I love baking! It’s so much fun. I get to embrace my inner domestic Goddess, wear my gorgeous KitschNStyle apron and everybody gets a decadent taste in the end. The problem is when the fun turns into a fail. And the level of failure is usually in line with the importance of the event I’m baking for. Like, if I’m baking scones for something like Lori’s school’s cake sale, they may turn out a bit hard (I’m 99.9% sure it wasn’t my batch that took Mrs Berkowitz’ crown off!) But when I’m baking something for when my hyper-critical mother-in-law comes over, it is bound to be an epic fail. Think: a kitchen that resembles a war zone, batter splattered across the ceiling and appliances that behave like they need an exorcism.
Life is Better With Cookies
This occasion was not as serious as brunch with my mother-in-law Mama “B” (it’s not what you think, her name is Barbara), so I thought I’d have a reasonably good chance for baking success. My baking buddy Betty was coming over later and I wanted to have something a bit more interesting than my go-to 3-ingredient oat cookies that take less than 15 minutes to whip and are (mostly) flop-proof. Since we are on this bake-off mission together, I thought I’d impress her with my culinary prowess and do something with a bit of finesse. Like these radical checkerboard cookies. I put my apron on, cranked up the tunes and began prepping for my fabulous morning baking session.
It Was all Kind of Okay Until I Tried to Roll the Dough Out
I’m sure I did everything right. I measured everything, at least I think I did. Prepared the chocolate dough and the vanilla dough to. the. book. I may have added a whole egg or two instead of just the yolk or something like that, but that can’t make a difference, right? I could not for the life of me roll the vanilla dough out. It wasn’t sticking together. It kept crumbling apart, just like any hope for a world without mumble rap or my aspirations of ever having my own YouTube baking vlog.
What Should I do?
The question was more what COULD I do? Hit up Google to find a solution to save the day, or go to Plan B…
Betty always says my Plan B is not a plan but a cop-out. It usually involves putting whatever flopped into a gorgeous glass or a decorative dish and zhushing it up with whipped cream, chopped up strawberries, sprinkles, edible glitter… dinosaur gummies… whatever I can find to make it look so stunning that nobody knows it was a flop (or so I choose to believe!) I once made a pretty parfait with a disastrous vanilla pound cake and some blueberries, meringue, yoghurt, blobs of peanut butter and star cake toppings. Not to mention the banana bread that ended up as a “deconstructed banana boat with banana bliss balls” complete with cocktail umbrellas. Deconstructed desserts are a thing, aren’t they? I decided to fix it.
I Have To Save my Cookies or so Help me Google, I’ll Hang up my Apron for Good
According to the Great Google, my dough was most likely too dry and it needed to have water sprinkled on bit by bit as it is gently handled as little as possible until it’s ‘more coherent’, whatever that means! So add water, but don’t handle it too much? How do you get the mother fudging, son of a biscuit water mixed into the dough then? I added water like they said, spoon by spoon, and gently stirred. And stirred. It didn’t quite seem to work so I kept adding water. Before I knew it, my dough was not doughy at all anymore. And to think, early on my only worry was that I wouldn’t get the checkerboard squares evenly spaced. Thankfully, I know enough about baking by now to know that dough is for cookies and batter is for cake. I decided to turn my cookies into a cake and added water to the chocolate dough until it was also gloopy. Then I had a brilliant idea.
Who Needs Squares When you Can Have Swirls!
Swirls are lovely right? Even the moon has mysterious lunar swirls. That was my reasoning anyway. I poured half and half into two cake pans and ‘swirled’ the vanilla and chocolate dough (batter!?) together wielding my wooden spoon like it’s a magic wand straight out of a Harry Potter movie. By this time there was no way I could do anything gentle anymore, never mind stir. But, instead of the beautiful, swirling optical anomaly I was hoping for, I ended up with cake pans containing what looked like dull brown soup. To add insult to injury, Betty arrived, took one look at my concoction and said, “Your batter looks like poop.”
We had no other choice, we kicked off our shoes and got stuck into mimosas… No matter what, you can’t flop OJ and bubbly.