It’s the week leading up to Christmas and your cooks are on the road! In honor of the birth of Santa Jesus, we are devoting the entire week to sweets! Which means … baking! Which means … messes!
Everything we know about baking stresses this is a form of cooking that is more science than art. There is not a lot of room for improvisation. Sure you can replace pecans here with walnuts there, but for the most part, you have got to adhere religiously to the recipe at hand.
What follows is the story of how wrong things can go when you do not adhere to this, the first rule of baking.
Trust me when I say that I’ve made more mistakes than I’d like to admit while in full-on baking mode, almost all involving an ingredient that I somehow missed when I read the recipe the first 3,000 times. What do you do when you are all out of pure maple syrup and you’re halfway through mixing a cheesecake? By golly, you improvise.
The joy of baking is it’s often done in the comfort of your kitchen. While you are alone. So no matter how royally you screw up in the process, as long as the finished product is edible, you’re in the clear! And if it’s not edible, you just throw it out and start over. But then I had this brilliant idea for a food blog and suddenly everyone and their mother is in the kitchen with you. Well, we promised honestly from our recipes, so here goes nothing.
To make chocolate disaster cookies, you will first need to assemble:
- 2 bags (4 cups) of semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tbsp. dark corn syrup
- 1 tsp. instant coffee granules
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
The first thing you should know is that I did not have dark corn syrup on hand, but I did have light, so that’s what we’re using. Also, I have no idea what else I’m going to use these instant coffee granules for, because I’m sure as hell not going to drink it.
Now, to start, misread the recipe, the part where it tells you to melt 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips and instead melt 3 whole cups in the microwave. To do this, place the chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave at half power, one minutes at a time, until all of the chocolate is melted. Stir after every minute or so. This is WAY easier than trying to melt chocolate on the stove. Trust me. Once it’s all melted, just let it sit in the microwave.
Meanwhile, combine the white and brown sugars, eggs, corn syrup (no matter the color you’re using!), coffee granules and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Beat first with the electric mixer on low speed until combined, then set mixer to high and beat until thickened, about three minutes. Next, add all the chocolate you just melted and attempt to combine with the electric mixer. Wonder why it smells like burning.
Figure out that you’ve already goofed up the recipe and throw in the remaining chocolate chips from the bag (the original recipes calls for 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips at this step). Add flour and baking powder. Get super pissy when it becomes obvious that the electric mixer is not going to finish the job. Attempt to combine the flour with the rest of the mixture with a spatula (after carefully scraping off the chocolate gloop that’s collected on the beaters) and then by using your hand. Give up and ask Mike to do it.
Once the flour is finally, mercifully combined into the mixture, cover with plastic wrap for at least one hour or until you can work up the will to go on. If this takes up to two days, that’s OK. You should be in the clear.
When you’re feeling up to it (after a long hot bath or two vodka drinks, perhaps), roll the dough into balls, using about one rounded teaspoon at a time. Roll balls in powdered sugar and let bake at 350 degrees for eight minutes realize that it’s probably a lost cause and let the dough/chocolate hunk sit out while you go out for Thai food. Come back, realize that the dough is still a hunk of chocolate and wait it out while you attempt a game of Monopoly.
Go to bed for the night and realize in the morning that you no longer having a mixing bowl as it has become one with the chocolate hunk, which is disgustingly sweet and too brittle and hard to do anything with.
To remove the chocolate hunk, place the entire mess in the microwave for 25 seconds and pry the chocolate from the bowl. Throw it out. Seriously. There’s no saving this.