I mess up recipes. A lot. I get distracted and miss steps, I forget things are on the stove/oven, I forget ingredients, and I read numbers wrong all the time. I also HATE wasting food and time. My parents know I will do anything to save a recipe, and not have to throw food away. So, I have developed some pretty foolproof ways to almost never have to abandon a recipe. I’m sure I’ll think of more over time, so leave a comment if you think I should make a part 2. The photo above shows a dessert that was originally a really greasy batch of shortbread cookies. I crushed the cookies up, added some blended cashews, baking powder, powdered sugar, and flour, and placed them in the oven in a casserole dish topped with some jam. I got a blondie-like dessert that was not bad at all. Not all of these solutions are that elaborate, but it proves you can save some pretty messed up creations with a little creativity.
Too Much Oil/Butter:
This is what happened to a batch of shortbread cookies that lead to the creation above. There is nothing worst than a greasy cookie. It may seem like already baked cookies can’t be saved, but if you crush them up with some store bought cookies/waffle cones/crackers and press them into a pie dish, you can bake them too make a great crust for a pie/tart.
You can use a similar method to when there’s too much oil, but this time add a fat of your choice (I recommend coconut oil or vegan butter). You can also crush them over ice cream, pudding, or yogurt for a quick treat.
Assuming the filling is still good, take it out. If it’s not baked all the way, place it in a baking dish and finish baking it alone. There is no need to waste good filling, it is the best part, anyway. If you’re really crunched for time, serve this with ice cream or cookies (even bits of pie crust if some are salvageable), and everyone will be more than happy. If you have more time to spare, you can crush up some store bought cookies/graham crackers with coconut oil, and press that into a pie dish. Scoop the filling in and your pie is good as new.
Filling too sweet:
If you are lucky enough to catch it before you bake, just double the recipe. Even if you only have one pie crust, people will eat leftover filling by itself if you bake it in a casserole dish, trust me (especially warm with ice cream). If this is not an option, add an acid, like lemon juice and see the misc section for more general tips.
Crumble the cake and fold in whatever frosting you were going to use so that you have a moist “dough”. Make as many golf ball size rounds as you have dough. Melt some chocolate/candy melts and dip each ball to coat (if you have popsicle/cake pop sticks insert one in each). Feel free to top with sprinkles/crushed cookies/crumbled cake. Let cool in the fridge to harden. Now, you have cake pops/munchkins that are great for parties.
Ironically, you can use the same method here as I mentioned for the too dry cake. Depending on how wet we are talking, you can just crumple the cake, skipping the frosting, and just roll up the balls and coat. If you need to add a little icing, go for it. If it’s really too wet, you can add some crumpled store bought cookies to soak up some of the moisture before rolling the balls.
You have some options here. See the not visually pleasing section below for one option. You can also go for the cake pop idea found in the too dry cake section (This is a good option if the cake falls apart after it’s already been frosted). If only a chunk or so falls off, you can still save the cake shape by using frosting to glue it back together. Another option is to take the cake layer and use a cookie cutter to make small cake shapes. You can frost these individual creations if the classic cake shape really isn’t working out.
This usually comes in the form of the edges of the cake are burnt, but the middle is fine. If the middle is underdone, bake until it’s not. Once that is done, simply take the cake out as you normally would. If the edges are really stuck on there, just cut out the part you can. If you can, cut a circle that misses any of the burnt edges, and just make it a smaller cake. If that’s not an option, just crumple up what you can and try one of the tips above.
This depends on the dessert, but the rule of thumb is simple: add something with a lot of flavor. If your cookies lack flavor, scoop some frosting or ice cream in the middle and make a sandwich. If your cake is bland, use a really flavorful filling. Things like jam, caramel, or sweetened condensed coconut milk are good for this, since they really seep into the cake, giving it flavor. Adding a drizzle of icing or peanut butter is also always a good option.
Using the same logic as above, adding something bland with something too sweet can balance it out a little. An overly sweet cake or cookie would not do well paired with frosting. For cakes, using an unsweetened nut butter, tart fresh fruit, or a really dark chocolate can break up the flavor a bit. can help break the sugar up a bit. Cookies you can crumble as a topping for something with a little less flavor,
Not Visually Pleasing:
A lot of the times, my best advice for this is to just go with it. Nowadays “rustic” looking desserts are in, as long as they are decadent and delicious. A good rule of thumb is to crumble a dessert up and serve it with ice cream in cute individual dishes, and trust me, no one will question it while they’re stuffing their faces. Adding a drizzle or whipped cream can also cover minor imperfections.
Some good fails: