Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baking Fail - when the baking gods forsake you

Sometimes even tried-and-true recipes can fail.  Or at least I've proven they can.  I wanted to make Red Velvet Cookies for a friend last weekend because I know how much she likes cream cheese and these had the cream cheese frosting on top.  Plus 'tis the season for red velvet.  I've made these cookies countless times so you'd think they'd come out consistently well each time.  Apparently.....not so.

Everything was fine at first - mix the batter, melt the chocolate, preheat the oven.  When I make this recipe, I let the melted chocolate cool a bit since I didn't want to add it hot to the batter and possibly melt the butter, thereby changing the texture of the recipe.  But it was cold in my kitchen early Saturday morning and I was (again) multi-tasking on other baking projects so it appears I waited a little too long and the melted chocolate cooled a little too much.  As in, when I added it to the batter, instead of being warm enough and free flowing enough to blend seamlessly with the rest of the (probably also cold) batter, parts of it seized up and became little solid chocolate flecks.  Uh-oh.  I couldn't heat up the batter enough to melt the chocolate and I didn't have time to start over with a new batter.  So I decided to plow forward and hope for the best.  Besides having solid flecks of unsweetened chocolate in the batter, it was also more pink than red because the chocolate hadn't added to the batter in enough liquid form to give it more color.  Darn.
uh, those chocolate bits are not intentional chocolate chips - baking fail
One thing I always watch out for with this cookie recipe is to bake it properly.  I followed the directions of having the oven at 375 degrees and I knew I would have to pounce on it at 7-9 minutes to take it out in time for a fudgy texture.  If it bakes even a minute or two too long, it becomes more of a spongy-cakey texture and that's not what I wanted.  Well, I checked it at 8 minutes and to my surprise, the cookies were already puffed up and looked done rather than underdone.  Shoot.  Took them out, slid in another cookie sheet and this time strove to take them out sooner.  I also lowered the oven temp to 350, thinking my oven might be too hot.  If I had hoped the unsweetened chocolate flecks would melt a little into the cookie dough, I was doomed to disappointment.  They remained fleck-ish.

Second cookie sheet came out at exactly 7 minutes.  Looked a little underdone but I wasn't taking any chances.  Put the third cookie sheet in and raised the oven temp back to 375 as 350 seemed a little too low.  By this time, the first cookie sheet actually looked decent and not underdone as the cookies had cooled and settled into fudginess.  Hmm, I think I may have been psyched out byt the baking gods.  Third cookie sheet baked fast again but I think I got them out at the right time.  Now it was time to frost and taste test  them.  Ironically, the first cookie sheet turned out the best, the second was too raw and the third was okay.  I had already frosted all of them so I couldn't put the second sheet back into the oven to bake a little more.  Almost total fail.

I brazened it out anyway, picked out the best ones and prettied them up for my friends' goodie plates that day.  They tasted okay.  They just weren't up to my usual standard.  I had made a couple of other things as well but didn't have enough to not give the cookies so I included them and made excuses to my friends later.  That's not something I normally would do but I was pressed for time and had to just deal with it.  This is the kind of thing I hate when it happens and I hate even more having to admit it and blog about it but at the end of the day, it's just a cookie, it's one baking fail amongst other successes and I have forgiving friends :).  Dust off the flour and move on to the next cookie.


  1. Bummer! Time permitting, I would have pushed the better through a sieve to remove the bits of chocolate so I could remelt them. I'm sure they'll be perfect again next time.


  2. That's a good idea but unfortunately, in this case, it wouldn't have worked since the batter was too thick and the flecks too small. It wouldn't have been worth it. It didn't impact the overall taste too much but it still wasn't as it should've been. Oh well.

  3. That happen to me too, more often than I like to admit. I tell myself lesson learned and move forward.