We’ve had some very interesting food flops and failures! Each time I read an entry I mentally punched the air and thought “hey I’ve done that too”! It was awesome.

Here are some of the flops and failures along with the lovely Julie Van Rosendaal’s comments and tips.

Leslie’s biggest flop could really be called a marketing problem; “My biggest flop was trying to do a chocolate cheese cake with a peanut butter cookie crust but I was running out of time so rather than make the cookies and then crush them I *thought* I could just cook the dough in the pan and then add the cheesecake mix after. NOPE! The cookie dough caramelized on the bottom and cooked up into the cheesecake. It didn’t taste bad but it didn’t look pretty either!”

Julie says: It’s all in the branding! Would it make you feel better to know that trained professional chefs do the same thing? I have had some completely disastrous desserts at black tie affairs cooked for by teams of the best chefs in town. It happens! Your creation sounds delish, by the way – caramelized cookie dough and cheesecake?? Like Julia Child says – never apologize! Pretend it was supposed to be that way and call it Caramelized Cookie Dough Cheesecake! Who cares if it looks good? Taste is more important. Some of the most delicious dishes out there are a total mess, and proud of it! Look where the Sloppy Joe is today!

Good point Julie! …and Julia 😉

Burning mouth
Denise used a new spice with interesting results: “I was sooooo excited to make a new Chicken Pot Pie recipe with pastry crust, baked in individual dishes. I decided to add some smoked black pepper. I have NO idea what I was (or wasn’t) thinking – but I put in waaaay too much. As we sat down to eat – the immediate eye-watering and burning mouth result was horrible! I had no idea it would be so spicy hot – the meal was UN-edible. Everyone choked it down with several glasses of water. Total kitchen FAIL!”

Julie Says: Oh no… If it makes you feel better, we all have them! Anything smoked is VERY strong – even smoked paprika – and you learn the first time!

Marcelina’s flop highlights the unique challenges of cooking for people with special diets, food sensitivities or allergies. “My biggest food flop happened when I tried to bake my own gluten-free bread for my husband who is Celiac. The bread didn’t rise. I baked it anyway. It came out as a solid brick of the most expensive ingredients known to man because the recipe called for a combination of so many types of flours I’d never heard of before. Now I’m too deflated to try again. The expensive flours will go bad. The gluten-free baking book will gather dust. The good news at least is that it made our home smell delicious.”

Julie Says: Gluten free baking is TRICKY, especially with bread. It sounds like the problem may have been with your yeast. Read up on Lauren’s site – celiacteen.com – or Shauna’s – glutenfreegirlandthechef.com – and find a good bakery that specializes in gluten-free bread.

Happy Geek tells us “I can’t make icing. At all. So one time I cheated, bought store bought icing, added food coloring and it lost its integrity and turned to liquid. Yup. I even ruin store bought stuff. Scratch cake? No problem. It just won’t be iced at my house.”

Julie Says: I bet you could. Get a lump of butter, beat it until creamy, then start beating in icing sugar. Add a splash of milk or water (no more than a spoonful or two) and more icing sugar. Just mix it until it looks like frosting. This is one item where recipes can often fail you – so do it yourself!

Ooh I have a little tip about this too but it’s a tip to help cheating! I also have issues with icing not turning out right for me, so I use a microplane grater to add fresh orange or lemon zest to store bought icing and no one is ever the wiser. The citrus zest cuts that plastic taste so it’s a decent facsimile of good icing. 🙂

Merry highlighted two cooking frustrations: “I am awful at timing everything properly. I am always rushing to try to finish the last thing before dinner because I didn’t start it on time (or didn’t realize how long it would take). On a related note, whenever I cook beans in the Crockpot, I always think I have soaked them long enough before cooking but they are often still crunchy when they should be done.

Julie Says: I suck at timing too. When big crowds come over I tend to cook a ham, which really just needs to be heated through, won’t get overcooked and dry, and is fine if it cools down! As for the beans – cook them first until they’re al dente, then throw them in the crockpot with everything else. Sometimes dry beans can be a little firm, especially if you’re used to canned, which are ultra-soft.

Sarah shares her Macaroni & Cheese dysfunction “I cannot for the life of me cook a decent mac and cheese. It always comes out grainy, too thick, too runny. Honestly, I’ve tried a dozen recipes and they’re always a total disaster.”

Julie Says: Are they baked? Stovetop? Do you make the sauce separately? I’ll come over and teach you!

Aw, can you come to all our houses and help? *wink*

I hope you feel inspired to tackle something that’s gone wrong in the past! Here are two of Julie’s Mac & Cheese concoctions to get you started:

Roasted Ham Baked Mac & Cheese and Prima Donna Mac & Cheese with Bacon & Chard