Grand County high-altitude cookbook offers connection as main ingredient |

Grand County high-altitude cookbook offers connection as main ingredient

by Cyndi McCoy
Grand County, Colorado

Cooking at high altitude can pose many challenges ” and baking, even more.

Sure, the extra tablespoons of flour might do the trick. But what about confectioneries that don’t call for the usual thickening agent?

The solution changes from recipe to recipe, each explored by Patty Ross in her new high altitude cookbook.

She had always wanted to put a cookbook together and her dream came true when her recipe collection came out in October. She had always loved to bake at holiday time but could never find a good cookbook with every type of recipe in one book with photos.

“So, I decided to finally do my own,” she said.

She had been in the publishing business for 20 years, “took the gamble” and self-published a new cookbook, “The Rocky Mountain Sweet Shoppe Cookbook; Culinary Sensations for the Sweet Tooth.” It is dedicated to the spirit of giving … “and the old adage that … ‘Food is love.'”

Every one of its 228 recipes was perfected at high altitude, many right here in Grand County at Shadow Mountain Estates, where she enjoys a second home. For a change, the standard instructions are written for high altitude, with low altitude alterations.

“What people see is what people buy,” she said of the culinary inclusions compared to store-bought offerings.

Ross, who lives in Littleton, says her hard work has already become a success and is “just selling great.” Copies at Barnes and Noble, for example, sold out in three weeks. Copies are available locally at Mountain Row Tech/H2O in Grand Lake and at The Plant Orphanage and Cascades Cabin in Winter Park.

Chapters highlight the candy shoppe (including caramels, divinity, toffee, fondant), fudges and truffles, nuts (including pralines and clusters), sweet ‘n’ salty sensations (utilizing things like cereals, pretzels, popcorn, chips and crackers), mint treasures, dessert bars and brownies, cookies, Christmas classics, tips, tools and techniques; a recipe index (including a second one listing by favorite ingredient), and a page for notes.

Snack mixes, candy, nut medleys ” many of their names pay tribute to areas in Colorado: Frisco, Timnath, Carbondale, Boulder, Evergreen, Colorado City, Cedar City, Powderhorn, Firestone, Monument Cotopaxi, Monarch, Gunnison, Monte Vista, Delta, Kalispell, Red Rocks. Grand County was the inspiration for such things as the “Shadow Mountain Snappers,” “Kremmling Kookies,” “Heeney’s Chocolate Sprinkle Creams,” “Tabernash Tidbits,” “Trail Ridge” Tassies,” and “SolVista Fudge.”

Ross said the cookbook features several “never-before-seen recipes.” All have common ingredients that are simple to find and instructions that are simple and direct.

A third are considered “quick ‘n’ easy,” requiring less than a half-hour’s preparation.

Thirty of the recipes require less than 2/3 cup total sugar.

The cookbook stands out from the overwhelming culinary selection at most bookstores for several other reasons. Each recipe is accompanied by a color photograph, tips, variations, cautions and storage information; the book is spiral bound, has high altitude candy thermometer hints, and includes instructions for melting and dipping professional quality chocolates. It is also the only book Ross knows that illustrates melting chocolate in the oven and testing a candy thermometer for altitude.

Between each section of the book there are fun ideas on how bakers can “bless” people with their sweet creations.

“My hope is that people will stop chasing prosperity and ‘stuff’ and begin to reconnect with one another through food,” Ross said.

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