Confession: My friend Kim and I once put ½ a cup of salt into a cake batter instead of ½ a teaspoon. The batter never made it in the oven. Later that night I broke my collarbone by running into a door, so I tend to think it was just an off night.
Yet time and time again, my baking skills prove inadequate. Sure, I haven’t mistaken ½ a teaspoon for ½ a cup again (that is not a mistake you make twice), but I certainly have had my fair share of culinary disasters. Let’s examine last night, shall we?
A childhood friend of mine, Sara Stewart, writes a very fun foodie blog: Nourish and Flourish. Her latest post includes a picture of delectable looking chocolate-chip peanut butter cookies and a link to this recipe. The PB&C combination is one of my all-time faves, and the web reviews of the cookies were so good, that I set out to bake my own batch. For someone with the kitchen skills of a four year old, this was quite an ambitious undertaking.
Here’s the thing – the cookies are flourless. Now I am 100% behind flour products. But the picture just looked sooo good, why not give gluten-free a try? Not to mention the recipe was insanely easy. Only 3 ingredients! (4 when you add chocolate chips). How is it possible to screw up a recipe with 3 ingredients? Well let me ask you this: How is it possible to mistake ½ a teaspoon with ½ a cup? It just is. Especially when you’re me.
I mixed the ingredients together, popped the cookie sheet in the oven, and waited. And waited. And waited. The cookies failed to cook. At least in appearance. Sure there was a slight burning smell wafting from the oven, but they were still mushy and looked NOTHING like the picture on Sara’s blog. My mother kindly reminded me that a flourless cookie would not look like a regular cookie. Touché. But why did Sara’s look so fluffy and, well… edible? I eventually removed the cookies from the oven and inserted the 2nd round. Maybe this would go better.
No luck. How is it possible that one cookie can turn out perfectly golden, but the cookie placed immediately next to in on the baking sheet is burnt to a crisp? Apparently my baking is so bad it inexplicably defies the laws of nature.
As if maybe-maybe not overcooking the cookies wasn’t embarrassing enough, while transferring them to a cooling rack they either a) completely crumbled to bits or b) refused to budge from the baking sheet.
The below images showcase how the final version looks just plain wrong and the remains of the batch after I unsuccessfully tried to scrape them off the sheet.
My father wouldn’t even deign to taste these abominations I called cookies. My mother shrugged her shoulders saying, “Eh. They’re a little dry,” while fighting back tears of disappointment at her baking-challenged daughter. My 23-year-old brother, a human vacuum cleaner, rated them a meager “Okay”. It was a huge blow to my domestic ego.
So distraught was I over this pathetic outcome, I actually emailed Sara asking if the photo she had posted that had inspired this whole endeavor was a stock image or actually what her flourless peanut butter cookies looked like.
Her very prompt response went something like this: Yes, the picture was a stock image (Hooray! Maybe I’m not a total failure!) but was an image that very closely resembled her actual cookies, used only because her original photo did not turn out (I take it back, I am a total failure). She then very sweetly encouraged me to try again. Not likely. However I highly recommend her chocolate peanut butter bars – no baking required! – that I have made and successfully not screwed up. Those I will make again.
The upside to this complete baking blunder is that I, being pregnant, will eat almost anything, so at least they won’t go to waste. In the meantime, if you have any flour-included recipes of just about anything you think I should try, please send them my way. I desperately need to hone my domestic skills.Read More