'the Recipe Didn't Work!'

Decorating By SeriousCakes Updated 9 Nov 2008 , 3:19am by Melvira

SeriousCakes Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 1:20am
post #1 of 38

I admit, I used to be one of those people that when reading a recipe, if I came across a step that didn't make much sense, I would skip it. I'm the type of person that needs to know WHY I have do something. For example, this phrase 'Brown the meat in batches' was too time consuming for me, I threw everything in the pan and later couldn't figure out why my beef stew didn't taste GREAT. Since then I started watching Alton Brown (love him!) and America's Test Kitchen, loving every minute of the 'WHY's' being explained.
Which leads me to this: since I've started posting on youtube I have found that a lot of people are like me. 'Well, I didn't have powdered sugar so I used granulated instead, and water instead of cream, why didn't the recipe work?' I've started writing things down as I think of them, the WHY's of buttercream, why one thing works one way, why another thing doesn't. One of these days I'll get it organized and maybe write a book icon_wink.gif

37 replies
tiggy2 Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 1:29am
post #2 of 38

That's exactly the reason Sarah took her red velvet cake recipe off of CC. People were changing it and then complaing about it not being good.

JanH Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 1:44am
post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2

That's exactly the reason Sarah took her red velvet cake recipe off of CC. People were changing it and then complaing about it not being good.




Which is exactly what a lot of people do on recipezaar (and other sites)....

They change ingredients (and/or measurements) in the recipe, and then they COMPLAIN that it wasn't good. icon_eek.gificon_mad.gif

Rocketgirl899 Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 3:46am
post #4 of 38

no wonder I couldn't find Sarahs original recipe! I used the tweaked one, which iwas pretty good, but they left out how much vanilla to add..... and i just guessed.... anyone have the original?

banba Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 11:23am
post #5 of 38

Oh yes this drives me crazy. Why oh why do people bother looking up a recipe and then not following it icon_confused.gif

JanH is so right about recipezaar. Everytime I read reviews there people have changed the recipe so much and then complain it didn't work for them.

It you don't follow a recipe exactly then you are baking a differnt recipe end of story!

You cannot be responsible for other people doing silly things to your good recipes.

Sandy2008 Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 12:25pm
post #6 of 38

I naturally want to change recipies I try, but I know how good they are when left exactly as is. So now, I try to fight my compulsion to change it and it always comes out a hit. If you know you don't have all the required ingredients, don't make it - or risk a substandard product.

SeriousCakes Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 1:51pm
post #7 of 38

icon_lol.gif Since I started following recipes better I've actually gone back and tried ones that originally didn't work out, like that beef stew! Browned the meat in batches and it was delicious!
I never would blame the recipe though when it didn't work out, I knew it was my fault for not doing what it said icon_biggrin.gif
That said, there are some recipes where I've replaced something with very tasty results. I don't like cooking with alcohol (saw a study recently where they discovered alcohol *doesn't* cook completely out of most foods) and usually replace any alcohol or wine with apple juice. One day I didn't even have the apple juice, only one of those fruit/vegetable juices, grape and carrots! icon_eek.gif Eh, gave it a try and WHOA! It was awesome!! Granted, I was the only one who liked it (more for me, yay!) but there was a happy accident icon_biggrin.gif

mixinvixen Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 1:57pm
post #8 of 38

i am a huge fan of americ's test kitchen and cooks illustrated! i have certainly learned so much from this company, and now have the reputation for being an "awesome' cook icon_biggrin.gif, but really all i'm doing is following the recipe!

my husband, on the other hand, is a shortcutter and thrower-inner...if he thinks it doesn't matter or it might taste better "this" way, then he goes for it...the man has never found a spice or sauce he doesn't like...DRIVES ME NUTS!!!

we have come to a compromise...when trying out my cooks illustrated recipes, we try it EXACTLY the way it's supposed to be the first time...then the next time, if he wants, he can alter it. (it's never better, hehehe) that way, we have an originaltaste to compare to.

nickshalfpint Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 2:21pm
post #9 of 38

I usually try the recipe how it's written first, then make changes the next time I make it. But when it comes to baking I always follow the directions to the "T". I learned that the hard way. It bugs me too when people say it was horrible, but they didn't do it like the recipe said. A friend of mine wanted my Milanese and Alfredo recipe. She said I must've left something out when I gave her the recipe because it wasn't very good. For the Milanese she used mozzarella instead of parmigiano-reggiano and for the Alfredo she used 1/2 parm and 1/2 mozzarella (it's what she had and didn't want to got o the store) plus used salted butter instead of unsalted, and then still put salt in it icon_eek.gif Jeez I wonder why it didn't taste the same icon_lol.gif

mixinvixen Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 2:34pm
post #10 of 38

hmmmm....those sound yummy! mind sharing? just pm if you don't!!

Rocketgirl899 Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 2:58pm
post #11 of 38

Cooking I am alil more lax with my recipes.. but baking no way! I have my standbys and then look for what other people do. But I never expect it to come out great when I add stuff, so I am never dissapointed.

I'm with nickshalfpint, i ALWAYS try the recipe as is first. icon_smile.gif

I feel so weird when I try a new recipe. I might not be "Special" but I seem to be the only one in my family who can say something tastes good (all the flavors work and consistency is good, baked right) and then say I don't like it.

But tastes are different so I am never offended when someone eats something I don't like... now if its multiple people I start to second guess myself icon_sad.gif

bellejoey Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 3:26pm
post #12 of 38

Recipes are formula's. It's chemistry and everything must be followed exactly. That is why many chefs that I have spoken to hold such a high regard to pastry chefs! They tell me it's way too much chemistry for them! When cooking, you can always add a little of this, or a little of that, but in baking, there is pretty much no exception. icon_smile.gif

mommyle Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 3:26pm
post #13 of 38

Yup. Try the recipe the way it is first. I made the big mistake of making a banana cake without trying it. Stupid thing is that I have an AWESOME banana muffin recipe. Well, the new recipe was VERY dry. The only thing that saved it was the choc. peanutbutter filling. When I went back and looked at the two recipes side by side, they were almost exactly the same, but mine had twice as many bananas. So now I try EVERYTHING before it goes out.

PS - the dry banana cake came from the Whimsical Bakehouse, so if you are trying it, double the number of bananas! My Grandmother was the writer of my TNT!!!

mixinvixen Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 3:32pm
post #14 of 38

i try to never get offended when someone doesn't like something i've made...i'm pretty darn picky myself! what gets my goat, though, is when someone is extremely rude about it, or...here's the big one...when i try a new recipe, my husband says it's good, and then the SECOND time i make it, he complains about not liking it!!!!!!!!!!

i prefer honesty the first time, so i don't waste ingredients and money a second time!!!!

Rocketgirl899 Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 9:04pm
post #15 of 38

i agree mixinvixen...

it is so funny, my dad "thinks" he knows what he is talking about when it comes to baking. I will offer him whatever I made.... and he starts to critique it! I'm sittin there going, especially if i don't have time to rebake, DON'T TELL ME! I know it tastes fine but uhh!

Sometimes I do ask for his opinion.. sometimes. lol. Never on a recipe that is leaving the door that day...

My PET PEEVE, and my parents know this now. When I bake something and I say you can have a cookie... they take the prettiest one!

Come on! Take an ugly one icon_smile.gif Now they look for the ugly ones icon_smile.gif

Bless their hearts. I love them to death, and if it weren't for them my cake fetish would have been smooshed many years ago. They do put up with quiet a bit: my KA running at 3am in the morning, waking up to find a fresh snowfall of powdered sugar on the floor... I'm still in school and living at home but I seem to be perfectly content waking up in the morning to clean...not them.

TexasSugar Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 10:42pm
post #16 of 38

It always makes me wonder about people when I read recipe reviews and someone said I changed this and that and this, and it wasn't good at all. I'm like well then why are you leaving a different recipes a low score? This is one of my biggest pet peeves!

When cooking, do I often change a recipe up? Sure, but then I don't complain about the recipes being bad if it doesn't come out good. I think after you cook for so long you learn what you can sub in and out easily with out affecting a recipe. Things I change are just minor things.

Most of the recipes I grew up learning to cook with were passed down 'recipes' that weren't written out on paper. So now I'm more of a little bit of this and little bit of that person, and don't always measure out every little thing called for.

In baking though, that is a different story. I'm always afraid to change something in a recipe then, knowing it is just going to be one big flop. icon_smile.gif

jouj Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 10:57pm
post #17 of 38

[quote="mixinvixen"]...when i try a new recipe, my husband says it's good, and then the SECOND time i make it, he complains about not liking it!!!!!!!!!!quote]

OH my God, my husband does the same!!! It really drives me crazy, especially when he does it in front of friends!!! He NEVER finds anything good! With him, it's always: "It's good BUT...." I swear he can find a million things not to like about the food!!!

bizatchgirl Posted 2 Nov 2008 , 11:18pm
post #18 of 38

Jouj, that sounds like a former friend of mine. I went through a period where I was trying to add a lot more soy (and less red meat) to my diet to lower my cholesterol. I made some wonderful (IMHO) soy tacos. I thought they tasted great and that you couldn't even tell it wasn't real ground beef. My idiot friend said 'well, I guess it's not bad with all this extra stuff in it to hide the soy taste'. The extra stuff? Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, cilantro and salsa. The NORMAL stuff you put in tacos. He didn't have any basis for a real complaint, so he just made something up! icon_evil.gif

just_for_fun Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 12:15am
post #19 of 38

My husband has been doing the same lately. We've been married almost 9 yrs, and I've been making a certain meat for special occassions/holidays since the beginning. my husband always loved it. Recently, we had guest, and he pipes up"this meat is a little dry", so I said, "oh, it took you 9 years to tell me that?" so he says," what should I tell you, it's really dry". it got me really mad, since i love this meat, and my kids just started liking it...

mpaigew Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 12:32am
post #20 of 38

I am an admitted recipe-changer. I don't know what it is...sometimes I'll leave things alone, but most times...I just can't. I don't think it's because I'm looking for a short cut, I'm just looking for ways to make it better. Most of the time I'm able to get things to come out ok, but other times they don't. But common sense tells me that it's because the change I made didn't work with the formula...not because the original recipe was bad.

Melvira Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 12:36am
post #21 of 38

What cracks me up is the reviews on places like AllRecipes where it says 5 stars and the comments say "This recipe is fantastic! I used half as much meat, doubled the salt, changed all the vegetables, and used broth intead of water... it was amazing, I would definitely make this again." Ok, you didn't make this recipe the first time, how are you going to make it 'again'? icon_confused.gif Oh, you mean you're going to make your new recipe! icon_rolleyes.gificon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 12:57am
post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickshalfpint

I usually try the recipe how it's written first, then make changes the next time I make it.




Me, too. I make notations on my recipe file on what I changed and why. There was a streusal (sp?) cake that had flour in the crumb topping. when I made it, all I could taste was the flour in the topping, so I omit it now. Tastes MUCH better!

But ...... that said, I do have a couple of exceptions. I will ALWAYS omit the salt in any dessert recipe. I dont' take a salt shaker to a brownie when I eat it ... not gonna salt it when I make it. And any time the recipe says "butter", I always use margarine. Been doing that for going on 50 years.

Melvira Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 2:02am
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I will ALWAYS omit the salt in any dessert recipe.




Seriously? That actually shocks me. I'm exactly the opposite. I usually increase the salt just slightly to help bring out flavors.

indydebi Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 2:10am
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvira

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I will ALWAYS omit the salt in any dessert recipe.



Seriously? That actually shocks me. I'm exactly the opposite. I usually increase the salt just slightly to help bring out flavors.




I never thought it brought out the flavors ... it just made it taste salty to me. icon_smile.gif

JEM530 Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 2:29am
post #25 of 38

I am a recipe tinkerer (is that a word?) but with baking I only change/add/remove ingredients after I have made the original recipe as directed. My DH husband is super picky so I have to work around him sometimes! icon_smile.gif

Melvira Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 3:08am
post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I never thought it brought out the flavors ... it just made it taste salty to me. icon_smile.gif




Just goes to show you... it's never the same from person to person! That's what makes us so interesting though. icon_lol.gif

mkolmar Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 5:09am
post #27 of 38

The only difference in Sara's red velvet recipe and this one posted was the 2 bottles of red dye are now 1. (I pm'd here and this is what she told me)
She didn't mention the vanilla though.

I do the recipe as directed the 1st time always. From there I make changes.
My DH is like Indy. He doesn't care for salt in desserts.
He is really sensitive to salt and can taste a single grain of it in a dessert I swear. icon_rolleyes.gif Since he has now voiced this *oh yeah I've only been married for almost 11 1/2 years and he just mentioned this last year.* I still add salt to recipes but I usually put in less depending on what it is.

I can not stand it when people change things in a recipe and then rate it based on their changes. Who cares if your altered recipe was great/sucked, review this one not the hybrid you made.

jouj Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 3:46pm
post #28 of 38

bizatchgirl, this is funny, maybe he thinks Taco means Meat!! icon_wink.gif

I have been selling cakes and cookies for almost 2 years now, and EVERY SINGLE TIME I decorate cookies, my husband (Who's usually watching a movie and never even noticing that I'm not sitting with him) tells me: "there MUST be an easier way to ice the cookies, why don't u just pour the icing on top of the cookies and finish with it"!! This make me MAAAAAAD!!! icon_mad.gif

Memie Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 4:33pm
post #29 of 38

My grandmother could never understand why no one liked her cornbread. She said she followed my mom's recipe exactly but no one would eat it. She even blamed my mom, saying she must not have given her the real recipe. But she wasn't following the recipe cause she always added sugar to it. Yuck!

Rocketgirl899 Posted 3 Nov 2008 , 5:48pm
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkolmar

The only difference in Sara's red velvet recipe and this one posted was the 2 bottles of red dye are now 1. (I pm'd here and this is what she told me)
She didn't mention the vanilla though.

.




Thanks! the TWEAKED version says to add the vanilla but it doesn't mention it in the ingrediants. I added a teaspoon and people loved it....

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