Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Salvaging the baking failures
Okay, we're now in the midst of holiday baking - Thanksgiving is this week, Christmas is hot on its heels afterwards. Your pantry is now stocked up and you've done much advance prep in mixing up cookie doughs and storing brownies and bar cookies in the freezer. But sometimes things can still go wrong when we just don't have time for things to go wrong. When that happens, my next baking tip is to do what you can to salvage your "failures".
This happened to me a couple of days ago when I had mixed up a batch of Alton Brown's Chocolate Chip Cookies and had them portioned out into dough balls, in the freezer, ready to bake at a moment's notice. I was meeting friends for dinner last Sunday night and I popped a batch of cookie dough into the oven to bake. But I was multi-tasking and by the time I remembered I had cookies in the oven, it was almost too late. I yanked them out of the oven and, while they were just short of becoming burnt, they were definitely fully baked, more so than I, the Queen of Underbaking Cookies, would prefer. They weren't bad but they also weren't anything I considered fit enough for goodie bags to give away. 95% of people would probably think there was nothing wrong with them but I'm the 5%.
Yet I didn't want to throw them away as that would be such a waste, not only of ingredients but time I couldn't afford to lose. So I needed to get creative on what to do with overbaked cookies. (Thankfully they weren't burnt or they wouldn't have been salvageable because a burnt taste would've taken over anything I tried to do with them.) I pulverized them in the food processor, mixed the cookie crumbs with a few tablespoons of melted butter and use them as a cookie crust layer for brownies. The brownie recipe is from The Good Cookie and for added decadence, just like in the recipe, I put a peanut butter cup in the middle. I made the cookie crust first, patting it on the bottom of each little round cavity of my mini cheesecake pan, put the peanut butter cup centered on top of the crust and poured the brownie batter over it. I had plenty of brownie batter leftover so I baked it in a smaller pan (an 8" instead of an 9" pan) for a normal brownie per the recipe.
This turned out pretty well and the rounds made a good individual-sized treat to give away. Sometimes baking mishaps will happen but don't let that discourage you. Instead, go into "life --> lemons --> lemonade" problem solving. You never know what you can come up with and who knows, it might turn out just as well or even better, than what you were trying to make in the first place.