Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cooking fail

I'm not a bad cook.  However, this week is sure trying to make me think I am.
Two years ago when I was breastfeeding our youngest son, we quickly figured out that he did not care for chocolate in my diet.  Wanting the best for my baby, I gave up my favorite treat and we were all happy.  Then we discovered a recipe in the newspaper for Almond Joy-inspired cupcakes.  Chocolate cupcakes with a coconut filling and chocolate ganache frosting studded with whole almonds.  Definitely a recipe to hang on to for some future date when I could again fulfill my chocolate cravings.
I periodically saw the newspaper page and thought about trying the recipe, but the time just never seemed right until this weekend.  Armed with the necessary ingredients, I set out to make a culinary masterpiece.
My attempt couldn't even come close to resembling the photo.
The cupcakes were dry.  I'm not sure what I do to homemade cakes.  They are ALWAYS dry.  Mixes stay wonderfully moist.  My ganache frosting became a solid mass in the refrigerator.  There is no way it could be smooshed into a decorating bag, let alone piped on the cupcakes.  I settled for a dollop on top of the coconut filling.  The filling was the only part of the recipe that turned out.  I could eat it like candy.  I won't admit how many spoonfuls I have eaten. A bunch of the filling on top of the cupcakes makes them almost edible.  I re-warmed the ganache and formed it into balls that are currently languishing in the freezer for "instant" indulgent hot chocolate, so at least that wasn't a complete disaster.
I think I'll give these cupcakes one more try.  I'm tempted to go with a cake mix and avoid the refrigerator for the ganache and just let it cool to frosting consistency at room temperature.  If it works, I'll share the recipe.  Any suggestions for keeping homemade cake moist?  I need to learn the secret.

I saw this great idea on Pinterest for dehydrated strawberries.

I had some extra strawberries from our Bountiful Baskets, so I thought I'd give it a try.  Three hours later my strawberries were still pretty moist, so I left them in the oven a bit longer.  It's probably my own fault that I didn't check on them until they were VERY dehydrated and definitely not bright red and chewy.  Not sure I'll be giving that one another try.
What culinary disaster can I cook up today?

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