People often ask if I have failures.
Yes. I do. Sometimes more often than I would like to admit.
Today, I will admit to a couple in the kitchen last week. I’ll admit to some personal ones in another blog later this week.
What do I do, then, with stuff that doesn’t turn out?
Depends. If it is a total disaster, it goes into the waste bin. If not, it may be recycled.
Most of the disasters happen when I bake. And usually it is when I am not following the recipe, precisely. I do like to wing it now and again. With more than 40 years of baking experience, I generally know most of the chemistry. So I know what a batter looks like for a cake, what the texture is for a pie crust, etc.
The oven and your pans, however, can play a real role in the success for failure of your baking adventure. If your oven temperature is 25 degrees off, high or low, even a minute or two will make all the difference between overcooked and raw in the middle. The first time I made the recipe, I had the oven temp at 400 degrees, like the recipe stated. But I have a convection bake setting, so after 12 minutes, they were borderline burned. The second time, I set the timer for 10 minutes and the temperate at 375 degrees. When the timer went bing, they middles were sunken. So I walked away … and forgot for 5 minutes. Once again, overdone.
On the third time, I checked after 10 minutes. Middles still sunken. This time I set the timer for 2 minutes – barely enough time to pour a cup of tea and sit down. Bingo. Twelve minutes was perfect.
So what did I do with the less than perfect ones? Burned and chocolate, even slightly burned, isn’t repairable. They went into the waste can. The batch that we baked, but just not runny in the middle, I turned into cake pops. Essentially just crumble them up in a food processor, add frosting, roll into balls, and dip into chocolate. I also could have made a chocolate trifle, with layers of chocolate sauce. crumbled cake, and whipped cream.
It’s a lot of work to rescue a failure.
Earlier in the week, I was working on no-sugar baked goods made with almond and coconut flour. One was sweetened with oranges that simmered for two hours and then were pulverized in the blender. The other was sweetened with applesauce.
Both were dreadful. Just awful. They represented an entire afternoon of time, some very expensive ingredients (almond flour, olive oil, and a dozen eggs aren’t cheap), and wishful thinking.
Failure happens to anyone who tries. To anyone who dreams, “what if?”
If you keep at it, sometimes you get that perfect molten lava cake. And you get to eat it, while wearing PJs, on the couch, with the remote, and with as much ice cream as you like.