One of the most frequent questions I am asked is how I come up with my recipes. The truth? Time… brainstorming… money… tears… and many failures. Many failures. Emphasis on the MANY. I spend so much time developing recipes, and I can guarantee you that at least 25% of that time is dedicated to remaking the failed recipes.

I only wish that I had thought to take pictures of every single one.

Where to start?

I attempted to make 2 mini red velvet cakes for Valentine’s Day.

You see how well that turned out. Something about vinegar and baking soda and too much wine.

Luckily the second attempt didn’t flop.

These “healthy” chocolate scones were some of the dryest, most disgusting baked goods I’ve ever tried.

I nixed the “healthy” part and finally got it right.

I absentmindedly grabbed cinnamon chips instead of chocolate chips when making chocolate chip cookies one morning.

Think it sounds good? It wasn’t. Trust me.

This one wasn’t my fault, I swear. After spending our life savings on the freshest lobster we could find in Pittsburgh, Mr. How Sweet cooked it this way.

He thought that sauteing the lobster meant “boiling it in a pot of water.” Thankfully it was still edible and delicious.

During my muffin binge, I attempted to stuff a muffin with a caramel square.

Do you know what happens? It sinks to the bottom. Then you spend the rest of your life trying to scrub muffin tins.

I deemed this grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp too unphotogenic.

But it was delicious and we enjoyed every bite.

This marble loaf cake sunk all the way down in the middle.

It was a beautiful sight. But not really.

Oh look! More muffins.

These muffins never even baked or solidified into muffins once in the oven. I’m blaming my oven. And that wine.

Before tweaking the hot cocoa cookie recipe, these babies came out extremely underdone.

After nearly 20 minutes in the oven.

Clearly, I have an issue with loaf cakes.

Don’t forget to coat your chips in flour the first time around. This was really fun to clean!


I have more molasses, syrup, flour, butter, cocoa powder and bacon grease in the crevices of my kitchen counters, camera, and other unmentionable places than you can ever imagine.

Mr. How Sweet is not amused.

I know I sort of shared what happens to the baked mozzarella balls if you don’t spray the pan.

But what I failed to mention is that I forgot to spray the pan 3 times before remembering. I survived on burnt, bubbly mozzarella for 12 hours while peeling it off the only pan that Mr. How Sweet hasn’t destroyed.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I always have a good laugh when people comment on my recipes or photos, because if you really saw the whole picture, we’d probably just share a good cry. Next time things don’t go your way in the kitchen, think of me and remember I’m probably sitting in a pile of dough and tears because my mixer decided to jump off the counter.

Here’s to a delicious 2011!

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159 Responses to “Recipe Disasters of 2010.”

  1. #
    Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg — December 31, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

    The lobster– lol. Glad to know that not ALL of your recipes are absolutely to die for…only 99.99% of them are :-)


  2. #
    Camille — December 31, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

    Hahaha, I love this!


  3. #
    Kristina @ spabettie — December 31, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

    this is awesome. the lobster one – oh WOW, I’m glad that one turned out okay…

    It kinda reminded me of the time Jason and I were making Pumpkin Ale. I told him we could ROAST a real pumpkin, or just use pumpkin puree… I went to the store for something, and when I came home, he had a roasting pan on the counter, with pumpkin puree spread out all over it. :D It was so cute I almost didn’t want to tell him…

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, Mr + Mrs How Sweet!!


    • Jessica — December 31st, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

      Oh I am seriously laughing out loud!


  4. #
    Evan Thomas — December 31, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

    This year I made banana bread, and right before sticking it in the oven wondered why it had made so little batter, only to see the banana puree still on the counter.


  5. #
    Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchen — December 31, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    Hahaha it’s so funny to see how everyone has their own share of disasters… thanks for sharing!

    I had a disaster while making cookies a few months ago…they turned out as flat as pancakes and stuck to the baking sheet. It was so horrifying I couldn’t bring myself to even take a picture. It turned out that the baking soda had expired. I never realized baking soda only lasts a month.
    I haven’t used baking soda since, I always substitute using baking powder now! :)


  6. #
    Ashley — December 31, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

    These are great Jess!! :) I’ve never even SEEN cinnamon chips! haha Happy New Year girl!! xo


  7. #
    Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete — December 31, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

    haha. Well, you live and you learn, right? I had many disasters just like that with gf baking. It is a lot different than baking with regular flour! My poor husband was my guinea pig, and it is a miracle he hasn’t accused me of poisoning him yet!


  8. #
    Lauren C — December 31, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    This was hilarious! I’m so happy to see I’m not the only one who 1. occasionally destroys baked goods and 2. has an kitchen inept significant other who requires very specific instructions. FYI, the clarification of cucumber vs. the zucchini is very important when sending a man to the grocery store to fetch either one. Too funny!


  9. #
    Laura — December 31, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

    I love your blog


    • Jessica — December 31st, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

      Thank you! :)


  10. #
    Katie — December 31, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

    I love it. Everytime I use agave nectar, it gets EVERYWHERE. Camera, clothes, counter, computer…I don’t even know how I do it, but once it’s open, I might as well just squirt it all over everything I own because that’s what ends up happening anyway.


  11. #
    megan — December 31, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

    Love the post! I don’t feel so alone now in my failures. If it doesn’t turn out how I want, or if I dont get somewhat of a decent picture, I feel I have to do it all over again. I had a gingerbread cheesecake at Christmas that was a bit under baked so I didn’t post it. It was delicious and I thought about making it again for NYE but decided against the calories. I’ll make it again next Christmas. :)
    Anyway, fun, fun post.

    Happy New Year to you Jessica and to Mr. How Sweet. Here’s to a sweet 2011!


    • Jessica — December 31st, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

      It sounds really delicious!


  12. #
    Erica — December 31, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

    Hahhahaha….we’ve all had our moments. I once made cookies with a tablespoon of baking powder instead of a teaspoon…..that was interesting


    • Jessica — December 31st, 2010 @ 6:17 pm



  13. #
    Maria — December 31, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

    Aww Jess! Bahaha! Thanks for sharing the outtakes! Makes the rest of us baking novices feel better about our loves. And I seriously lol’d at that last bit about the mixer jumping off the counter :P Happy New Year!


  14. #
    Leslie — December 31, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

    So nice to read about someone elses failures. Every year we go to a December cookie exchange party. I am a total dork so I spend the entire year thinking about what I’m going to make then I sample several recipes and send them with my husband to work who takes polls about which one is a “winner”. So this year I had my “cookie” all figured out….it was going to be your crack brownies. I made them and then just before it was time to leave I went to serve them on a plate. The brownie bottom wasn’t baked all the way. Total goo. Yikes! I was so mad. What to do? I ended up taking some plain sugar cookies I had in the freezer. Errrrr…… after all that planning. Oh well, there is always 2011.


    • Jessica — December 31st, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

      You are not a dork! But what a bummer… oh man.


  15. #
    Natalia - a side of simple — December 31, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

    Failures make the successes that much sweeter and tastier. Well, I say that now. But when I’m failing, I use different words…


    • Jessica — December 31st, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

      Hahahah isn’t that the truth!


  16. #
    Kristina @ Life as Kristina — December 31, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

    WOW-just found you blog and I LOVE it!!!! I’m obsessed w/cupcakes so your blog might be my new vice, haha!!!! Happy NYE!


    • Jessica — December 31st, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

      Thank you!


  17. #
    Rachel — December 31, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

    These stories are possibly some of the best. I was actually talking to a bunch of people the other night about disasters and if people ever post them. Thanks for sharing! :)


  18. #
    Joslyn @ missfitbliss — December 31, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

    This is such a great post! Love the pics of the trials and tribulations. Brave of you to show them to us – I delete mine and skip along in a state of denial:)


  19. #
    Mary @ Bites and Bliss — December 31, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

    Well, it’s good to know even the best have to go through some disasters :P


  20. #
    Elizabeth — December 31, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

    Wow, and I thought I had it bad when developing recipes (four tries to get root beer float cupcakes right) but damn girl! Look at those pans! Hilarious….and the best “top 10” post I’ve read so far.

    Here’s to a year filled with not so many disasters and a new found commitment to recipe development, but only successful recipes. Right? :)


  21. #
    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — December 31, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

    oh girl i LOVE this post…thanks for keeping it real!!! you and i both know it takes time, money, energy (and sometimes a stroke of luck to come up w. amazing recipes)…you do it every single day. So i know you have a few fails here and there behind the scenes…and i love that you shared them. And mark my words, other ppl love that you’ve kept it real too…I am sure you will get tons of views on this badboy :)


  22. #
    Low — December 31, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

    Your failures often look better than my successes ;)


  23. #
    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) — December 31, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

    Great post!! I guess kitchen disasters are all part of the learning process!! :)


  24. #
    fooddreamer — December 31, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

    LOL, I love this. Everyone else is doing their top 10 posts from the year so it’s refreshing to see you doing the opposite. Fun!


  25. #
    melissa — December 31, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    i’ve had quite a few flops as well… thanks for keeping it real :)

    always fun to read your recipes that do work out – and bacon is good again :)


  26. #
    Cynthia (It All Changes) — December 31, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

    After seeing all your fabulous food and drooling…I’m happy to see you don’t get it right every time. I’m glad my pans are the only ones that have to get chocolate and caramel scraped out of them…FOREVER!


  27. #
    Gabriela @ Fro-Yo Lover — December 31, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

    Loved this post, girl!
    It makes me feel so much better about my cooking fails ;)
    Wish you an AMAZING NYE!


  28. #
    Jessi @ Quirky Cookery — December 31, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

    I’ve been reading “2010 lists” all morning, but this is by far my favorite. I love that instead of choosing the recipes that got the most hits or your favorite posts even, you went a different route with this one to show us the disasters once again. Love it! <3


  29. #
    nicole @ our three reasons — December 31, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

    hahaha! if i had photos of all the disasters i’ve had in the kitchen this year, my blog post would be 10x’s as long. :) i’m glad to know i’m not the only one!
    hope you have an incredible new year!


  30. #
    Jess — December 31, 2010 @ 10:17 pm

    Even though you have recipe disasters, you’re still a BEAST in the kitchen. :) Happy New Year!!


  31. #
    Nichole — December 31, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

    hahaha I love this post way more than all of the “Top #’s of 2010” out there! This is reality. And this is definitely what happens in a real kitchen. Best wishes to you and yours for the new year!


  32. #
    Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — December 31, 2010 @ 10:50 pm

    Love the ‘bloopers’! But I have to disagree with the cinnamon chips. Put those in ANYTHING and I’m happy :)


  33. #
    Justeen @ Blissful Baking — December 31, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

    I have had so many moments like this! Sometimes I just want to cry, so I’m glad that I’m not the only one! Thanks for sharing :)


  34. #
    Tracy — January 1, 2011 @ 12:39 am

    How I loved reading this post, thinking the whole time: “thank goodness it’s not just me!” I really need to start taking pictures of all my flops so I can post them later and have a good laugh. :-)

    Happy New Year Jessica!!


  35. #
    vanessa — January 1, 2011 @ 12:42 am

    Love this. Fails are fails, but they’re definitely part of the process (and the fun, sometimes). :)


  36. #
    Angela — January 1, 2011 @ 2:18 am

    Thank you for sharing this! I am currently battling with a muffin idea that makes so much sense on paper but has flopped twice now. The third time’s the charm, I’m sure. ;) Life would be pretty boring if things always worked out the first time. Your sense of humor shines through your writing and I love reading what’s going on in the How Sweet kitchen!


  37. #
    Shauna — January 1, 2011 @ 2:55 am

    I don’t see these as failures. To me, fail = screwing up a recipe that’s already been perfected. Yours are just part of the trial and error process :) I admire your persistence and your ability to (eventually) create amazing recipes.


  38. #
    The Healthy Apple — January 1, 2011 @ 4:08 am

    Such an adorable post; you are so talented and fabulous…you’re recipes are always incredible and these are surely not ‘disasters’ as you are a wonderful bloggie! Keep up the great work in 2011. Happy New Year!


  39. #
    Anne — January 1, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

    I much fun was it to read your article with my morning coffee. I am so looking forward to what your create in 2011 and yes I have had some major disasters in the kitchen but your look beautiful! Keep cooking and keep writing. Looking forward to a publish book. :)!


  40. #
    Tracy from Rah Cha Chow — January 1, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    I love this post! Glad I’m not the only one who has cooking disasters!


  41. #
    Nat — January 1, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

    This post is hilarious. We all make mistakes, we all learn. And your beautiful photography made these mistakes look wonderful. I enjoyed looking back on “things that went wrong in the kitchen.” Have a great 2011!


  42. #
    fitfabmama — January 1, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    I absolutely love this!! It is so refreshing to know that no one is immune from kitchen flops. Your blog is awesome. I think I basically have every recipe bookmarked. Hope you had a Happy New Year! Looking forward to all your new hits and misses for 2011!


  43. #
    Jolene ( — January 1, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    This was fun to read – glad to see that even you have mishaps in the kitchen!


  44. #
    Heidi — January 1, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    LOVE this post! Sometimes the internet makes me forget that everything is not always fabulous and picture perfect. Thanks for sharing your mishaps and successes with us! Happy New Year!


  45. #
    Mandiee — January 1, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    This post made me smile, laugh, and cry right along with you. Thank you for being so honest and showing the whole story. Cooking&baking are always an adventure, and even though some things don’t turn out too great, others can be AMAZING! I hope you have a wonderful 2011!

    Have a lovely day!


  46. #
    Becca — January 1, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for this post. I cried… no, actually SOBBED is a more appropriate word upon the realization that my cooking and baking disasters are normal.
    Every time I read a post of yours this past year, or I saw a gorgeous photo of one of your creations, I was convinced that I have no talent, no gift, and no place in the kitchen…ever. Your truthful humor has given me a much needed reality check.
    I think my 2011 motto will be, “Our passion lies in what we do….not necessarily in how well we do it!”
    Happy new year to you!


  47. #
    Kat @ Living Like the Kings — January 1, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

    Love your honesty!


  48. #
    Bianca @ south bay rants n raves — January 2, 2011 @ 3:05 am

    I love this post! Shows we’re all human! I’ve made some recipe disasters too but am too scared to post them. Maybe I need some liquid courage!


  49. #
    WenDee Riffe — January 2, 2011 @ 3:19 am

    I am so glad you wrote this blog post—some of these food blogs are or seem so out of my reach!!! You were also starting to MAKE me feel that way–not on purpose—then you were yourself and did your magic (writing) and made me feel so much better about being myself in the kitchen!!! You really don’t know me or probably many of your other avid readers but you my dear are touching many many lives is such a BIG way!!! Keep up the AWESOME work!!! I love to read your blog…DAILY!!! I have only a few blogs on my home page of MY YAHOO and your one of them!!!

    Thanks for keepin’ it real…honest…deeelish…and truthful!!!!


  50. #
    Miriam — January 2, 2011 @ 3:22 am

    Happy New Year! and even your flops make me hungry! I have to tell you that I have been traveling and internet-less for the past two weeks. One of the things I missed most was reading my favorite foodie/baker/fitness blogs, yours especially because you post so often, with such deliciously appealing maker- and eater-friendly (if that makes sense) recipes, and with such wonderful humor and sincerity. I really enjoy and appreciate your writing and your recipes. So my new year’s day party with myself consisted of reading through all your posts that I have recently missed and deciding what I will be making tomorrow. Very best wishes for 2011!



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