possible. These foolproof recipes can be found in her High Country Baking column in the Vail Daily and Summit Daily, as well as in her three cookbooks.

Her newest cookbook, “Cookies for People in High Places,” returns to her fan-favorite: cookies.

“More people make cookies than any other baked good, so cookies are a favorite topic,” Dawson said. “So many people requested it when my first cookbook, ‘Cookies in the Clouds’ sold out, so I wrote a second cookie book.”