2018 Recipe Disasters.
I’m still here, creating disasters in my kitchen every single week! Let’s chat about them.
It’s one of my favorite posts to write every year! My annual RECIPE DISASTERS. Ommmph.
There have been quite a few. Admittedly, not as many as 2017, because I wasn’t working on an extra cookbook.
But these fails are just the tip of the iceberg. You know, the ones I managed to capture when I wasn’t losing my mind. Burnt bacon, anyone?
This is the NINTH year that I’m sharing my recipes disasters. If you’d like to see previous, click down below!
I love sharing some of my recipe fails with you guys because while many delicious, pretty things come out of my kitchen throughout the year, there are also many things that don’t. I am a completely self-taught, mom-taught, grandma-taught cook, and I learn most things by trial and error. Even when I have NO idea how to make something, I tend to start from scratch if I can, in order to create my OWN recipe. And while that can be great, it also results in TONS of fails throughout the year.
Fails have never been as frustrating now that I have kids. I am super selective and scheduled with my time, so when a planned recipe doesn’t work out, I’m ready to toss myself out the window. I’m a ball of FUN to work with.
Let’s start at the beginning! Right off the bat in January, the fails started rolling.
Say hello to the driest beef ever known to man. This furthered my hatred for the instant pot, and I made this mocha crusted beef for a french dip recipe three different times. It was dry and disgusting every.single.time. If it’s any consolation, I think I figured it out and will share later in the new year. Spoiler alert: I don’t use the IP.
Oh yum! Doesn’t that look… AWFUL.
I made mezcal margaritas around Cinco de Mayo last year and tried to rim the glass with black salt from Trader Joe’s. It turned the cocktail a lovely shade of gray. And left black specks all throughout the drink.
I tried to make honey mustard chicken drumsticks and they tasted like you scooped a spoonful of mustard out of the jar and put it in your mouth.
I mean, yes, I love mustard, but these were pretty atrocious.
Remember back on the book tour, I posted a photo of carbonara pizza that we ate in NYC? I tried to recreate it and the result was not good. Too much fluffy crust, undercooked pancetta, a piss poor sauce (if any) and to top it all off, the cheese burnt (like actually burnt) all over the crust.
In early summer, I wanted to create a farmer’s market-like garlic bread. So… I put tomatoes on garlic bread.
Life changing, right?
So sad. And weak.
Come August, I thought it would be an amazing idea to make a fig, blue cheese and bacon pizza!
Oh, except I already made that in 2013. And to test the recipe above, my figs were starting to rot. All I had was microgreens. The sauce was off.
It was wrong wrong wrong.
My pumpkin protein pancakes took about 32 tests before perfecting the recipe. THAT WAS FUN.
In what is perhaps my most favorite fail of 2018, I had this moment when I thought a sheet pan salmon and butternut squash would work (um it doesn’t at all – totally different cook times – obvs!) and then decided to top it with pomegranate and olives.
Like how much do you hate me right now. Gross.
The first couple times I made scalloped potatoes, the cheese was super gritty and… ick.
In testing my salted chocolate stout cake, I forgot the sugar in the cake. Twice.
Oh! And in real-life dinners, version one-Sunday-night-in-September, I made Eddie the ribs from our Butcher Box. I wasn’t thinking when I mixed up my spice rub and I added like 3 TABLESPOONS of salt. What? Why? It was one of those weird moments when I knew what I did was wrong, but I continued on thinking it would be and totally forgot about it until we took a bite. OMG. Then I was like, how did I think this would turn out?
Not good. Really awful experience. Such a weird brain moment.
That’s just a tiny sliver of how 2018 looked behind the scenes. Tell me about your biggest recipe fail this year! I’d love to know I’m not alone.
28 Comments on “2018 Recipe Disasters.”
My biggest recipe fail occurred on Christmas Eve – AHHHHH. I stupidly forgot to spray the pan before adding the brownie batter, so of course I had to toss the whole batch…. ALL the brownies stuck to the pan (especially since they were Maple Brownies). Thank goodness I had another dessert baked to serve to my guests, and it was fabulous.
My sister-in-law tells me that whenever a dessert fails, just make a trifle with it. No one will ever know. hahaha
Ahh that’s an amazing tip! Thank you! Trifle to the rescue, haha.
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I keep a 1/2 cup measure in my pastry flour and a 1 cup measure in my bread flour. I have done this for over 40 years. But in making my classic honey cookies for Christmas I added six 1/2 cups of flour instead of six cups of flour. After the first two batches turned into one cookie per sheet, I tossed the rest. We’ll try again tomorrow. And they didn’t taste like much either. :(
It’s so nice to know that you, my cooking hero gave recipe fails too! I always fail the biggest home cook failure when I ruin a recipe. I think my best “worst” fail this year was the homemade pasta from the Pretty Dish. Trust me, mine was not pretty or good. It looked like giant worms and tasted like mush.
Most importantly I support you in your hatred of instapots.
This is my favourite post of yours. I usually read it at work and it makes going to work during the holidays worthwhile.
I think my fails are not as spectacular as yours. What I consider a fail is when you try a super hyped recipe and it turns out “meh”. I also bad these blueberry donuts for my daughter and the recipe left out many key instructions which made for a lot of stress. I’m always grateful to know that you tested the recipe before I attempt it!!
I like to make meringues for Christmas. Hard to screw up with like 4 ingredients. Alas, I was able to almost fail totally. First I dropped an egg yolk into the whites and had to start over (scrambled eggs anyone?) Then I tried to rush and didn’t beat the whites long enough before adding the sugar and also thought it would be nice to add mini chocolate chips. Turned out like frosting with chips. Whatever, I’ll just pipe them with a big tip. Big mistake, ended up scooping the batter out of the piping bag to make meringue blobs. They baked up fine and tasty. Then the capper: I accidently, and unknowingly, dumped the soaking bowl with the pastry tip into the sink and destroyed the tip with the disposal. Merry Christmas!
I have been working on perfecting my homemade sourdough bread for 2 years now, Same starter since the first batch, and I kept getting this super wet sticky dough (bi-weekly I have been doing this), and have to knead multiple scoops of extra flour in order to keep it from spilling all over the counter… I went to make a loaf for Christmas Eve this week, pulled out my recipe book, only to realize I was only putting 3 cups of flour instead of the 4 that the recipe calls for…for TWO YEARS!!!! face, meet palm.
I got a new oven after my previous ancient oven died (I was actually broiling the BBQ salmon from your book when it died, luckily it was *just* cooked so we could still eat it)! I made some s’mores brownies and my new broiler is obviously a lot more intense then my old one and the marshmallow topping caught fire in honestly one second. I turned off the mains switch and quietly told my husband that I had already set off a fire in our new oven… We ended up peeling the blackened husk of the marshmallow off & eating the brownies anyway! They were hideous but delicious underneath… hahaha
My favorite post of the year. That salmon is just amazingly terrible looking. It almost has a “made out of Play-Doh” vibe/coloring to it.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your crew. Hoping for more hits than misses for us all in 2019!
It would have to be when I was trying to make panna cotta and I dropped my last envelope of gelatin into the wet mix and most of the powder stuck to the inside of the envelope (needless to say, the dessert didn’t gel…). Oh, and when I decided to line the brownie pan with foil – to make the brownies easier to cut – and greased the pan (but not the foil). I couldn’t understand why the brownies stuck to the foil (oh – I was at someone’s party at that point). ps I look forward to this post every year!
I’m so glad you were determined to perfect the pancakes! They are our favorite and we have them almost every weekend now!
OMG, the salmon with olives and pomegranates. I’m kinda glad that one didn’t make it to the regular archives. :-D
My latest fail was a cannoli layer cake I tried to make for my sister-in-law’s birthday. The recipe called for two 6-inch cake pans, and I somehow forgot all my math skills because I thought that using two 8-inch pans would work just as well. WRONG. After mixing up the scant batter, I realized I couldn’t possibly use two 8-inch pans to make anything other than pancakes, so I quickly switched to one 8-inch square pan…but I forgot to grease it up first. All four corners ended up sticking, as did most of the bottom of the cake. It was positively bedraggled when I pried the majority of it out of the pan. Into the trash it went, and I made a whole new cake. The cannoli filling turned out all right from the get-go, thank goodness, but the cannoli frosting was a different story. It was HORRIBLE. I had to chuck it. It was about 10:30pm as I decided I needed a new glaze/frosting, so I “quickly” made some chocolate ganache. However, I used choc chips instead of finely chopped chocolate, and I couldn’t get the mixture to become perfectly smooth, so I kept microwaving it in 30-second increments to try to melt the little pieces without burning the ganache. Then I had to speed up the cooling process so I could get the cake ganached before midnight. The end result came out tolerable, but, dear lord, it was a 6-hour process to get there with many fails between start and finish. NEVER AGAIN.
It wasn’t so much a recipe fail but a brain fail. Washed 4 heads of lettuce, cooked 1 pound of bacon and diced it, cooked 8 eggs and diced them, grated 2 pounds of cheddar cheese, and made homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. Then forgot to take any of it out of refrigerator for the wedge salads that we were suppose to have on Christmas Day. When I remembered it, everybody said “oh no, we are way too full”! Anybody want a wedge salad?
The worst part of my failed cooking is ME. I won’t give in. 4th of July ganache torte, for example: didn’t have powdered sugar, tried to make it out of granulated; didn’t have whipping cream, tried to whip the heck out of half and half; didn’t have unsalted butter, pretended it was unsalted. I then put the thing in the freezer because I was like, “This is so runny, I’ll freeze it!” I walked it over to our neighbor’s house next door (my husband wouldn’t walk with me) in a 8×11 baking dish and didn’t realize we weren’t going to have dessert until later…later being when the pie turned back to soup. People graciously stuck a couple spoons in it and you know, said, “The graham cracker crust is excellent.” JUST GO TO THE STORE ALREADY.
Love your blog and your style. Thanks for sharing your life with us! Happiest New Years to you!
Hahaha. The best post of every year! That salmon! Thank you for sharing this each year, and letting me laugh with you. Makes me feel better about so enof my fails (which included ending up with bagel bites for Christmas dinner!!).
oof yes i had this pomegranate mezcal margarita with hawaiian black lava salt rimmed around the edge with a floof of egg white on top and it was so vile. i thought all margaritas were good (or at least okay) until that one.
I LOVE this post!
I always get super bummed out whenever I bake and it turns into a disaster. It’s so frustrating…ugh. So I’ve gotta say: this post makes me feel SO MUCH better.
Thanks for the encourgament! and the awesome recipes….and the cute pics of your kids (they’re adorable!!)
Happy Holidays :)
I look forward to this post every year….because it shows that if at first you don’t succeed try and try again!
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I look forward to this post every year as others have said! I have read every single one and love them all because you are so real about things…and funny when you write it all out. The salmon, those big pieces of salmon all ruined, ahh my heart sank when I saw that pic. And forgetting the sugar in layer cakes, twice, ugh. And yes when something fails I always feel like I want to throw in the towel forever because like you, my time is super scheduled and planned out and then I’m like now what am I going to do/make. Happy New Year! :)
Always a highlight post of yours each year! For the few epic fails you do make, you turn out LOTS and LOTS of great stuff!!
this article is very helpful. thank you
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