Cookie Recovery – What to Do When You Mess Up the Recipe


It was cold on Sunday and thoughts of baking went through my head.  There’s nothing like a hot stove and warm, chewy goodness to make a snowy day cozy.  First I put a beef stew into the slow cooker for dinner, then I started on a batch of Toll House Cookies.  I followed the recipe diligently, sifting the dry ingredients and creaming the wet items, until it came time to put the cookies on the baking sheet.  The dough didn’t look right; too loose and greasy.  But I soldiered on and put two baking sheets into the oven. 

Everything smelled fine but, when I pulled them out, the “cookies” were just a runny mess of melted butter, chocolate and walnuts.  What had I done wrong?  A quick survey of the counter gave me the answer.  I had forgotten to add the dry mix to the wet.  (Duh!)  To be fair, it was the first time I baked in my new kitchen.

What to do?  First I scraped the melted mess off the cookie sheets.  Then I added approximately the right proportion of the dry ingredients to what was left in the bowl.  I mixed it together and put another batch in the oven.  Bingo!  That worked and they tasted fine.  But I still had a bowlful of melted butter, chocolate and walnuts that was just too good to throw away.  I added the remaining dry ingredients and sifted another half-batch, then mixed them together.  So far, so good, but it was too dry and crumbly.  I threw in an egg and a quarter cup of milk.  Two tablespoons of milk would have been better but, at this point, I was not quibbling.  The dough now looked like chocolate cookies.  I threw a batch in the oven and they came out just fine.  Tasted good, too.

As I waited for the next batch of cookies to bake, I reviewed the lessons.(1) Pay attention and don’t get distracted; (2) If you mess up, don’t give up; (3) When your baking goes off the recipe, get creative; (4) Things don’t have to be perfect to work out just fine.Toll House cookies, anyone?

As I waited for the next batch of cookies to bake, I reviewed the lessons. 
  1. Pay attention and don’t get distracted;
  2. If you mess up the recipe, don’t give up;
  3. When your baking goes off the recipe, get creative;
  4. Things don’t have to be perfect to work out just fine.  Toll House cookies, anyone?
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About Aline Kaplan

In my professional career I created marketing and communications functions for a number of big public companies and for small, VC-funded start-ups in the high-technology industry. Now I do marketing consulting work. I also write and publish science novels and short stories. I’m a docent for Boston by Foot, giving historical and architectural walking tours of Boston.

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