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Bake fail: I screwed up a recipe and still ate it

Womp womp: The cupcakes came out puffy, but after they cooled, the top portions sank in.
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My recipe fail was a sweet-tooth’s dream.

The ladies of the Butter and Scotch bar and bakery are set to release a cookbook of their best recipes on Sept. 12. With a preview of the book in hand, and an interview scheduled for the next day with co-founder and co-author Keavy Landreth, I wanted to have one of the recipes under my belt.

I chose one of the non-alcoholic recipes — chocolate cupcakes, which calls for less than 10 ingredients. But preparing the mixing bowl, I found my cupboard was bare of two ingredients: unbleached flour and cocoa powder. But I had bleached flour, which is close enough. And powdered cocoa is basically just pulverized chocolate, right? So I ground down a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar and carried on.

That was my first mistake.

The second mistake came after five minutes of mixing the batter at high speed, when I glanced at the recipe again and noticed a mixing time of one minute. I certainly couldn’t un-mix it, so I sprayed down a baking dish, poured in the batter, and popped it in the oven.

The recipe said to bake for eight to 10 minutes, but that was not enough for my messy batter. After 17 minutes, I realized that it was never going to darken and look like the photo in the book, so I pulled the plug.

My cupcakes soon collapsed, looking more like a flat sheet of off-color brownies. But how did it taste?

SWEET!

Like, really, really, sweet. But it was still pretty good, and my 8-year-old nephew — a devotee of sweet things — thought they were fantastic.

The next day, I shared my fail tale with Landreth, who validated my errors and shared a few of her own. Some of her mistakes have even turned into awesome recipes, she said.

“We’re all about screwing things up — in a really delicious good way,” said Landreth.

My baking experiment could have been worse. And for my nephew, I may even make this version again.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Hattie from Park Slope says:
In a pinch, you can substitue chalk dust for flour, they're both white powders. Use brown dust to replace the cocoa powder. You can bake it for as long or as short as you like, the instructions only describe what makes it nice and correctly done, don't feel bound by that. It's perfectly normal for an adult to be so inept at cooking (or at following instructions for that matter) that they cannot bake a recipie easily mastered by a 7 year old.
I can forward you a better cupcake recipie where you bake actual cups into flour (or chalk dust if you need substitute) cakes, flavored with choclate colored powder. It doesn't taste good, or look nice, so it should be just like what you already made.
Sept. 8, 2016, 9:34 am

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