Behind The Butter

Baking Blunders

Sometimes, adventures in the kitchen don’t go as planned.

Bowls get dropped, baking soda get forgotten and things just get all around messy. Sorta like if you scorch your pudding and then have to soak the pot for two hours.

I hate that.

oh! also the entire act of making mashed potatoes kind of makes me want to disappear into a cave with nothing but a bottle of wine, a box of graham crackers and a jar of nutella…but that’s normal, right?

It really doesn’t matter how great of a chef you are, sometimes things just go south and all you can do is sit back, drink a glass of wine and laugh it off while eating a stale pb&j.

Wine is great in situations like that.

This morning, I’d like to talk about our greatest culinary blunders. Whether you mistook sugar for salt, forgot the yeast or lit the cat’s tail on fire, I want to hear about it.

I have a few good ones, but the one that sticks out the most in my mind is the time I forgot the baking powder in my biscuits.

It was 2008 and I was in my very last class in culinary school. I had made biscuits hundreds of times before without any problem but that night, when it actually mattered, I went a little too fast.

Unknowingly, I waited eagerly by the oven for my beautiful biscuits to puff up, but after ten minutes they just shriveled up like stones.

I started to sweat. The truth was obvious.

At the end of the evening, I had to present my final product to Chef who just looked at me, laughed and then gave me an F.


There was this other time…involving an unbaked loaf of challah bread rising in our family dog’s stomach…

But that’s another story for another time.

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  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    October 6, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Jenna, your blog always brings a smile to my face ๐Ÿ™‚ I have so many baking blunders I don’t know where to start. When I was in high school we had a bake sale for our youth group and I baked 2 batches of cookies with a friend. it wasn’t until we pulled them out of the oven that we realized we completely forgot to add the flour. Yeah…we didn’t sell those.

  • skinnyrunner
    October 6, 2010 at 6:49 am

    hey, you still passed! i like hearing about your culinary school experiences.
    one time while fishing on a boat in alaska, i was making dinner and the lid of a COSTCO-SIZED container of pepper fell off and into the food… and the whole jar of pepper. sweet.

  • Ella
    October 6, 2010 at 6:50 am

    oh my gosh – i did the same exact thing a couple of weeks ago!
    i’m new to this whole cooking thing (i’m a few months shy of 21 – my dorm room has a full kitchen for the first time ever this year) and for a sorority function i decided to make this vegan banana bread concoction.
    well, i’m on the phone with my grandmother while its in the oven and i’m telling her whats in it and she goes “does it have any baking powder?”…
    the bread never rose, it stayed condense and weird. the entire “loaf” was gone in about 15 minutes however, everyone thought it was cookie dough.

    oh well. you win some, lose some. now i’ll never forget to add the baking powder/soda/whatever again!

  • Meredith @ An Epic Change
    October 6, 2010 at 6:52 am

    I was making shoo-fly pie with my mom once and reading her the recipe. I got numbers, tablespoons, and teaspoons confused and ended up telling her to put 3 T of baking soda into the pie, instead of 1/2 tsp or something. Needless to say it was completely inedible and salty and nasty.

  • Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama
    October 6, 2010 at 6:57 am

    My husband recently said to me, “You’re a much better cook than you are a baker”. That just about sums it up. Lots of baking blunders over here.

  • Stacey
    October 6, 2010 at 6:58 am

    One time I was in the kitchen trying to attempt cinnamon raisin bread from scratch-nevermind the fact that I’d never made ANY type of bread before- I didn’t use floured hands and the dough was sticking EVERYWHERE. To the pan, to my hands, to the bowl…it was ridiculous. I had to throw every single drop of it away. It looked like a dough bomb had gone off in my kitchen!

  • Angharad
    October 6, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I consider myself a complete newbie to baking and so there are many, many blunders to recount! Number one in my memory right now is the banana bread I made (simplest thing on the planet) but just didn’t let bake for long enough. I followed the instruction time over my instinct. And over the fact that a sharp knife when inserted, definitely did not come out clean.

    Word to the wise: don’t try re-baking banana bread once it’s been out of the oven for a while. FAIL.

  • marie
    October 6, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Garr. Last week I was grinding some sea salt into a bowl for some pesto and the cap popped off, dumping a ton of pure rock salt all over my freshly chopped garlic, basil, pine nuts and parm. I tried to pick out the salt, but the whole batch was pretty much wasted.

  • Sana
    October 6, 2010 at 7:02 am

    I have SOOOOOOO many I could go on and on and onnnn!
    Let’s see. Making mac & cheese from the box and forgetting to DRAIN the water before adding the (fake cheese mix) It’s prolly my own fault for eating mac and cheese from the box.

    Yeahhhh. My life.

    • Mary
      October 6, 2010 at 9:51 am

      I did that once when I was little. I remember almost crying to my mom telling how much I had messed up – she laughed and told me to pretend it was Luby’s mac and cheese since it’s so soupy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Caitlin @ Amuse-bouche
    October 6, 2010 at 7:02 am

    You want to hear about my kitchen disasters? Where do I begin?

    There was the time I bragged to a room full of people about how I make the best chocolate chip cookies. Then I spaced out and never added the flour, creating one extremely large, melted, thin cookie.

    Or the time I was making a lovely pasta dish for my one year anniversary. The lid to the pot had a built in strainer so as I was draining the water, my complete lack of upper body strength caused me to lose my grip. The lid flew off and I dumped all of the pasta into the sink.

    I also dropped a cup of quinoa on the floor one time. However, I promise that good things happen in my kitchen, too. Really!

  • Jen
    October 6, 2010 at 7:05 am

    So, one time I was baking whole wheat banana bread and I had to add about a cup of sugar, and my mom gave me a unlabeled container and said “here’s the sugar”, so I continued making my bread, adding the sugar….and then as I was plopping the batter into the bread pan, I tasted the it and it tasted nasty…like I was eating salt. It was salt my mom gave me to use, instead of sugar. She had mistaken the salt for sugar and I put about a cup of salt in it! A whole loaf of banana bread, ruined!!! I was pretty sad about that…I was looking forward to tasty banana bread…and couldn’t make anymore since I had no more bananas….

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    October 6, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Oh my gosh… my biggest one was red velvet cake. I halved the recipe and somewhere went wrong with the vinegar and baking soda… total fail!

  • Kristen
    October 6, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I put a tablespoon of oregano into a herbed corn muffin recipe that called for one TEAspoon. Have you ever tasted something with that much of an excess of oregano? In a word: disgusting.

  • LindseyAnn
    October 6, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Yesterday, I was making those perfect chocolate chip cookies you posted back in August. I noticed the dough looked way too wet, but I just took it in stride and put the first batch in the oven. I came back over to the computer where the recipe was still up, and I noticed I had completely messed up how much flour was supposed to go in to them (1 3/4 cup, not 3/4 cup!) I dashed back to the oven, tried to scrape the dough off of the sheet and back in to the bowl, and added the right amount of flour (plus a little extra, because now I was dealing with extra liquid from the melted chocolate chips. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    The story has a somewhat happy ending: what I ended up with was a really nice chocolate-chocolate chip cookie… that is, after I burned the first 10 or so I put in the oven .

  • Jen
    October 6, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I once spent an afternoon in the kitchen making a complicated spinach quiche with homemade crust. When it was in the oven and I was cleaning up, I realized the shortening I had used was spoiled. How did I not realize that BEFORE I mixed it in?? Such a waste…but I started again with new shortening and it was delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards)
    October 6, 2010 at 7:11 am

    jenna, you are so funny. i want to bake with you! love hearing your stories. i want to hear about the challah…

  • grocery goddess jen
    October 6, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Argh. If you like to cook, I think you are going to have blunders. I just tried to make rice Krispie treats with puffed brown rice this weekend and the results weren’t great. In 7th grade home ec I made muffins that were hard as rocks and I think I put salt in place of sugar? It was a disaster. I’ve tried to healthify baked goods and they come out tasting like rubber. I tried to make cheesecake cupcakes for a bake sale back in high school and they didn’t set up right and were mush. I could go on and on! Oh, and I’ve caught a pot holder on fire more than once.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    October 6, 2010 at 7:12 am

    i remember when i had about half a loaf of French bread rising in my friend’s dog’s stomach…that was a long, long night…

    • jenna
      October 6, 2010 at 7:14 am

      I thought that only happened to me!!!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    October 6, 2010 at 7:13 am

    My baking blunders always seem to involve burning. Someone didn’t set the timer. Someone set the timer for too long. The timer went off, someone forgot, and now everything’s burnt.

  • Amanda
    October 6, 2010 at 7:13 am

    I added in way too much cream of tartar in cookies one time. I think my family thought I was trying to poison them!

  • liz@ Liz runs dc
    October 6, 2010 at 7:15 am

    This isn’t my story, but it is pretty funny. The first time my mom and dad cooked together the recipe called for a clove of garlic, but since they didn’t know better they used an entire head!

  • Shelly
    October 6, 2010 at 7:20 am

    One time my mom asked me to help make dinner. I was making rice and asked how much rice we needed. She said “3 cups.” She meant “3 cups of cooked rice.” I cooked 3 cups of raw rice. Oops!! The whole family ate rice the rest of the week!

  • allison @ thesundayflog
    October 6, 2010 at 7:27 am

    once in home ec during high school we set out to make soft pretzels. my dough was perfect and rising in the other room when my partner and i saw a stick of butter on the counter that we forgot to add. she tried to jam the entire stick into the dough – obviously to no avail – and we just had to start over. it made for a few good laughs, though

  • Samma
    October 6, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Oh law! There have been so many! Once in college, I had made a huge batch of chili and corn sticks for a bunch of (mostly male) friends. The chili was divine, but I omitted the salt in the cornbread. And had too many beers and burnt them. I ended up just throwing away the cast iron corn stick pan!

    More recently I was making shrimp etoufee for 20 people. I had been stirring my damn roux in my huge dutch oven for going on 45 minutes, and it just would not cook! Frustrated, I turned up the heat a minuscule amount, and stopped stirring to ask my husband if he picked up the booze and ice. Immediately, I smelled it- burnt roux!

    I started hollering so loud that my husband came running in, thinking I had hurt myself. When he realized I was yelling “I guess we’ll just order a *&#$ pizza”, he wasn’t so concerned. Anyway, it was a false alarm, and the roux was fine. Thank goodness. All that shrimp was pricey!

  • rebecca lustig
    October 6, 2010 at 7:29 am

    id post an embarassing cooking story… except there are just too many that i can’t think of the one I want to post. FACT.

    also, i think im in need of nutella and grahams. with a side of wine. just bc i dont think you can ever go wrong with grahams., i havent had nutella in FOREVER. and wine is just a great sidekick.


  • Natalia - a side of simple
    October 6, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Kitchen blunders make the best stories… way after they happen and quite some time after wine has been consumed ๐Ÿ™‚
    Once I used sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk. Let’s just say that the turkey casserole was luscious….

  • Paige
    October 6, 2010 at 7:37 am

    When I was in high school I decided to make zucchini bread. Turns out I used cucumbers instead of zucchini. It wasn’t as bad as you would think, just a bit odd!

  • Jess
    October 6, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Apparently banana bread is a tough one for a lot of us. I too have had a catastrophe with it. I was baking banana bread muffins for breakfast to keep the movers fueled and feeling good while they carried large furniture and boxes out of my sister’s house. (We pay our moving crew, i.e. friends and family with food)

    So, I’m following the recipe and it says to set aside one cup of flour and mix it in later. Well, I set it aside like it was in timeout for doing something bad. It wasn’t until I had the muffins mixed and in the oven for about 2 minutes that I realized I never added it back into the mix.

    Needless to say, panic and tiny muffin tins don’t go together. As I hastily scooped the banana bread batter back out of the tins into the bowl, things got messy. Really messy.

  • Jenny
    October 6, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I was cooking on the stove and I had a cake on the stove from an earlier baking experience and I guess the flame got too big, burnt my cake. Literally, in flames.

  • Virginia
    October 6, 2010 at 7:45 am

    While working as a college intern in the test kitchen at Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine, I entirely forgot to add sugar to a ricotta tart that I was testing. Needless to say the savory version of the tart was not a success….luckily everyone just laughed it off and we moved on! It’s definitely made me a more careful baker!

  • Cynthia
    October 6, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Not too long ago, I was trying to make a chili-cornbread casserole from a recipe that I saw on Eating Well. The chili came out fine. When it came time to make the cornbread topping, the recipe called for flour and cornmeal (among other things). Little did I realize, I actually used cornmeal MIX to make it. The topping was inedible. I couldn’t even mix it because it was too wet and lumpy. No way was I going to be able to spread that on my chili. It was a disaster.

  • Katie G.
    October 6, 2010 at 7:46 am

    After a lonnnggg day of picking strawberries….When making homemade jam with my grandmother, I poured in double the pectin while cooking it over the stove and it took 3 people to quickly clean, cut, mash and add more strawberries to the mix before the pectin burned. It was a disaster for about 15 minutes…and my grandmother re-assigned me to “cutting” and “stirring” duty and forbid me from measuring anything else! Luckily the jam still turned out great!

    My sister wanted to make a cake for her 5th grade teacher and refused any help. She added in 11.5 cups of water to the cake mix instead of 1 1/2 cups! Needless to say, the cake was a soupy mess and had to be tossed. She was so upset and embarrassed.

  • Mara @ What's For Dinner?
    October 6, 2010 at 7:46 am

    When I was 19 and my sister was 15, we got this brilliant idea to make a 3-tier wedding cake for my parent’s 20th anniversary. Here’s the problem: we had no mixer, and next to no counter space. We baked the cake, rolled out marzipan since we couldn’t find fondant, and upon trying to assemble the damn thing, the chair on which my sister was leaning gave out and the bottom tier (20″ diameter mind you) went FLYING across the kitchen. We still served the cake.

  • Lindsey @ Foodie on the Rocks
    October 6, 2010 at 7:47 am

    i am famous for messing up baking recipes. I cook up a storm, but I do not have whatever the green thumb equivalent is for baking. I tried to make sweet potato biscuits once, and while they tasted good, they more resembles hockey pucks. Just recently I tried to make some chocolate zucchini cupcakes and they were so dry! I shredded the zucchini and then left it for a few hours while I did other things… I think it dried out a bit and didn’t provide the moisture the recipe desparately needed… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Trista
    October 6, 2010 at 7:49 am

    About a month ago, I decided to make some corn chowder. The recipe called for 3 tablespoons of flour to “thicken” the soup, but I somehow read three CUPS flour. Sad part is, I emptied my flour jar trying to get three cups worth, so I had to run to the store for more flour for 3 tablespoons before I could try again!

  • Jessica Hofstede
    October 6, 2010 at 7:54 am

    The other weekend I made muffins for Sunday morning breakfast… actually, they were your Cinnamon Toast Muffin recipe. The first batch turned out gorgeous, but there weren’t enough so I made another one. Pulled them confidently out of the oven twenty minutes later and nearly cried – I’d forgotten the baking powder and they looked like hockey pucks. Would have to happen just when we had company, too! Luckily my sister’s boyfriend has a cast iron stomach and he downed several, claiming that they were awesome. I still have my doubts….

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    October 6, 2010 at 7:56 am

    I once misread a recipe for pumpkin pie and tossed in one full TABLESPOON of salt, instead of the call-for teaspoon. I realized my error almost immediately and tried to scrape out as much salt as possible, but the end product was still a bit too salty.

  • Mara Betsch
    October 6, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I once used baking soda instead of baking bowder in a peach cobbler recipe. It smelled delicious and I dove my fork in only to get a bitter taste. You’d think as a nutrition and recipes editor, I’d be able to read a recipe by now! Glad to know everyone makes those mistakes.

  • bialystoker
    October 6, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Last week I made a lemon chiffon cake for my sister’s birthday. The cake turned out beautiful, but I didn’t let the filling (whipped cream and lemon pie filling folded together) set hard enough before putting it between the layers, so it began to squish out all over the place. Hoping for the best, I shoved it in the back of the fridge. checked on it two hours later to find that the top layer had slid off into the side of the fridge and made a mess. I cleaned up and managed to get the top layer straight again, but it was still lopsided… and got worse when someone shoved a jar of milk into the same side of the cake. ๐Ÿ™‚ It did taste good, but that’s the worst-looking cake I’ve ever had the misfortune to be the maker of.

  • hippierunner
    October 6, 2010 at 8:01 am

    One night in HS I stayed up late-way too late- to make cookies for the track team since we had meet the nexy day. I must’ve been baking in my sleep because everything was going wrong even though I had made cookies dozens of times before. My dad walked in to find me nearly crying with a bowl of goopy, weird-looking brown cookie dough. He tried to salvage them but it was too late!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    October 6, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I made these devil food cake cupcakes once for a party and they refused to cooperate with my oven. The middles all sunk in and I didn’t have enough to time to bake anything else so I quickly melted up some chocolate morsels, poured it into the sunken middles, and plopped in some M and Ms. After chilling in the freezer for a bit to harden the chocolate I headed to the party with my “chocolate cups”. No one was the wiser! lol

  • Camille
    October 6, 2010 at 8:05 am

    I want to hear the Challah story!
    My sister and I generally have a giant baking fail about once a year, so it always gets called “The Great Cake Disaster of 20__”

  • Allison
    October 6, 2010 at 8:06 am

    A few things come to mind, all of which have happened because I am so forgetful and flighty when I’m rushing to cook something. The one that could have turned out the worst happened last Christmas, while making cupcakes. I was making triple chocolate cupcakes that called for a chocolate glaze. I was at the stove setting up my pot full of water so I could melt the chocolate and make the glaze. I reached to my left into my pantry to grab one of my heat-proof bowls and grabbed a glass one instead, not even realizing it. The glass bowl ended up exploding from the heat, although it shattered downward into the chocolate instead of upward into my face. It was a bittersweet moment: I was glad to have my eyesight but sad to lose the yummy melted chocolate!

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In
    October 6, 2010 at 8:07 am

    I remember a time in gradeschool that my friend and I decided to make pancakes after a sleepover. We didn’t know Canola Oil and Olive Oil were different. Needless to say the pancakes tasted a little funny!!

  • Megan @ AVeryMegGirl
    October 6, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I drop stuff all the time in the kitchen! It’s so bad I end up wasting and breaking so much stuff.. Guess I am clumsy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Food & Other Things
    October 6, 2010 at 8:14 am

    I’m famous for forgetting ingriedients or using salt instead of sugar or baking soda instead of baking powder!!

  • Ryan
    October 6, 2010 at 8:22 am

    After cooking dinner for all my roommates, we were standing around talking in the kitchen. My friend and I were discussing how our electric stove top coil wouldn’t lay down flat; so, naturally, I put my palm on the coil and pressed down without thinking.

    It was still hot.

    I had coil marks on my right hand (and I’m a righty, too) for weeks. Oh the shame that mistake has caused me.

    At least I can laugh about it now!

  • ashton keefe
    October 6, 2010 at 8:26 am

    been there done that! went to pastry school at FCI in NYC! Ah, the day before i started school i fudged up a box cake … my mother, the best chef i know, forgot sugar in banana bread last week. happens to the best of us, and yes, wine cures all!

  • Tina
    October 6, 2010 at 8:29 am

    I have times like that all the time. For some reason one of my biggest pit fall is seasoning stir fry. They always come out too salty!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    October 6, 2010 at 8:30 am

    lol i once used 2 cups of flour instead of 2 tablespoons in cheesecake, i kept thinking that it didn’t seem right, and well, it wasn’t!

  • Carolyn (
    October 6, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I had one last night! I wanted pumpkin scones but also wanted to experiment with buckwheat flour. Taste? Fine. Presentation? Biscuits made of dog poop.

  • Jil
    October 6, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Forgetting to actually roll up crescent rolls…yyay triangles – I have no idea where my head was.

  • kiera
    October 6, 2010 at 8:51 am

    a few weeks ago i was making your chocolate buttercream cupcakes and totally read the recipe wrong, putting about 6or 8 times too much salt in the batter! whoops! when the cakes came out i frosted them with dark chocolate frosting and was able to pull it off saying they were salted chocolate cupcakes. lol.

  • Daisy
    October 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

    awkward and adroable. funny story Jenna!!

  • Amber K
    October 6, 2010 at 9:22 am

    I don’t think I have taken enough chances with my cooking! As the most I have done is burn things. My best friend once mistook cinnamon for cumin when she was making a black bean casserole. She sad it didn’t taste TOO terrible! lol

  • Heather
    October 6, 2010 at 9:41 am

    There isn’t one thing that sticks out in my mind, but there have been times when I have made things that I thought would be great and ended up being inedible.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    October 6, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Oh my goodness – that is too funny about the dog. One time my mom put peanut oil in brownies – one would think maybe that would end up well. It did not.

    My dog once snagged a whole pound of uncooked bacon from the counter. His digestive system is apparently made of steel.

  • Lizz @ Leading the Good Life
    October 6, 2010 at 9:47 am

    My first attempt at stir-fry:

    – The oil needs to be HOT.
    – I should flavor the oil so it gets distributed to all the veggies.
    – I will put minced garlic in the really HOT oil!
    . . .
    – I will burn the garlic, stink up the entire floor of the building, and make my roommates mad. Lesson learned.

  • Mellissa
    October 6, 2010 at 9:55 am

    The first dish my husband made for me called for 4 cloves of garlic, he put in 4 heads. I was the best vampire repellent out there ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Marci
    October 6, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Baking blunders are annoying but make good stories! At least real chefs mess up too. I just wrote about one yesterday. I tried to make cookies by creating my own recipe, but they came out awful. Still not sure what I did wrong, will have to keep experimenting!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    October 6, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Probably the worst was 8th grade home economics and we were making pancakes from scratch. The recipe we were given called for baking powder and I put in soda. And it was chunky. So when we bit into them one of my classmates started to foam at the mouth.

    I’ve gotten much better since then ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lisa
    October 6, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Ah yes…I’ve had many blunders and mishaps. Recently I wrote about one in a post called “I’m Not a Failure as a Woman” I take failure pretty personally and it just SUCKED that I couldn’t follow a simple recipe. I managed to save dinner, but still…

  • Meghan
    October 6, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Hey Jenna! So I have been reading your blog for about a year now. It always brings a smile to my face. I love your ambition and courage to drop everything and move to CA. You are an inspiration. When I was about 10 yrs old, I tried to make peanut butter cookies (my dad’s favorite) for father’s day. I apparently thought a tsp of salt meant the big spoon. He was a trooper and said how good they were but then I tried them and it was like eating salt cookies!

    This recipe I just stumbled upon yesterday is not one of those mess ups though. I know your obsession with cookies, specifically chocolate chip cookiesโ€ฆ Yesterday, I stumbled across an AMAZING recipe on which I have modified and recently triedโ€ฆ

    These are perfect for fall and I thought you would love them.

    Chewy Ginger Chocolate Cookies
    makes 4 dozen cookies (haha this made a dozen BIG cookies and a dozen +1 smaller cookies for me)
    adapted from Big Fat Cookies
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt (I left this out b/c I used salted butter)
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    the zest from 1 orange
    3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used what I had which was salted and omitted the salt)
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1/4 cup molasses
    1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi sweet) * I used semi sweet mini chips so it didnโ€™t overpower the cookie

    1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough balls

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or just spray lightly with cooking spray.

    Sift the flour, baking soda, spices and zest into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and an even light color, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it. Fold in the chocolate chips.

    Spread the granulated sugar into a small bowl. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands into a ball, toss the ball in sugar to coat and place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue making cookies, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

    Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm but they are still soft in the center and there are several large cracks on top, about 12-14 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

    The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days

    Hope you enjoy!

    • Katie H
      December 18, 2010 at 11:35 am

      Just wanted to let you know that this is now one of my all-time favorite cookie recipes! Absolutely fantastic! Thanks!

  • Meghan
    October 6, 2010 at 11:34 am

    oh and I found that recipe here:

  • tess
    October 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    There was this one time when I was a young teen that I was tasked with baking a chocolate cake at a friend’s house. The mother got all the ingredients together, her oldest daughter (a few years younger than me) was reading the cookbook to me, and I was measuring and mixing ingredients.

    I wondered why the cake didn’t look very chocolatey when we put it in the oven.
    I wondered why the cake didn’t get very chocolatey while it baked.
    I wondered why the cake wasn’t very chocolatey when it came out of the oven.
    I chalked all that up to my inexperience with baking cakes (I had never baked anything in my life, and my mother usually ran me out of the kitchen whenever she was baking anything because I tended to lick the utensils at inappropriate times).

    Well, as it turns out, the lady’s daughter had mis-read the recipe. She gave me the measurement for the ingredient either right above or right below cocoa powder in the cookbook. Trust me–a teaspoon of cocoa powder does not a chocolate cake make! I was teased mercilessly over my “vanilla chocolate cake” for years afterward.

  • lcgrant03
    October 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Latest baking blunder – thinking wax paper and parchment paper are interchangeable to line baking sheet. Yummy waxy cookies.

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa
    October 6, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Lesson 1: spraying canola oil on a pan over a lit flame is a poor decision. I nearly set my hair on fire.

    Lesson 2: Always use flour when you make cookies. Once I forgot it. Looking at my cookies in the oven and wondering “why are they so runny” I realized that I forgot the flour. Can’t win them all.

  • Natalie
    October 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    The baking blunder I still can not live down in my family– I was in high school and needed to bake a loaf of bread. Well, you had to make sure the temperature of the water was ‘just so’ so the yeast would make the magic happen. So I used a thermometer…a glass, regular ol’ thermometer..that shattered immediately leaving the pot soaked with mercury. Oh, memories!

  • Melinda
    October 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I tried to make your Italian buttercream the other night and couldn’t find the bowl for our stand mixer so I tried to hold a bowl there and it flopped everywhere and made a HUGGGE mess and the end result was splatters everywhere and a non whipped buttercream that i added some confectioners sugur too and called it good. My neice and nephew still ate it so whatevs…

  • stacey-healthylife
    October 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Oh I have mistaken my measurements before. That makes for a very salty or very sweet ending.

  • Amy
    October 6, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I was making one of those no-bake jello pb pies back in high school. It said to turn the mixer to high. Well, I did. Peanut butter pudding went flying out of the bowl coating me, the kitchen walls, the counter, and everywhere else. What did I do? Scraped up what I could and kept going. Yeah… at least it tasted good. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Laura
    October 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Once I forgot the eggs when baking cupcakes. Oops! I checked on them halfway through, and it looked like they’d exploded in the oven! Batter was dripping all over the pan and was starting to drip into the oven. What a mess…. The result was still somewhat tasty, but I did throw away most of it. That will never happen again!

  • Meggie
    October 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    My first week in a new city with new roommates, I had a craving for banana muffins. So, whipped up the batter, poured it into the muffin tins and threw it in the brand new oven. Twenty minutes later, the muffins were foaming in the pan. Another ten minutes went by and the foam was oozing all over the oven and burning on the bottom. Why were my muffins not binding together into moist, yummy treats? I mistook powdered sugar for flour.

    On the upside, my new roommate was gluten-intolerant, so we decided the squishy batter was okay for her to eat!

  • Jen
    October 6, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I CAN NOT make cornbread. I haven’t figure out what the catch is, but it never works for me. I end up with a very hard blob of corn bread like substance completely stuck to whatever I was baking it in. Doesn’t even matter what recipe I use, still ends up the same. Who needs cornbread with their chili anyway?

  • Jackie
    October 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Once I was making a lemon pound cake, and while it was in the oven I mixed up a glaze on the stove. I took the lemon cake out of the oven, and it looked glorious. I placed the glass baking dish on top of the stove and went back into the living room. Then my smoke alarm started going off, and smoke was billowing out of my kitchen. I had left the burner on and set my perfect lemon masterpiece on top of the hot burner. When I rushed over, put on ovenmits, and took it off….the dish exploded all over the place. Luckily I didn’t get hurt, but I never got my deposit back from that apartment. I burned marks into the counter and the floor. Whoops…

  • Aimee
    October 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    One time I was cooking dinner on the stove, no big deal, but I accidentally turned on the wrong burner and walked away. Well, there was a plastic lid sitting on the burner I accidentally turned on, and when I came back, the stove was on fire!

    I couldn’t find our fire extinguisher, so I panicked and called 911 while my roommate ran to our neighbors to get their fire extinguisher. They came over and put the fire out, but the 911 dispatcher insisted on sending someone to “check on us.” Well, I guess they didn’t communicate to them that the fire was out because up came this fire engine, sirens blaring, meanwhile I now have a kitchen completely blanketed in fire extinguisher dust.

    So there I am, in boxer shorts, no bra, hair in a bandana, no makeup, standing in front of these three hot firefighters trying to explain what happened… They failed to see the humor in the situation. ๐Ÿ˜€

    It took like 4 hours to clean the kitchen. Needless to say, I went out for dinner that night. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Maggie @ Flour Child Blog
    October 6, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    There was that time I made South African scones, which are akin to American biscuits. Twice. Once with expired, ineffective baking powder, and again with a fresh canister. *sigh*

    There was also a banana muffin debacle.

    Yes, I am a former professional baker, and yes, it happens to all of us.

  • Bridget@PavementandPlants
    October 6, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I tried to make carrot-cake loaf and didn’t apparently rinse out the bowl I was mixing everything in correctly. It got a ton of dishwashing soap in it and tasted horrible.

  • KaraHadley
    October 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    My worst by far is the time I tried to tweak a vegan brownie recipe. I tried to substitute banana for some of the oil to help keep it moist. I ended up using far less than half the oil I had originally used before the batter looked to be the right consistency. So I spooned it into muffin tins (which is how I normally bake brownies) and put it in the oven. I checked it 10 minutes later and things had started to boil! These was molten chocolate goo everywhere. And they kept boiling after being out of the oven for 10 minutes.
    It was so bad I just had to laugh.

  • Nicole
    October 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    My boyfriend is now a qualified baker but when he was an appretice and had to go to college for part of his learning, and his class would make bakery foods in bulk because they would be sold off to local cafes. One day his partner and him were in charge of producing mass cakes of some sort. Everything seemed fine until they got the cakes out of the oven and they were all rock hard and crusty…… His partner had scooped out 2.2lbs of salt, not sugar. His defence was that they both looked the same next to each other in the big bins lol.

  • Shannon, Tropical Eats
    October 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    oh my gosh major lollage at the rising bread. hope he was ok!!!!!
    I love on Friends when Rachel lost the watch in Monica’s lasagna.. such a classic!

  • eatmovelove
    October 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I totally almost broke my arm and got hernia last night trying to twist the cover of a darn bottle of jam…when it finally “popped”…it friggin popped everywhere!!! What. a. freaking. mess. Jam. Everywhere. At like midnight. Pissed is only one word that comes to mind here…

  • Emily
    October 6, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    This isn’t my blunder, but I was an innocent bystander: In college, we’d often have pancake breakfasts in the dorm kitchen instead of going to the cafeteria for breakfast on the weekends. So we started making our own pancake mix, so we’d just have to add milk, eggs, oil, and go! The mix looks very much like plain whole wheat flour, except it already has the baking powder, salt, etc mixed in. One Saturday, we also had a container of whole wheat flour sitting out in the kitchen. When one of our friends went to make a second batch of pancakes….yup, he mixed up plain ol’ whole wheat flour, eggs, milk, and oil. Surprisingly, the wheat cakes were not terrible, but they sure were dense and wholesome!

  • Jen
    October 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    My worst isn’t really a cooking mistake. My boyfriend got me a really cute glass sugar shaker shaped like a teddy bear. I had sugar in it, then at some point I apparently decided that it would perform better as a salt shaker, and filled it with kosher salt. Then I forgot, and proceeded to put salt in his coffee for about 2 months until we both figured it out. Whoops! It was pretty hilarious; thankfully we were both able to laugh!

  • Kristin
    October 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    This isn’t a baking, but a cooking, blunder — I ended up the ER when I went to check on the chicken and a pocket of steam came spurting out, getting boiling sauce all over my face. I had burn marks for weeks.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    October 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Most of my blunders occurred when I was just starting to bake with whole wheat flour. I’d say about 99% of my recipes came out as hard as rocks and totally inedible. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Rosey Rebecca
    October 6, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I work at a cafe, and one time one of my co-workers added three and a half tablespoons of baking soda to a batch of biscotti she was making instead of teaspoons. They blew up in the oven and were really salty. The end.

  • jenna
    October 6, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I never baked until I moved out for college three years ago. I thought I sucked at baking, but I realized this year I’d just had terrible apartment ovens. My cookies would be both burnt and gooey. Like, how does that even happen? Thankfully, I have a good, condo-worthy oven this year. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Go Vols!

  • elise
    October 6, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    just yesterday i burnt the SHIZZZ out of pumpkin seeds…my hair smelled horrible all day, and the apartment still smell awful. at least i have no more hair now. ugh. i guess thats a different (heart breaking) post for a different time.

  • Tarilyn
    October 6, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    I was once making a cake from a boxed mix, and mixed up the measurements for the oil and water. So I put in like 1 1/2 cups of oil, and 1/4 cup of water or something. I realized my mistake before it went in the oven, because it looked all greasy and gross. I was in high school, baking a welcome home cake for my Mom. I actually called the number on the box for help. LOL They transferred me around a bunch and finally said they’d never heard of anyone doing that before, and it couldn’t be saved. Haha

    I also messed up making cookies with my little sister in her Easy Bake oven. I didn’t add the right amount of water. I think water was the only ingredient I had to add? They didn’t turn out. My family still bugs me and tells everyone that I can’t even Easy Bake. Oh, and I would have been about 15 then.

    Goooood times. LOL

  • Marika
    October 7, 2010 at 4:29 am

    My favorite story didn’t happen to me, but my sister. She was young and fairly new to baking and wanted to make icing for a cake. Instead of putting 1/3 tablespoon of vanilla extract into the frosting, she put 1/3 cup! (My mother always has a giant Costco-sized bottle of vanilla extract around). Needless to say, the icing was runny and had QUITE a high alcohol content :-D.

  • Lizzie
    October 7, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Eighth grade home economics class. 1990. Me, having never used a microwave before (my parents just got one 4 years ago!), decide it would be a real time saver to re-heat a jacket potato in said microwave . . . in aluminium foil. Pressed start, went to other side of the room to collect some other ingredients and next thing I hear these popping noises coming from my table’s area. Dash over to find tiny sparks coming off the foil. Thankfully I managed to remove it before the teacher saw it.
    Another guy in my class added way too much milk to his rock cakes – thus they became smooth cakes. Another guy put a cup of cinnamon in an apple cinnamon cake. Urgh!

    Sadly, my imperfections in baking have reared their ugly heads at various points in my cooking career so far – but if we didn’t have them, how would we learn? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun
    October 7, 2010 at 6:56 am

    I tend to make a lot of baking blunders…once I forgot to add butter to a cookie recipe (I know how to you forget butter)and they came out like rocks!
    PS – I love Nutella! <3

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  • Susan
    October 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    My worst one had to have been in high school, I wanted to make peanut butter bread. I had made bread a few times before but my mom had always been around. This time she wasn’t and I used too hot of water and killed the yeast. Big nasty blob of dough that wouldn’t rise. That was 20 years ago and I still haven’t ever made peanut butter bread. I really should try again- I bet my kids (pb-aholics) would love it.

  • valen
    October 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    I recently tried making chocolate mint meringue cookies with xylitol. Don’t do it because they taste like poison and they never crisp up! I have forgotten to add things a few times, but not a lot. Usually I have failures because I’m still getting the hang of baking gluten free, sugar free, vegan things without recipes.

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  • Mario
    June 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

    a jar of nutella? Wow, the white college class really is radical europhile leftists, even the food they eat. Talk about a strange cult! I suppose peanut butter is only good enough for Republican Nascar fans. LOL!

  • Carol
    April 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I just spent the morning baking banana bread! It was in the oven baking…..about 30 minutes, when it occurred to me that I had not put sugar in!!!! The loafs came out beautiful. Is there a bread pudding that I can use this sugarless banana bread with?
    I hate to throw it out, but I dont like it w/o the sugar!!!