Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adventures in D'oh!

Mommy Musings
I am an alright cook. I'm not awesome; no one's asking me to star in my own show or anything, but I typically get good responses to what I do. I'm alright. One thing (among many) that I am not good at is baking. My success in baking pretty much begins and ends with Toll House break-away cookie squares - and sometimes I mess those up, too. I have thus decided to begin a journey. I plan to teach myself to bake and will chronicle this journey in posts entitled "Adventures in D'oh!" (Get it? Dough and Homer Simpson's expletive "D'oh"? Anyway . . .)

I begin this adventure, in keeping with my habit of being ever overly ambitious, by choosing a recipe I saw in a post by fudge ripple for homemade Ding-Dongs. This recipe calls for making devil's food cake, a fluffy filling and a chocolate ganache. Yes, that is 3 separate recipes - all from scratch. Formidable, right? Oh wait, there's more. I decided to make all of this for the Small Group from church that meets at my house on Wednesday nights. No time for a trial run. All done in one day while juggling a 4 month old and allowing time for clean-up, oh, and to make a double batch of chili, all before ppl start showing up around 6:15pm. Yes, I am an idiot.

#1 Lesson Learned: Use appropriate equipment.
I tried to skate buy by using a smaller sheet pan than suggested which made the cake have to cook twice as long as the recipe called for and also made the cake twice as thick as I needed it - which led to a deluge of issues. *sigh*
I also did not have access to a cookie cutter (though I went both to Wal-mart and to my grocery store, neither of which had a simple cookie cutter. Is it really that difficult, people?) As my friend, Kasey suggested, I could have used a glass to cut the pieces out, but I wanted more bite-sized confections that would be easy for people to just pop into their mouths. I therefore decided to use a plastic toothpick container, which cracked and broke after I used it a few times. *sigh*

#2 Lesson Learned: Adjust the mixer speed when adding ingredients.
At one point I was supposed to alternate adding dry and liquid ingredients to my mixer. I added the dry ingredients and got a cloud of cocoa powder, sugar, flour, etc. coating me and everything else within a 3' radius. I added the liquid ingredients and thus added a mixture of milk and chocolate/coffee splatters to the same surfaces. How about turning down the speed of the mixer when adding ingredients, huh? Slow down, speedy! I would like to say I learned my lesson after the first time I added the ingredients. No, it took me a few times before I figured out the solution to my problem. I know you're shaking your head at me. Its justified.

#3 Lesson Learned: Clean as you go . . .
or get a bigger kitchen with triplicates of all utensils and appliances . . . or hire a dish-washer. I was constantly needing the very measuring cup or bowl that I had just submerged in chocolaty water.

What a mess! It was all over the kitchen, it was all over me, it was all over Juniper. (No, mom. I did not feed my baby chocolate. I apparently had ganache on my shirt that I hadn't licked cleaned off before I picked her up from her nap.)

Now, if Juniper were old enough to eat chocolate, right about here I would add adorable pictures of her licking chocolate off of a spoon. But seeing as she is still to young, you will have to settle for adorable pictures of me:

Since chocolate was EVERYWHERE, I did have to lick clean the camera off after taking this picture.

Here is what fudge ripple's Ding-Dongs looked like:

And here are my messy results *sigh*:


Ganache is hard to handle, dang it! I guess this could lead to my #4 Lesson Learned: Follow the suggestions in the recipe.
She told me to use a spatula heated over a flame to smooth the ganache. I used a cold knife and my fingers. D'oh!

And finally . . .
#5 Lesson Learned: Presentation is everything.
If I had just left them looking like little turds on a plate, no one would have eaten them. However, wrap them in foil - no matter how poorly wrapped - and they become little presents with a surprise inside. Added bonus, I can then blame the poor ganache job on the foil mucking it up.

The verdict: They LOVED it! See?


They ate them all!

Moment of pure embarrassment: 
I did make 2 bigger ones after my "genius" toothpick container/cookie cutter broke. At the end of the night, I found myself announcing to the entire church group, "I've got 2 large Ding-Dongs here if anybody wants 'em!" My face turned red. They all laughed. I love them. :)
*Side note: Folks even took the extra Ding-Dongs home to share with family and friends. Yes, they liked them that much! I am SO GLAD all that hard work actually produced something, not only edible, but good and well received!

Now, what do I do with the mutilated, left-over cake?

I hear you asking, "What was Juniper doing while you were whipping up a confectional flurry in the kitchen?"
Well, part of the time she was ENTHRALLED in Blue's Clues, of all things. She actually watched 2 episodes and squealed and giggled at the characters the whole time! The only time she got fussy was when the first episode ended and she needed me to start the next one.
I always feel really guilty whenever I depend on TV to babysit. At least it was educational, right?

Now, it is your turn! I am so interested to hear your baking successes/failures. Am I alone in the world of D'oh, or do others of you have the same struggles? Let me know!
If you post about it, grab the button! Yes, it is huge. I don't know how to make it smaller.
Mommy Musings

24 comments:

  1. yeah linzi! great job on those ding dongs. I am so glad you made them. Try using the leftover cake for cake pops (there are recipes all over the blog world)..you can use the leftover ganache too! or you can use the cake in a trifle...take chunks of cake and layer with pudding and whipped cream in a glass bowl with chocolate shavings or maybe strawberries.
    i love how you went with the flow and had a great sense of humor about it all!

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  2. That was a great post. And the ding dongs look yummy! I try every year to make my husband his favorite cake for his birthday (Caramel icing) and I have yet to run out of ways to produce an ugly one.

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  3. Hi I am a new follower from Friday Follow! Stop by and visit anytime!
    http://www.smartandtrendymoms.com/

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  4. I love chocolate and Friday Follow! Nice to meet ya!

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  5. Those look YUMMY !!
    Added myself to your follow friday and can't wait to follow each others blogs ! You can find me at http://www.msslaydbug.com

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  6. Happy Friday Follow! I am new to your blog and i love it already! Have a blessed day! :)

    http://blessingsonsavings.blogspot.com/

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  7. That was a great blogpost! Coming by from Follow Friday. I'm now a follower and I wil come back & read often!

    Please check out my blog and
    http://www.frugalphilanthropist.blogspot.com
    Best,
    Nicole

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  8. Hi There! Just Stopping by to say Happy Friday Follow! I already follow!

    Thanks!
    Bridgette Groschen
    The Groschen Goblins

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  9. This is fabulous. Here is a link to my most recent baking failure :)

    http://www.thesnyder5.com/2010/01/sometimes-c-work-is-good-enough.html

    Here through FF and am your newest follower!

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  10. I can SO relate to this post. I'm sure my attempt at Ding Dongs would not have even turned out that well. I did just make some brownies from SCRATCH with the kids yesterday. They thought it was wild that I wasn't using a mix. haha :) They actually turned out well, surprisingly enough!

    Found your blog thru FF! Following you now!

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  11. So funny! Totally reminded me of some of my escapades in the kitchen. My wee one is old enough to help so it is getting more fun all the time! My Jessie also used to LOVE Blue's Clues... felt like a rotten mommy when she said Magenta BEFORE Grandma! LOL

    Here is a post about our cooking exploits:
    http://blisspot.blogspot.com/2009/10/kitchen-whimsy.html

    Found you through SITS Saturday and I loved my visit . I'll be back! I'm following you now too!
    Kathy over at everyday Bliss

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  12. That's too funny! I have the hardest time with cleaning as you go! But they looked SO good! Happy Saturday Share Fest!

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  13. I have always wanted to try to work with ganache. It looks hard!

    Stopping by from SITS

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  14. Great post! Although I almost wish I wouldn't have read it, because now I really want some chocolatey goodness! Anyways, just dropping by from FF, I know I'm a little late [sorry], but I just saw the comment you left on my post. Hope you're enjoying the weekend!

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  15. What a great idea - ding dongs and foil wrap! PERFECT!

    We have a family dinner every Monday, and I am going to try these for next week - and I promise to learn from your lessons! Thanks for sharing them!

    (Your baby doll is BEAUTIFUL, oh by the way. Just BEAUTIFUL!)

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  16. I admit, your little one, is cuter than the Ding Dongs but they look fine to me, meaning they look yummy.

    I am glad you liked meatless mondays...feel free to link up. You might like Chocolate Obsession link-up too, a new one on Wednesdays.

    I am glad you dropped by.

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  17. Hi there fellow SITSta. Thank you for dropping by my blog today. I'm still trying to get the hang of and feel for SITS. Are there any tips you can give me regarding maneuvering around their site and being a good SITSta? Thanks!

    Kindest regards,
    Brook

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  18. Those look delicious! :) Thanks for stopping by. It was sooo nice to feel all the comment love today! :)

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  19. Yum!! As far as what to do with the extra cake...I'd probably just eat it with milk, lol. Or perhaps chocolate bread pudding or a trifle.

    Thanks for visiting my blog from SITS (what a great bunch of women in this group!).

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  20. Thanks for stopping by my part of the world!

    If it looks like shit, but tastes like heaven... you're on a winner!

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  21. Just a hint on how to help with the dish problem. Measure all dry ingredients first - you can use the same measuring spoon endlessly with dry ingredients without washing, THEN measure liquids, and just rinse after if needed.

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  22. Great story. If I had tried to make those, things would have gone the same for me. I have no luck when it comes to baking. :)

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  23. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time!!! It most definitely makes me feel good about myself. It also made me love you!

    You rock (not in the kitchen though). ;)

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  24. Hey There!
    I'm a new follower from Friday Follow!
    I hope you'll come by my blog too.
    And please feel free to check out one of my great giveaways; My newest one is for a $50 Walmart giftcard. Or you can check up on my life with my pet rats and more under my Look at Life tab :)!

    -Amanda T
    http://mylifewithratsandmore.blogspot.com

    I'll be back to visit periodically :)!

    And these look so delicious! I really want some chocolate now :)

    ReplyDelete

 

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