Apr 11, 2012

Here’s Why I Don’t Bake

Here's Why

Have to show the failures, too, right?

It’s raining off and on here today, the weather is kinda crazy for this time of year anyway, and J-man had the afternoon off and was bored.

Now, my son loves to bake and I love him, so I just feign enthusiasm and reach for the flour and oatmeal. I sigh a deep sigh while entering the zone of doom, trying very hard not to think of all the things I could have done instead.

I really don’t like to bake. Is it too obvious? And here’s why I don’t like to bake: I suck at it.

Even when using a recipe straight from a book (Ultimate chocolate cookie book this time), meticulously following all the steps, those darn cookies just come out all messed up. Heck, I couldn’t bake a decent cookie if my life depended on it. There. I’ve said it.

Now I’ll show you.

 

We started our recipe with a seriously bored child, which is a key ingredient in my world.
Here's Why

It started out so good. Honey, butter and vanilla, what’s not to love?
Here's Why

Followed by a few other crucial ingredients. I didn’t even tweak the amounts. I tweaked nothing! I stuck to the recipe.
Here's Why

 
Maybe that’s where I went wrong? Never stick to a recipe.
 

It was right here that I gradually started to get that pesky feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
Here's Why

I stubbornly ignored it, kneaded a bit more, shrugged my shoulders and chilled the dough for 30 minutes.
Here's Why

While I unwrapped my beloved dark Hershey’s kisses.
Here's Why

I scooped the dough onto the baking mat and, just as the book told me to, flattened the cookies halfway during the baking process.
Here's Why

Leaving me with terribly dry, crumbly cookies that fall apart when you even as much as glance at them.
Here's Why

 
Sigh. Deep sigh.

The flavor is phenomenal, though, so I’m not giving up… gonna tweak this darn recipe and get a decent cookie out of it, if it’s the last thing I do!
 


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    33 Comments »

    1. 1

      I think they look yummy!  Remember…. It’s what inside that counts!  You and your son had a good time together and they tasted great.  I call that success!!!

      Kathy on Apr 11, 2012 @ 4:31 pm Reply
    2. 2

      I bet they still taste great!

      Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche on Apr 11, 2012 @ 4:47 pm Reply
    3. 3

      I agree with  Kathy…May be you had other idea about the final result and the cookies are just like that….They look really yummy.

      Rosa Nunez on Apr 11, 2012 @ 4:58 pm Reply
      1. No, trust me… if you pick them up, they literally fall apart in your hand :)

        Kay on Apr 11, 2012 @ 5:04 pm Reply
        1. i think this usually happens from the oatmeal. I had the same problem with some other recipes. and i think the key is too leave them very short period of time in the oven. Even if you follow the recipe, the oven’s temperature is never the same as the one that made the recipe :) so for the cookies (and I am still working on them to be perfect) is very important not to overbake. The secret is that they still bake after you take them out from the oven, and you need to consider that…..it’s just my experience, not that I am expert….maybe it helps….

          Amalia on Apr 16, 2012 @ 6:42 pm Reply
    4. 4

      I think they look fine :). I like short cookies.

      PJ on Apr 11, 2012 @ 5:01 pm Reply
    5. 5

      Have you considered that your problem may be too much kneading/mixing?  When I make cookies I try very hard to mix only as much as required to get ingredients together and then STOP!  Over-kneading forms gluten strands which end up making the cookies tough. 
      When I make cookies or other tender baked goods with flour, I add the flour last, on a low speed, and even stop before fully mixed some times to hand-stir until adequately mixed.   When I started doing this, my cookies improved SO much.  Give it a try next time!

      Kivy on Apr 11, 2012 @ 5:09 pm Reply
      1. It was a really dry and crumbly dough to begin with, impossible to shape a cookie with even. I think the ratio in this recipe was somehow off. Gonna see what happens when I reduce the amount of flour next time.

        Kay on Apr 11, 2012 @ 5:13 pm Reply
      2. Wow, this is interesting…never tried this before….thanks!

        Amalia on Apr 16, 2012 @ 6:44 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Nou, stuur maar naar mij hoor! Mens, die zien er alleszins behoorlijk uit. En als ze ook nog lekker smaken, heel belangrijk, nou,dan zijn ze toch gelûhûkt? Ze horen gewoon zo.

      Urgjes2 on Apr 11, 2012 @ 5:58 pm Reply
    7. 7

      I think it was the recipe Kay, it looks all wrong. Where’s the brown sugar?

      Ellie on Apr 11, 2012 @ 6:07 pm Reply
    8. 8

      Hi Kay,
      I find you need slightly less flour when using the Dutch tarwebloem in American recipes. The gluten count is higher and it soaks up the liquids a lot more.
      Try again! 

      Susanne on Apr 11, 2012 @ 6:13 pm Reply
    9. 9

        I feel you! even my cupcakes turn out concave!

      Juls (Pepper and Sherry) on Apr 11, 2012 @ 6:18 pm Reply
    10. 10

      Ha! Thank you for sharing this. I don’t enjoy baking as much as cooking- there’s not a lot of room for creativity! At least they still look pretty :)

      Chelsea on Apr 11, 2012 @ 6:43 pm Reply
    11. 11

      Think of these as self-crumbling ice-cream topping, and I say you’ve got a winner!

      quinn on Apr 11, 2012 @ 6:52 pm Reply
    12. 12

      I have to agree re: Dutch flour. I buy mine in Germany. When baking cookies, the best approach is combining the wet ingredients,  combining the dry, then mixing together just until combined, no more.  Probably you’ve run into a “combination” of those two problems. :)

      Jen on Apr 11, 2012 @ 7:11 pm Reply
    13. 13

      Glad I’m not the only one who fails at baking cookies…I have the same problem with the dough – it’s just impossible to get it right even though I follow the instructions. 

      Iulia on Apr 11, 2012 @ 8:56 pm Reply
    14. 14

      I agree with the others here, Kay.  The cookies look good and if they taste good that’s two out of three.  And I also agree with the suggestion to tweak the flour in the recipe if it’s an American cookbook.  The quality of the flour is different and totally changes the results.  You’re not alone!  I used to make some awesome chocolate cookies that were so good; crispy on the outside and a little chewy on the inside.  Using European flour they totally sucked (and I love to bake!!).  There’s more protein in European flours because of the way it’s milled.  Also, European recipes tend to have less sugar in them than the American ones which changes the consistency too.  Tweak away!

      Nancy in Olympia on Apr 11, 2012 @ 9:37 pm Reply
    15. 15

      When i was at high school and doing Home Economics as a subject i was dismal at anything sweet, like downright terrible. My friends would joke about me growing up to be a pastry chef on account of my famous custard tarts (the pastry would end up on *top* of the custard). I didn’t touch sweet stuff for 16 years and suddenly out of nowhere i am getting the hang of it, so have faith! If it happened to me, it can most certainly happen to anyone. 

      Elle on Apr 12, 2012 @ 12:05 am Reply
    16. 16

      I don’t see an egg, but maybe you didn’t show all the steps. I can make very tasty peanut butter cookies and chocolate chocolate chip with pecans cookies. Both recipes call for an egg. I don’t have a mixer, so I melt the butter, add in the sugar,  the cocoa or peanut butter, vanilla, then the egg. Mix that well with a spatula.  Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Mix with the spatula until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Mix in chips and pecans.

      A.A. Bruisee on Apr 12, 2012 @ 12:24 am Reply
    17. 17

      I would highly suggest getting your hands on books by Alton Brown.  He is a master at teaching the science behind good cooking and baking. Similar to how you have the confidence and expertise to know what you can and can’t substitute and “play with” in your own cooking style, you just need to understand the science and “balance” of things when baking to have better control of things. Since learning so much from his books, I am now able to experiment and use just as much personal taste and eclectic ideas with my baking as I always have with other cooking.

      One question though, did the recipe call for creaming the butter and honey first? I noticed that you didn’t show that step and it can be quite an important detail — perhaps the difference between muffins and scones or soft, chewy cookies versus shortbread.

      Good luck! 

      Cindy on Apr 12, 2012 @ 3:50 am Reply
      1. That was the thing that didn’t make sense either… I was supposed to cream the butter in 2 minutes according to the book, while I usually take 4 to 5 minutes for that with my cakes.

        Kay on Apr 12, 2012 @ 7:31 am Reply
    18. 18

      I believe if you use oats that are coated in flour you may need more liquid to compensate. And if you showed the recipe, I might be able to further help with this problem. I love baking, and being a chef, I try and help whenever I can.

      Tamara on Apr 12, 2012 @ 4:35 am Reply
      1. The only liquid in the recipe came from the butter and honey!

        Kay on Apr 12, 2012 @ 7:33 am Reply
    19. 19

      Ze zien er alsnog hartstikke lekker uit! Die koekjes wil ik ook nog steeds uitproberen..mjum!

      Fragrances on Apr 12, 2012 @ 10:09 am Reply
    20. 20

      Use Crisco instead of butter….will stay moist and not crumble

      Eric on Apr 12, 2012 @ 12:28 pm Reply
    21. 21

      Thats interesting, I just saw a similar recipe on Mels Kitchen Cafe and wanted to make it but need to find those kisses somewhere in Australia, just in case you are interested http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2012/04/peanut-blossom-cookies.html 

      hemlock on Apr 12, 2012 @ 4:49 pm Reply
      1. Looks like her recipes didn’t came out right the first times either! I’m not a loser after all :)

        But this was a very different recipe… I think that is an original Hershey’s recipe, these were just cookies that I pushed a few kisses into after baking them because I didn’t have chocolate chips to works with!

        Kay on Apr 12, 2012 @ 4:56 pm Reply
    22. 22

      Nou ja ze zien er in ieder geval toch wel lekker uit hoor en als ze goed smaken dan ben je al halverwege. Ik bak veel maar koekjes…. daar doe ik ook niet echt aan, krijg die stomme dingen ook nooit goed. Te droog, te nat, te kruimelig, te taai enzovoort… Maar cake en zo bakken, dat is een heel ander verhaal! Ik zou dat doen ipv koekjes.. ;)

      Simone on Apr 12, 2012 @ 5:45 pm Reply
    23. 23

      I’d stick to recipes that have been reviewed (like on Allrecipes). Also, for cookies, you need to cream the heck out of the butter and sugar mix.  If you don’t, you’ll end up with dry cookies.  Stir in the dry mix and away you go.

      Jen on Apr 16, 2012 @ 2:01 am Reply
      1. But how do you cream the butter for so long – you have to stop de mixer all the time, and gather it from the walls of the bowl. is that how you should do it?
         

        Amalia on Apr 16, 2012 @ 6:52 pm Reply
    24. 24

      If these cookies tasted good, you won the best mom contest for that day!  My favorite recipe using oatmeal and flour has a ratio of 1/2.  Your flour is 1/2 the amount of your oatmeal.  Might check that on your ingredient list.  At one time, I was known for making the worst cookies on the block, now people ask for them when they stop by for coffee.  Also remember to check the expiration on your baking powder or baking soda.  Powder puffs cookies, soda spreads cookies.  HAVE FUN, Kathy

      Kathy Henderson on Apr 16, 2012 @ 9:02 pm Reply
    25. 25

      Snickerdoodles are the ones that always fail for me.  They would not even flatten out!  Keep on, keeping on.  Love the blog.

      Michele L on Apr 30, 2012 @ 6:38 am Reply

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