Okay people. I have hereby dubbed 2012 THEE year of recipe disasters. I mean, it was bad.

2010 was… whatever.

2011 was sort of rough.

This year. Ouch.

More failed recipes came out of my kitchen in the last 12 months than ever before. I don’t know if I attribute that to my increasing comfort level in the kitchen (read: oh, I don’t have to measure anything ever. EVER.) or my ambitiousness and desire to try new things. But I’m going to go ahead and say both. Yeah, and some of them came from utter laziness, desperation and just plain hunger.

Seriously? Some weeks I was busting out four or five fails in a row. Do you want to hear about them? Probably not. But guess whaaaaaat? I’m telling you anyway.


Last January, I tried to make a chocolate peanut butter sheet cake. Um, it was disgusting. Like barely any flavor. I also think I burnt the peanut butter while melting, then decided to use it anyway. Have you ever tried burnt peanut butter? Please don’t. Anyway, this obviously did not stop me from going at this cake with a fork a few times. I live a sad life.


Moving on.

I tried to make some sort of chicken in a green-chili-this-looks-absolutely-horrific sauce. I have no idea what I was doing. It was terrible. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

Wait. Maybe I would.


In the Spring I went on a serious blue corn chip kick. If you are asking yourself how this is different from my everyday life… you are correct. It’s not. Except at this point I was so obsessed that I was putting blue corn everything in my food. EVERYTHING.

Example #1… blue corn cakes. Not so good. Pretty hideous. Also an unpictured fail, blueberry butter. I was lazy and used frozen blueberries which ended up making the butter transform into dark purple separated water. Awesome.


Example #2… blue corn chip crusted chicken fingers. Not as good as you would think. Was hopeful it would be as fabulous as salt and vinegar crusted fish. It was not. See also: totally unappealing pictures of bluish-purple-brownish chicken.


Apparently, fails came in twos this year. Or else I was just super forgetful. Probably that second one.

I tried to make some lavender cinnamon rolls covered in chocolate ganache, and oh gosh… barf. So awful. It wasn’t so much the chocolate + lavender combo that turned me off (that’s sort of fab) as it was the horrendous whole wheat cinnamon rolls that I attempted. Certain things should not be made with whole wheat flour. Cinnamon rolls are one of them.


But, didn’t learn my lesson and tried making whole wheat apple cider cinnamon rolls later this year. The best part is that these pictures? They are the THIRD failed batch.

Um, what’s the definition of insanity? My picture will probably be directly underneath.


Let’s see. How not to cook shrimp:

Do not: try to make a lightened up version of sweet and sour shrimp and end up with rubbery pieces that taste only of soy sauce and vinegar. Like a lot of it. Like this shrimp took a six hour bath in vinegar. Hate.


This mango coconut chicken was good in theory but extremely bland in taste…

… and covered in electric yellow mango sauce. Gross. Acidic. It might sound good, but just… no.


OH wait!! Let me show you what my life looks like every week.

Yeah. That.


But sometimes, they do turn out… sort of. Or not.

In September, I made chocolate cupcakes and some of the worst pumpkin buttercream I’ve ever laid eyes on. Coming in at a close second are my decorating skills which were quite pathetic. I still don’t have any patience.


Remember when I made those glazed donut holes that I OMGlovedsomuch?

This is what I did to the first batch. Like little lumps of coal. How tasty.


And only two nights ago, I tried to recreate my grandmother’s orange cookies at, like, midnight and, well… that didn’t turn out.

At all. Cookies. Those are supposed to be COOKIES.



This is probably about an eighth of the disasters that came out of my kitchen, but I guess we can say that these are some of my favorites. At least some of my favorites that I took the time to photograph instead of throwing an all-out tantrum and pitching a fit. Even if I’m full-blown meltdown Jessica at the time, looking back I sort of appreciate these failures because I assume I must learn SOMETHING at the time. Right? And you know, that sounds sort of mature. Or old. Maybe I’m growing up or something? I don’t know. I hope not.

Here’s to much more patience in 2013.

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145 Responses to “Recipe Disasters of 2012.”

  1. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — December 26, 2012 @ 8:23 am

    Love your disasters! I made peanut butter yesterday and my food processor got to hot, and burned it. So I tried to melt it on the stove top, even worse! My Husband said it smelled like pretzels in the kitchen. I don’t think I would like Blue Chips in pancakes! Eck!!

    But i have to tell you, no matter what disasters you make, you always make the photos of them look gorgeous!!!


  2. #
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — December 26, 2012 @ 8:32 am

    I’m cracking up. I guess I can’t say I’ve had as many fails this year, but I’m also not a risk taker like you. I have to applaud you for your creativity. Everything sounds so delicious, but I guess it’s how it tastes that matters. Oh well!


  3. #
    Corinne — December 26, 2012 @ 8:41 am

    I love this so much! I was worried that I was the only one with utter failures…Thanks so much for the giggles (and the affirmation that I’m not alone!)


  4. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — December 26, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    I love these posts JEssica – I look forward to them each year. Not to laugh or judge but to remind myself that we aren’t all perfect!! And when I cry over cardboard muffins or marshmallow cookies EXPLODING in the oven, I can remember that it is OK to make mistakes and to learn from them! I hope you had a wonderful wonderful Christmas. :) Here’s to another year of triumphs!


  5. #
    Amy W — December 26, 2012 @ 9:02 am

    Recipe disasters are always some of my favorite posts! You should spend a few days with me and then you’ll probably feel better about yourself! :)


  6. #
    Renee — December 26, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    THANK YOU!! You made me feel so much better about my “good heart, bad baking skills” disaster this past weekend. I was making sugar cookies, and at first they spread in the oven (so instead of cute little stocking shaped cookies they were UGG boot shaped cookies) . Then the frosting I used that EVERYONE and their grandma swears by was WAY too runny and left the cookies soft and gooey. I was hoping these would turn out cute and amazing so my boyfriend could bring them to his holiday party at work. They were such a disaster I brought them to my work for my Tech Support guys to gorge on (they eat ANYTHING). Thankfully I had made 7 dozen oreo truffles for the bf to take to work so he still had something to bring. But I felt like such a failure in the kitchen after that. :) You just made me realize everyone has bad days in the kitch. :)


  7. #
    Brie @ Entrée the Giant — December 26, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    I’ve come to think of you as some sort of kitchen goddess, but it’s good to know you’re human, Jessica :)


  8. #
    joan trueblood — December 26, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    No guts, no glory. I always learn more from my mistakes than my successes, and there have been plenty of mistakes in my life. I failed at “No Fail” fudge. But eventually, through my own stubbornness, I found a recipe for fudge that I have made successfully 3 out of 5 times!


  9. #
    April — December 26, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    Oh, this was just what I needed today. Thank you. Re: the chocolate donut holes, mine looked like that the first time I made them and I ate them anyway. So don’t feel so bad.


  10. #
    Becky @ Olives n Wine — December 26, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    Oh recipe disasters, they happen to the best of us! I love that you shared these with us. It definitely makes me feel like less of a failure in my kitchen… although I had SO MANY MORE disasters than you just posted in 2012 ;)


  11. #
    Rodzilla (@RodzillaReviews) — December 26, 2012 @ 9:21 am

    before I read, I was thinking “I bet these disasters are still awesome”…slightly changed my tun haha. Plenty of successes to outweigh them though!

    So when you have a disaster and know you need more content for a post, do you just start making something else right away or do you have enough of a backlog of completed recipes to cover?


    • Jessica — December 26th, 2012 @ 9:27 am

      I usually always work at least 2 weeks ahead of time so it’s rarely an issue. But even though I may have 2 weeks worth of recipes, occasionally I make something and post it the next day because I love it so much!


  12. #
    Alicia Greenrabbit — December 26, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    I always blame it on the electric stove ,”I’m just not used to this !” (after 13 years)
    Ha,ha,ha! I even thrown away the food ,pan and all!


  13. #
    Kelly — December 26, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    Too cute!! You are still waaaaay more adventurous than any person I know!! H


  14. #
    Emily — December 26, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    I tried to make my own duck sauce not once, but twice this year. Both times it came out like garlic flavored baby food- really disgusting. Oh and I tried to make your peanut butter and jelly cookies, also twice, and failed miserably. both times they came out like a sheet cake ( I think it was the peanut butter I used) and I tried fig jam on the first batch- so sweet it hurt my teeth. The cookies really did taste great even though they didn’t look like the picture, like at all. Thanks for sharing, it makes me feel better to know that others fail at baking sometimes too.


    • Jessica — December 26th, 2012 @ 9:49 am

      this totally reminded me that I also tried to make my own homemade buffalo wing sauce. omg. so disgusting.


  15. #
    kim@hungryhealthygirl — December 26, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    With all of the beautifulness that comes out of your kitchen, It’s nice to see that you’re human too! Here’s to 2013!!


  16. #
    J @ semplicemente ... J — December 26, 2012 @ 9:59 am

    Love your recipe disaster pics nice laugh on this rainy morning. Thanks for sharing.


  17. #
    Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — December 26, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    This made my day! I’m glad I’m not the only one. Also I was gonna say, if you still want whole wheat cinnamon rolls, it’s good if you add half all-purpose and half whole wheat. Works like a charm every time .


  18. #
    Mandie @ Oh So Decadent — December 26, 2012 @ 10:36 am

    Even on your worst day, I’m pretty sure your recipes are still a bajillion times better than anything I could whip up in my kitchen. But I love how you post these, makes me feel like if Jessica makes mistakes then it’s socially acceptable if I do as well!


  19. #
    Sharla — December 26, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    Hey – for all your disasters, you still come up with more AMAZING recipes so I think it evens out!! Glad to know I’m not the only one who can not only destroy a recipe, but still eat it! haha

    Happy 2013!!


  20. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — December 26, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    I adored this post of yours the past two years and thank you for bringing it back! First I dont know how you even keep track of a recipe fail from 11+ months ago. When something goes that wrong for me, I never even take pics of it and if I happen to and then decide I cannot stand it and what was I thinking, I delete it all as fast as I can. I am so impressed you can even stand it to save the pics…and thank you!

    Burnt PB is totally inedible, and you’re right certain things should never be made with WW flour; 3 attempts at cinn rolls — bless your heart. Purple chicken and electric colored sauces. Ahh, I can relate to the sauce issue. And the not measuring and getting more comfortable and experimenting more and then having…more fails. Thank you for pressing on! :)


  21. #
    Chloe Moon — December 26, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    Oh I HEAR YOU!!! I recently got a Kitchen Aid mixer and I’m already having to admit defeat with a few recipes… I don’t know how I could mess up sugar cookies but I did, they tasted horrid!! =P

    So happy I found your blog a few weeks ago, it’s encouraging to a beginning baker like myself that there are some bumps along the way! =P

    Happy Holidays!

    Ergo – Blog


  22. #
    Teresa — December 26, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    Love this! Even your photos of recipe disasters are beautiful! Can’t wait to see what your cook up next year.


  23. #
    Drew @ Catfish & Caviar — December 26, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    LOL thank you for posting your recipe fails. This makes me feel a little better about screwing up my gingerbread cookies….


  24. #
    Tina {My Life as a Mrs} — December 26, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    bahahah I LOVE this…. i totally need to keep photos of my kitchen disasters instead of just throwing a hissy fit – at least I’d be able to laugh at this later :)


  25. #
    Kira @ my sesame seed buns — December 26, 2012 @ 11:40 am

    I love that you are adventuress enough to try some of those flavor combos, even if they didn’t sure out so well. I don’t think I’ll ever be at a comfort level of not measuring, especially in baking! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!


  26. #
    shannon — December 26, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    i LOVE my grandmas orange cookies. probably my favorite. i have her recipe cards but mine still don’t always turn out as good as hers.


  27. #
    Alissa — December 26, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    I know it’s sad to say, but I feel better knowing that you have some cooking disasters too. I like to know that I am not alone in the world of disasters, it always helps to have friends. Thank you for an amazing 2012, I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store!


  28. #
    abby — December 26, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

    It’s good to know I’m not alone when it comes to disasters in the kitchen! I soooo agree with you on the whole wheat flour though. It just shouldn’t be allowed in some baked goods!


  29. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — December 26, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

    I love kitchen disasters…waaaaaaaaaay after the fact. In the moment not so much. Poke my eyes out.


  30. #
    amanda @ fake ginger — December 26, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

    I love this! I need to remember to take photos of my fails this year. They’re so much more fun to look back on.


  31. #
    janetha — December 26, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

    Loved this! And love you!


  32. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — December 26, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

    Oh my gosh, I LOVE you for this!! With the amount of awesome kitchen magic you whip up here daily, I can only assume that there are a few massive disasters. But can you re-try the mango coconut chicken and those chocolate muffins with pumpkin buttercream? Because I’m pretty sure those have potential to be amazing!


  33. #
    The Suzzzz — December 26, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    Hahaha, thanks for being brave enough to share your food fails. That made me feel much better about my food fails.


  34. #
    Ross | TheFaceBaby — December 26, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    Bahaha when I think chicken, I definitely think bluish-purple-brownish. Mmmmmm


  35. #
    Erica — December 26, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    Adore that you posted this!! We def all have our moments. Even some of your fails are pretty!!


  36. #
    Jackie @ The Beeroness — December 26, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

    First, I totally heart this post so hard. Second, that green chili chicken thing actually looks really good and I totally want to eat it.


  37. #
    a farmer in the dell — December 26, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    Nothing like laughing out loud with a giant cup of black coffee to start the day. Thanks for a great post!


  38. #
    Hannah — December 26, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

    I appreciate you so much for showing everyone that it takes a while to get a recipe sometimes. I also appreciate that you take the fails, and make them light hearted and funny.


  39. #
    Becky — December 26, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

    Ok..just fell in love with your blog even more. Thank you for sharing your disasters – makes me feel ok about mine as well. The pics are amazing though and still make the food look so tasty.


  40. #
    Allison @ Foodie Heart — December 26, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    This is really great. It’s nice to know that someone who posts daily and kicks ass at food blogging still messes up and has full blown tantrums in the kitchen like the rest of us!!! Patience is a tricky thing in the kitchen especially… just a couple days ago I attempted a Gingerbread Cinnamon roll and instead of adding the flour a “spoonful at a time” I went ahead and added it a cup at a time. My mixer sounded like it was dying a slow painful death of dried out, disgustingly tough cinnamon roll dough. UGH. To you, Jessica… may you have even more patience, and adventurous success in the kitchen in 2013. ;)


  41. #
    Talaia Amoura Whisenant — December 26, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    Very funny post lol. The green chili chicken doesn’t look so bad! I would probably eat that lol. Happy ’13!


  42. #
    Donna B. — December 26, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

    Honestly – these kind of posts are my favorite! It’s great to see the failures… and it’s a shame too, some of these look awesome!

    mmm… the coconut chicken. Mmm…

    But I have an idea to share with you! I had a “trial” pasta-shrimp-scampi yesterday @ a party made by an 18-year old rising-gourmet! and … it was DELICIOUS.
    Imagine a bruchetta-type topping with warm pasta, then tossed with broccoli cavatelli, and then with shrimp cooked in butter.
    SO GOOD…

    So yeah… JUST AN IDEA JESSICA… just an idea…
    [make it make it make it make it make it!!! :D]


  43. #
    Ana — December 26, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    Hey!! it’s all about living and learning :)


  44. #
    Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats — December 26, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one with kitchen disasters! Maybe I should post all my fails on my blog as well!


  45. #
    Lisa Frank — December 26, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    It warms our hearts to see that your kitchen churns out fails just like the rest of us. :)

    Oh, and I’m REALLY hoping this post is followed by a “Jessica’s Favorites of 2012” post…or many posts, broken down by category, so that you can be deliciously indecisive. :)


  46. #
    Amanda — December 26, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    This makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER. I usually don’t even take photos of my disasters (unless they look nice, in which case I take the photo THEN taste). I throw tantrums and leave the kitchen a floury mess (because it’s almost always the baking that gets me) and I just look like a three-year-old and my boyfriend has to talk me down from just throwing batter at the walls. So awful. But, not even kidding, i get this idea in my head that all my fave food bloggers make no mistakes, so this post is just beautiful.


  47. #
    Mary — December 26, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you!! I always assume everyone else is doing things right and creating wonderful things, while i burn cookies sometimes. I feel better in my failures knowing amazing bakers/chefs like you also mess up heheh.


  48. #
    Jordan — December 26, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

    I love this!


  49. #
    Maggie — December 26, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

    This was hysterical!! I love your baking fails, and we have all been there :) My favorite was putting a batch of mini muffins into the oven and somehow, not even sure how I did this, but I dropped the muffin pan and it fell upside down on my open oven door…so there I stood holding the pot holder in one hand and trying to wipe off the muffin batter from my 350 degree oven door with the other…didn’t work.


  50. #
    Jana — December 26, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    Oh my goodness! I’m so glad that you have messed up on something! I have always thought you were perfect and I was kind of scared to try a lot of what your recipes since I’m kinda clumsy! I LOVE that you aren’t perfect at everything. It makes me think maybe I have hope! But trust me, this is not that bad. You make my day everyday, but especially today :)

    Merry Christmas!!!


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