WHOOOOOOOOPS…

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It’s chocolate!

It’s peanut butter!

It’s a MESS!

Welcome to our annual April Fool’s compendium of kitchen disasters, where we present the King Arthur test kitchen’s finest moments, compiled over the past 12 months.

Well, that’s why they call it a TEST kitchen, right?

Baking isn’t always a piece of cake. Or easy as pie.

We’re smart cookies, all right. But some of the stuff that happens here in the kitchen makes us go absolutely CRACKERS.

Without further ado – welcome to our (imperfect) world!

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Susan is cooking something at the stove.

Me: “Susan, what IS that?”

Susan: “It’s a baked pancake… gone WAY wrong.”

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Gee, maybe some confectioners’ sugar will help…

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…or not. One thing all of us test bakers share is an occasional inability to let go.

Recipes are like our children. We coddle them, we nurture them, and we NEVER give up!

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There! Breakfast fit for a king.

“Here, King, good dog…”

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What do you do with soft, pillowy, absolutely under-baked and sunken-centered yeast bread?

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I don’t know, but one of my kitchen comrades did.

You just never know when Playmobil people will come in handy, do you?

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Q. Can parchment catch fire in the oven?

A. No. But it can definitely catch fire when it’s sitting on the stovetop and you don’t notice it and you turn on a burner and walk away and 10 seconds later smoke alarms are going off.

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Speaking of smoke alarms – did you ever wonder what happens when you inadvertently leave ONE roll in a 450°F oven for, like, 6 hours? Charcoal. (Char-roll?)

The other artifact was – something – on the oven floor. Never did figure out what.

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Who says you can’t halve your cake and eat it, too?

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Some of us like the crunchy edge. Some like the fudgy center. And we’re not shy about taking EXACTLY the piece we want.

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The March of the Yeast Loaves. No counter space? No problem! Stand ’em up, they’ll cool just fine.

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I wonder if I should put an egg in this crust. It doesn’t seem like just flour, sugar, and butter will hold together. But that’s what the recipe says… Hey, let’s give it a try.

WOW! Really tasty. But the presentation could use some work. YA THINK?!

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MaryJane’s “I forgot and only added half the flour” brownies. As MJ wrote in her test results, “Very thin and fudgy, good tasting… a BIG FAT ZERO in the looks department.”

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I wonder if I’m leaving enough room between these cookies? I wonder how much they’ll spread?

Wonder no more. Hey, great oatmeal lace cookie recipe!

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Ah, the daily microwave explosion. If it’s not butter (the usual suspect), it’s a bowl of breakfast oatmeal. If not a bowl of oatmeal, it’s cream. If not cream…

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… it’s a spaghetti squash.

Did you know squash could blow up in the microwave? We didn’t.

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Gee, I love it when the lid on the 10-pound bucket of whole-wheat flour isn’t snapped on tight when you go to grab it out of the freezer.

After I pointed the camera down and snapped this picture, I just stood there and said “Uhhhh………..”

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It’s also a blast when gravity has its way with the chocolate cream cake that was oh-so-precariously balanced in the overstuffed fridge.

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Hey, kids, let’s try this sticky no-knead dough in a banneton.

Seems like it would work, so long as the banneton’s REALLY heavily floured.

Right?

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Wrong.

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Well, no sense wasting a perfectly good wad o’ dough. Let’s bake it up. Maybe the birds will want it.

Or not. Sadly, even the crows out on the back lawn avoided this one.

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MaryJane is one of our top “fancy” bakers. She can decorate cookies like no one’s business. She creates intricate Easter eggs. Lovely miniature desserts.

And really snaky braids, when we all get to yapping and laughing at once!

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[Censored]

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OK, Doors fans, this one’s for you. Cast your mind back to the refrain from L.A. Woman. You know, the part about Mr. Mojo

The dough is rising…

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keep on risin’…

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…over-rising…

OK, if you can’t hear the music in your head, you’re losing a lot of the effect.

But if you CAN hear L.A. Woman – I guarantee you’ve just laughed yourself right out of your chair.

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“Turn the bread out of the pan onto a rack to cool.”

Watch the pull-apart bread break itself into multiple pieces, all on its own.

Really, I MEANT it to do that.

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Oh, man, who’s been hacking away at this cake? I need it for a picture!

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OK, let’s put this baby back together.

Will icing cover its multitude of sins?

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No. But pistachio pudding will. I wonder if you can sprinkle sugar on top of pudding and put it in the broiler and it’ll caramelize?

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Absolutely. The sugar caramelizes (read: burns); the pudding melts; and there are still those willing to take an exploratory bite.

“Not bad!”

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“I wonder if we could substitute sunflower butter for the peanut butter filling in these cookies?”

Wonder no more! The answer is a resounding YES – so long as you don’t mind cookies with green filling.

How did it DO that?

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Gee, guess I’d better tweak this recipe, I think it still has a few bugs in it….

Now, before you get all crazy about the cleanliness of the KA test kitchen – I’d taken this pastry outside, to catch the light for a photo. Went back in to get my camera, came out, and this nosy fellow had already found the sugar…

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Susan had her camera in one hand, her whisk with beaten meringue in the other, and as she used her third hand to quickly turn off a burner on the stove… Oh, wait, she forgot she didn’t have a third hand!

The juggling act that ensued resulted in a sticky situation.

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“Close-up” is right. That’s called getting up close and personal with the contents of your mixing bowl.

So, folks, that’s the way the cookie crumbles…

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…especially when you’re making gluten-free shortbread.

But wait, there’s more! The fun just never ends around here – check out our 2009 Disasters.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Christina P

    So did the squash make a loud bang?

    Well… if a squash explodes in the microwave and there’s no one in the kitchen to hear it, does it make any noise? :) PJH

    Yes, the squash did go “bang”. PJ and I have decided that noise of butter or whatever exploding is the microwave’s way of saying, “Ha, ha, you lose!!”

    Reply
  2. Nel

    FUN! I came here to find the post about decorating Easter cookies (I might just manage it this year, after promising myself for several years), and got a good laugh instead.

    Since I don’t know a single song by the Doors, of course I have go to YouTube and see if I can work out the joke.

    And then get the computer guy to come and turn off the time-sucking device on my computer for the whole Easter break…

    OK, here’s a good YouTube link, Nel – “Mr. Mojo Risin’ “ – enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  3. Holly

    I made low carb pizza – couldn’t get it the crust off the pan!

    Chisel time, eh, Holly? Been there, done that… PJH

    Reply
  4. Becky in Greensboro

    The “missing chunks” cake made me laugh. Just last weekend I made some pumpkin bread. Right after I took it out of the pans, there was a disturbance outside that I went to investigate. When I came back in a minute or two later, there were two fairly uniform chunks missing from the front end of one loaf.

    Time out works for dogs, too.

    Becky, wish I had a picture of the birthday cake I’d iced, then set in the center of the kitchen island. Came back a few hours later – sheepish dog sitting in the corner (he never did have a poker face), and the cake was BARE OF FROSTING all the way around the circumference, about halfway up. He’d managed to lick a full circle around the cake, but could only reach halfway up. So I had a cake that was perfectly bare on the bottom, beautifully iced on top. When I first saw it, I was flabbergasted – how the HECK…. then I saw the dog. Yes, timeout for dogs is a good thing. :) PJH

    Reply
  5. AuntieAllyn

    Thanks for the great laughs! I’m so glad that you’re willing to publish your “problem children” . . . makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one that does these kinds of things!

    Reply
  6. linda

    you guys are human just like me! this posts warms my heart but not in a bad, mean way…i love the company i am with…i have had so many cheesecake disasters this month…like allowing the cheesecakes to “rest” in the oven for 1 hour & realizing after the time was up i NEVER turned the oven off… :(
    thanks so much for this post…i have a smile on my face!! :)

    Smiles are good, always, Linda – PJH

    Reply
  7. Deb

    My exploding spagetti squash made a very large bang and actually blew the micro door open and landed in lots of pieces and strings on the kitchen floor – quite an event!
    I did the supposedly “preventative” stab, too, trying to vent the thing before I cooked it, but it obviously wasn’t enough! – Susan

    Reply
  8. Kristen

    Thank you for posting these. Sometimes I forget that everyone makes mistakes; even the professionals. Your regular posts are so beautiful. It’s nice to know that everyone is human.

    Reply
  9. Jesurgislac

    Thanks for sharing! The Squash Explosion is the most … interesting, but the pull-apart bread that falls apart on its own is most impressive. Bet you wish you had a video…

    Reply
  10. Cher

    Oh, the LEGO queen was absolutely epic. Was she trying to be rescued from the bread with her arms out-stretched? Or was she a stunt-LEGO and using the bread as her safety net?

    Thank you for the good-natured look into the “dark side” of baking. It’s nice to know that even the “pro’s” occasionally have days like that…

    Reply
  11. LuAnn

    Another thankyou for posting your goofs! I can put some of mine to rest now :). Love this blog and all of you at KA are the BEST!

    Reply
  12. Ann

    It’s so good to know you guys are definitely human. The caramelized pudding looked like something terrible out of a medical textbook!

    Well, Ann, I wasn’t thinking medical, but… EWWWWWWWW. It did taste good (and yes, I tasted it!) We are definitely human – no Betty Crockers or Doughboys here, just Susan, Sue, Andrea, me, MaryJane, and Liz, making the same silly mistakes anyone would… PJH

    Reply
  13. Greg

    The sticky bread thing in a banneton … did that last week with a rye loaf. Top stayed in the banneton, bottom cooked up just like yours did. It was kind of hard to judge the crumb! :) Thanks for the laughs.

    Yeah, guess you won’t try that again, huh, Greg? Amazing how much flour you can dump into the banneton and those ultra-sticky doughs find a way to combat it and STICK ANYWAY. :) PJH

    Reply
  14. Elaine

    Hilarious! …but the lovely queen is Playmobil, not Lego.

    Whoops – my son is out of college now, I’m WAY past the Lego/Playmobil stage. Thanks, Elaine, I’ll go change it. PJH

    Reply
  15. DebrafromMD

    Wow! That Buckeye cake looked just like mine. I called it my Train Wreck cake but it sure tasted good.

    Reply
  16. tricia

    HAHA, this is a great post. The examples in this post are what my efforts almost always turn out to be but the kids eat it anyway unless I forgot the sugar!

    Reply
  17. Chip

    I think my biggest baking disaster was when I was making baguettes, and preheated a pan in the oven to generate steam. Both my sheet pans were in use, but I figured a Pyrex roasting pan ought to handle the thermal shock just fine. Did it? Well…. no. Had I put the pan in the rack above the bread? Why yes. Broken glass baguettes, yum.

    (It’s worth mentioning here that “Pyrex” cookware is not made with the heatproof borosilicate glass they use for labware.)

    Reply
  18. AJ

    Oh my, the memories! What’s really amazing is often the “messes”
    taste wonderfully good (unless they’re totally charred)! I had a lemon pound cake get broken up. We made chunks of the rest of the cake
    and drowned it in lemon pudding…we ended up making it that way on purpose many times afterwards;). Bet that choco-peanut butter cake
    got ate, too!

    You betcha, AJ – every last crumb of the Buckeye cake disappeared… PJH

    Reply
  19. Irene

    I was commissioned to bake some Easter bread for a coworker. I had my milk scalded OK, laid out the eggs, oil, butter, your fabulous lemon peel, raisins washed and dried…fresh bag of flour in the bin…right?

    The yeast and water step was a problem for the first time in 40 years of doing this. My hip caught the bowl and bumped it off the counter and flipped that sticky stuff all over my clean floor…

    At least it wasn’t farther along the process. Your pictures have made me feel a lot better.

    But I have to say, what person in their right mind would bake a whole spaghetti squash even in a regular oven? You want to get the seeds out before you bake it, no? So microwaving it wouldn’t occur to me.

    A couple well known cookbooks do suggest the microwave method for cooking whole spaghetti squash. The secrets are: pierce generously with a knife, rotate every 5 minutes during cooking time, and wait 10 minutes before cutting it open to scoop out the seeds and scrape the strands into a bowl. One can only imagine the troublesome possibilities with each of these suggestions! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  20. Joni M

    LOL–I made that very same buckeye cake too– and wow, yours looked just like mine with that delightful, oozy can’t-keep-it-together-in-the-right-place look! But nevertheless, it did taste pretty darn good if you just could get past the looking-at-it stage…These pics are just so much fun although I’m sorry you have that naughty little kitchen imp that sneaks in and does stuff to your creations the same way it does to mine…hummm, maybe we need to band together to try and trap it, but then, we wouldn’t have anything else to laugh about if we could actually rid our kitchens of the imp…Thanks again for a delightful post–you all are just the best!!!

    Reply
  21. Nadia

    I LOVE this post! For someone who’s such a perfectionist, it’s a great reminder that EVERYONE has their moments of, “Oops!” and that I’m not the only one. Thanks so much for this! In a strange way.. it’s been an encouragement.. for me to be reminded that failure is ok.. and often the best source of learning. =D

    You could also hum, “What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been”! Many prefer to think of the failures as “learning opportunities” – if we can just remember what we’ve done to create it! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  22. Rosa

    I’d love to be in a test kitchen. There, at least, disasters are seen less dramatically than at home!

    Cheers,

    Rosa
    Either way, it’s against our Yankee sensibilities to waste food or ingredients! Our saving grace is there aren’t hungry faces waiting around the dinner table! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  23. Beth

    I love this! I often have friends ask me “does everything you bake turn out perfect?” the response is “no, I just don’t put that stuff on the internet!”

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who has some big WHOOPS! Last time I tried to carmelize sugar in an oven, there were BIG FLAMES. Guess that’s what happens when there’s sugar and alcohol in the bread pudding!

    Fake it, Beth – “No prob! I’m just flambéeing the pudding…” :) PJH

    Reply
  24. pc brown

    Baking tubes. I went to a party and bought all three they demo’ed. I waited for the perfect occasion to show off my mad skills and ended up with tiny bread that exploded out of both ends of the tubes…nuclear bread! Oy!

    Thanks for showing us even the pros goof once in a while! Best read of the day!

    Reply
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  26. TravelingAnn

    Oh, my, goodness. Those are so funny. But many of them still tasted good, right?
    I guess I set the bar low, it can be ugly as long as it tastes good.
    With the number of things that hit your floor, my dogs would looove it in your kitchen. They’d also be rather round.

    Reply
  27. Eileen

    My most memorable cooking disaster happened when I first started to bake many years ago. We never had fresh garlic at home (it was too exotic!). As a result of my garlic unfamiliarity, I thought a “clove” of garlic was the same thing as a “head” of garlic. The recipe called for six cloves of garlic; 90 minutes later picture a reeking kitchen and a pile of chopped garlic 4″ deep being folded into the bread. It was a big hit! (not!!)
    I enjoyed your post! Glad I’m not alone and we can all keep learning!

    Reply
  28. Mags

    Thanks for a great laugh…LOL! It’s sooo nice to know that even the professionals have flops. Great blog post, all of you!

    Reply
  29. Kelly

    I laughed so hard at the spaghetti squash that tears came to my eyes! Thank you so much for posting this; I feel so much better about my own kitchen failures, especially last night’s bread “fail.”

    Reply
  30. YDavis

    LOL!!! Too funny! I couldn’t stop laughing! My co-workers thought I was nuts until I showed them what I was looking at.

    Glad we were part of your happy April Fool’s Day! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  31. Lynn

    Maybe because it’s a necessity of life, food seems to bring us together. In the same way, laughter does too.

    My husband’s parents had come for a visit and I was making gravy to go with the roast I’d prepared. I was using a canning jar to shake flour and water together to thicken the gravy. It didn’t take long to realize I had only used one part (the screw band) of the two part lid on the jar. I had flour and water everywhere – ceiling, cabinets, windows, stove, floor…

    My mother-in-law took it all in stride, though. She even made me feel better later when she commented on my kitchen wall paper. The paper had sketches of various herbs and spices. One was a picture of marjoram with the name underneath. After looking at it repeatedly she said ” I never knew marijuana was an herb”. In her defense, she had cataracts and her vision was substantially impaired. We both got a real laugh out of that.

    Reply
  32. Heike Sellers

    I LOVE that you took the photos! It makes me feel so much less foolish when I mess up. Was Susan trying to make Kaiserschmarrn with the pancake batter? Best April 1st wishes.

    Reply
  33. Anne in AZ

    Well I got a laugh out of this one! Good to know you have disasters too! One of my funniest – my grandmother and I were making cupcakes for an event, and we made over 200. We had just finished icing and decorating them, and decided to sit down in the other room for a while. (Now my grandmother’s house traditional with a closed off kitchen – it is not open to the rest of the house so we had no idea what was going on.) My grandfather’s dog was safely outside, or so we thought. Apparently he had let the dog in and we didn’t know it. After a while, my grandmother and I decided to pack up the cupcakes for transport except they were ALL gone, papers and all. The dog was laying under the table in pain! Unfortunately for us all of our hard work went to the dog, and then we had to take him to the emergency vet clinic! When the dog got home, the first thing he did was to run through the house right back to the scene of the crime looking for more!

    Reply
  34. tofugirl

    Heehee! Great post! As the queen of the overflowing pan (my specialty!) it’s reassuring to see that even professionals have these moments.

    Reply
  35. Karen

    I had a baking disaster in my high school Home Ec class. It was the day before graduation, all the ovens were sparkling clean, our teacher wanted us to make oatmeal cookies. 25 girls protested, “We don’t want to have to make anything”, we wailed. All 4 girls in my group took turns adding and mixing ingredients. 1st batch spread out all over our clean oven! What DID we do wrong? Went back thru the list, got to the flour part- not 1 girl had added any flour! We spent the last 30 mins cleaning the oven, again.

    Reply
  36. Gregg

    The first attempt at baking was as a 20 year-old college student and peach cobbler was the subject. After diligently following the recipe directions, I anxiously awaited the results throughout the stated 45 minute cooking time. Four hours later, I placed a long distance call to my Mom to ask why it wasn’t done yet. Her first question was “Did you drain the peaches?” Oops! Thank you for this light-hearted post, it’s encouraging to know that even baking professionals don’t get perfect results every time.

    Isn’t that funny, when you don’t know ANYTHING and you think maybe 4 hours to bake a cobbler is OK? I love thinking back to those days… thanks for sharing, Gregg. PJH

    Reply
  37. AmandaLP

    My Monkey bread always looks like that :) Burned on the top and falling apart! :)

    Well, then – tell people it’s “rustic” and leave it at that, Amanda! PJH

    Reply
  38. Jessie @ simplysifted

    Thank you for posting this! Last night I made little flower shaped cakes in metal molds that I bought at a rummage sale. I thought they were for baking. It turns out they were metal soap molds. Those cakes did not taste good (even though I washed them thoroughly). It’s nice to know that everyone makes mistakes.

    Well, as I said at the beginning: whoooooopsssss….. Sorry about the waste of ingredients, but guess you won’t be using those particular molds again, eh? PJH

    Reply
  39. Bridgid

    I loved this! For me, the chocolate cake that jumped out of the fridge & all over the place made my stomach drop. Years ago I made a wonderful chocolate icebox cake (Chocolate wafers layered with whipped cream) and I put it into the cake carrier and latched it (or so I thought) and picked it up to put into the fridge. It splattered everywhere! Inside the drawer that was left open by mistake, the floor, the kickboards, the cabinets, my hair, everywhere! I couldn’t laugh then about it, but seeing your cake reminded me. Thanks!

    Sometimes, Bridgid, all you CAN do is laugh. After you’re done &%&^%&%^%&^%$#$, of course! :) PJH

    Reply
  40. KimberlyD

    I worked in a eatery inside of a year around Christmas store and was baking cookies and took a pan out and turned around to talk and the cookie sheet kind of tipped and there went most of the cookies onto the floor….glad to know it happens in other peoples kitchens….lol!

    Reply
  41. JanH

    Love the bloopers! Do you know what happens when you try to hard-boil eggs (without water) in the microwave? A friend of mine tried it. He got shells inside a 1/4-inch thick cube of scramble egg that was exactly the interior dimensions of his microwave oven….

    Of course the microwave was never the same…the door ended of 20 feet away from the oven!! Yikes! That one is dangerous.

    Reply
  42. Marianna

    A few years ago I made a large triple layered devil’s food cake for a friend’s suprise party. The hostess was holding the cake, candles lit, and we were all waiting to shout “Surprise!” Well, her husband was more than surprised and when we startled him he screamed, scared his wife and she dropped the cake on the floor. Thank goodness it didn’t flip over but it did splatter everyone’s feet and pant legs. We picked up the cake and served the exploded dessert in bowls with spoons and your choice of whipped cream or ice cream. I still tasted great and there was a great story to tell. LOL You have a lot less stress in your life when you learn to roll with the punches!

    Reply
  43. Tonia

    That incinerated roll reminded me of when I had my bakery: one day after 10 or 12 hours (for my work day) just before going home we needed more peanutbutter cookies so I scooped out a dozen stuck them in the oven, then proceeded to do my clean-up, turned the oven off and left for home. Next day I came in and my mom had left me this lovely ode to a dead PB cookie along with one very chared black cinder of a cookie. Turns out I forgot to set the timer and ALSO forgot I’d even put the cookies in the oven! She found them several hours later after smelling a kind of burned smell while cleaning the floor next to the oven!

    Reply
  44. Jennifer

    I have so done that think with the whole canister of flour (or cornmeal, or sugar)! I did it once with flour, my crocs on and black socks. The flour poke-a-dots on my socks were horrible. Flour is really hard to clean off the floor, not to mention it just burns your biscuits to waste that much of any ingredient! Thanks for the post guys!! Happy Baking :-)

    Reply
  45. lauren

    what a hoot to read all these posts…and the pix!!! LOL extreme!!
    my worst oops in the kitchen?? christmas eve morning, making chocolate chip cookies. everything looked good, doing everything right..hummm….smoke from the ovens?? looked in to see all this brown runny sticky syrup like stuff dripping through the grates and to the bottom of the oven. i though..oh my! how did i put those cookies in without the cookie sheets, those cookies are running all over. wake up mom….!! i put the unbaked dough on brown plastic serving trays not cookie sheets. I won’t go into what it did to my ovens!!! duh :)

    Lauren, we are just roaring here… I’m reading this aloud to my co-workers. You’re right, I don’t want to imagine what your oven was like… WOW. Janet (our Web desisgner) says, “Thanks for sharing!” PJH

    Reply
  46. Nene Adams

    Ah, baking disasters! Every cook has a story to tell. :-) My worst happened when I made a black forest cake from scratch for my step-father’s birthday. I even piped the icing decoratively to make it look extra pretty. Grabbing the cake stand, I turned to put it in the refrigerator (I lived in Florida then and it was a hot day), and the cake slid off the stand to splat on the floor! The only thing I could do was scrape the top layer into a bowl – that part hadn’t touched the floor – make more cherry filling, throw that in, and put whipped cream on top. He had black forest trifle for his birthday.

    And I’ll bet it tasted great anyway – that’s the way to make dessert out of disaster, Nene! PJH

    Reply
  47. Debbie

    Haha this is great! My latest disasters were forgetting to put the SUGAR into muffins and scones … just a couple of days apart. It just wasn’t my week! I remembered for the scones when I tasted a bit of dough, and then tried to add it at the end (I’d already cut them into wedges) and of course they turned out tough and yucky. The good thing is, it reminds us that even expert bakers have bad days!! Thanks!!!

    Reply
  48. Erin R.

    Holy Moses, I HOOTED over the rising dough tentacles. And that pistachio creation is seriously like some kind of special effect. Remember that movie “The Blob?”
    That’s EXACTLY what it reminded me of, Erin! I didn’t want to hurt PJ’s feeling by saying so, but yep, Creature Double Feature for sure. ~ MaryJane

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  49. Jen

    Ha! Great pictures! I do love knowing that not everything comes out perfect for all of you all the time…makes us bakers at home feel so much better about ourselves :)
    My biggest faux-pas was when I burned a chocolate chip pecan pie. It was so horrible looking, but my silly husband still grabbed a fork and dug into it. He said it still tasted good, but had a little bit of a “burnt toast” flavor.
    I learned my lesson and an hour or so later had produced a much nicer looking/tasting pie :)
    Gotta love it when the hubby still eats the mistakes. That’s true love! ~ MaryJane

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  50. caroline

    Having just made my first wedding cake, I have to say I am really, really happy I did not see these until AFTER I successfully baked, transported, assembled, decorated, and served the cake.
    Congratulations Caroline, that’s a huge feat. Bet it feels good to have that first one under your belt. ~ MaryJane

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  51. Erin R.

    Forgot to ask before, what the devil is the story with that dough, uh, “bosom?” I have never seen such a thing! I was perfectly delighted to see it here, but I’ve never seen it in my own kitchen.

    Erin, it started out as a little bubble in the dough. Only instead of popping, it just got bigger, and bigger… We’d never seen anything like it, either – it happened in the fridge, so maybe that had something to do with it? It was certainly photogenic! PJH

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  52. Heather

    I once made a chocolate pecan pie and somehow failed to notice that it called for one CUP of chocolate chips, not one BAG. It ran all over the place while baking, and it tasted like crazy chocolate overload (though still good enough to finish off).

    The buckeye cake reminds me of an ill-fated Boston Creme Pie I once attempted…but I bet yours tasted better. I’ve come to the conclusion after many years that pastry creme is just not my friend.

    My favorite baking disaster wasn’t actually my fault though — a non-baking friend tried to make a cake for a mutual friend’s birthday. I got to her house when she was working on the icing, just in time to see her putting granulated sugar through a sieve into a bowl filled with butter and cream. She said, “this makes it powdered sugar, right?” Um, sorry but no. One trip to get store-bought frosting later, she produced something that looked like a deformed brownie to glop the frosting onto. I must have expressed some skepticism. It was her mom’s special cake recipe, she assured me, and absolutely delicious. I’m sure it would have been, if she’d remembered to add the eggs. Too bad we didn’t figure that part out until after the candles were blown out, the cake was cut, and the first bites had been taken…
    My goodness Heather, it sounds like you are KAF test kitchen material for sure, you can flub with the best of ‘em. Maybe one of these years we’ll host a baking disaster poetry contest. “Ode to an Exploded Squash” anyone? ~ MaryJane

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  53. Janet Anderson

    Then there was my attempt to make No-Knead Artisan Bread in the perforated baguette pans. It was kinda like old-fashioned plaster and lathe, the way the dough oozed through, expanded and baked on. After soaking and removing most of it, I had to poke a toothpick through every hole in the pan.

    True confessions, Janet – I JUST did that with cheese bread in a perforated pan. Never did I think the cheese would ooze out of the bread and through the perforations and yes, cement the bread to the pan and provide me with a wicked cleanup (though it helped to just soak the pan for a few hours…) Great minds think alike. Or not… :) PJH

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  54. Patti S

    Ohhhh, the memories these tales bring back! Luv them!
    It seemed to be a rite of passage in our house (of seven daughters and four sons), that at about the age of 13 or 14, we’d each (the girls, anyway) begin cooking / baking with a tradition we called “spoon fudge.” You could never slice it or even think of serving it to anyone outside the family, but we all pitched in with our own spoons to help critique it. Our “learning experiences” sometimes meant you’d make a few batches of spoon fudge before you got it right but I remember each one of us making that mistake.
    And then there was the time I wanted to impress my husband’s family with a meal and ended up putting HOT pan juices into the gravy shaker. It, too, was all over the ceiling and walls and me. Luckily I was only slightly scalded.
    And, then there were the times (yup, plural!) when someone forgot to remove the cast iron skillet from the oven before preheating. There was always a spatula resting in that skillet, and its brown plastic handle drooped and dribbled in the intense heat until it landed on the oven floor in a suggestive ‘pile.’ More than once it was saved for use as a practical joke (it looked just like dog doo!). My mother wanted to clobber us over that one. Hee Hee Hee.
    I think we all learn best from our mistakes and from others’ as well. The KAF kitchen has taught me SO MUCH in the short time since I’ve found you, and I am committed to stick around for much more, especially on the first of April. Thanks for the expertise AND the “learning experiences!” :-)

    OMG, the melted spatula “doo” is too funny. Don’t tell my teenage daughter, she’s already looking for pranks to pull on the boys team during their upcoming trip! Thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane

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  55. dolly j

    I have laughed and laughed at the preceding photos with explanations. I have been telling my coworkers at American Airlines and friends about KAF. I love it. Tried the Fiori flavoring for the first time in coconut macaroons. Delightful.
    I believe baked goods ARE better with KAF, haven’t bought anything else for over a year now. Wish I worked with your company. I sing your praises every chance I get.

    One happy customer!!

    Dolly
    Would it be too corny to say King Arthur Flour baked goods will have you on Cloud 9? or that KAF is your baking co-pilot? Seriously, I could go on all day but I’ll get off the stage now. :) ~MaryJane

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  56. Oval Lee

    Enjoyed the missing pieces cake that turned into a smily face once it was repaired.
    The icing licking dog..I had one. I just finished a wedding cake and placed it out of reach of kids and all. Then Blackie our lab, found it and liked the choc icing. Good thing I had teime to re-do it.

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  57. Janey

    I feel no shame in saying I would eat that triple-layer chocolate peanut butter cake with my bare hands. No lopsidedness will get in my way.

    We did end up attacking it with spoons, Janey… no prob, it disappeared! PJH

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  58. Trisha

    I did the exact same thing with the sticky no-knead spelt-olive dough in a banneton. Now I don’t feel quite as bad about it. Thanks for sharing!

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  59. SallyBR

    So good to see I am not alone when I pull my usual tricks in the kitchen….

    the spaghetti squash explosion, and the chocolate cake falling from the fridge made my day! The clean up must have been painful…. :-)

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  60. YDavis

    I just had to come back and tell you about some of my own “whooops” in baking:

    1) Got everything out for cheesecake making, made it, put it in the oven, turned around and saw the 2 eggs that I was supposed to add. Oooppps, too late now.

    2) I tried to bake a double batch of blueberry muffins one time, instead of making 2 separate batches, I doubled the recipe, well, I double everything in the recipe except for the flour. Guess what? No blueberry muffins that day! It was still “soupy” after 40mins(baking time should be 23-27mins), so I “re-traced” my steps and found out about the flour.

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  61. Mike T.

    Okay, this happened after April 1st, but didn’t want to wait a year…

    I had a great idea for a dessert. We’ve all seen the cupcakes baked with a frozen truffle in it so it oozes like a lava cake. Well I decided to try a frozen chocolate covered marshmallow square inside a brownie. Sounded yummy…

    Unfortunately I decided not to wait for Passover to end, so it was a Pesachig brownie (made with matzo cake meal), think low to no gluten bonding… I made it in a little 4″ springform pan. Well, the marshmallow finally defrosted and expanded with the heat, cracking the already fragile brownie. Then, impatient little me didn’t wait for it to cool enough to re-congealed, so when I removed the collar all h*ll broke loose along with hot molten sugar.

    Lesson: use normal brownie recipe that will expand, and wait for it to cool. On the plus side, I think it would go great with vanilla ice cream. :-)

    Chocolate explosions, so much fun – and this one was paired with marshmallow. It doesn’t get any better (worse!?), Mike – :) PJH

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  62. Karen B.

    I loved this post — I was laughing so hard that tears were running down my face.

    Exploding spaghetti squash — Been there, done that… Boy, does it make a lot of noise when it goes!

    Another “whoops” baking escapade — I was making a Queen of Sheba cake for a friend’s birthday. I had to pick her up at the airport so I put on the timer and asked my husband to take the cake out of the oven when the timer went off, wait 15 minutes and then take the cake out of the pan. Well, the cake wasn’t quite done but my non-baking husband didn’t notice, so when he went to take it out of the pan the entire center of the cake kinda oozed out onto the rack. When I got home with our friend, we had a nice time eating the half-cooked batter, then decided to fill the remaining cake with whipped cream and eat it anyway. It was pretty good!

    By far the worst (in terms of mess) whoops I ever had was many years ago when some friends and I decided to make frozen margaritas. And we had some blue curacao so we decided to make them blue. And since my friends didn’t have a blender, we decided to make them in a food processor. Now, I was somewhat doubtful about using a food processor but, I thought, how bad could it be? As it turns out, really, really bad. The blue margarita mix shot out of the food processor in a stream that emanated from where the lid sat on the food processor bowl, which created a blue stripe around the entire perimeter of the kitchen. In addition, since we were all standing close to the food processor, we were covered head to foot in a sticky, blue, tequila-scented spray. I don’t think we ever got all the blue off the kitchen walls.
    Tee hee, gives a whole new meaning to Blue Man Group, doesn’t it! :) ~ MaryJane

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  63. Dorothy

    I’m still laughing about all of these but especially the boob roll. Last week I was (stupidly) trying to make potato salad in a hurry before I had to leave the house. The recipe said to put the potatoes and dressing on a sheet pan and chill it in the fridge. What made me think there was room for a sheet pan in there? I covered it with plastic wrap and shoved it onto the top shelf which made the wrap come off and the potatoes squish up into the light fixture. Yuck! From now on I’ll make that recipe when I have more time and less stuff in the fridge.

    Ah, being in a hurry – always the first step towards disaster! Thanks for sharing, Dorothy – PJH

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  64. Sharon

    My opinion: If you haven’t had any kitchen disasters, you’re not trying hard enough!

    And, cats have excellent poker faces and it’s really hard to check their breath to find out who dunnit. Who knew the little devils liked pie so much? And frosting. And biscotti…

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  65. Rocky-cat

    Not so much a baking disaster but I’m reminded of the time when my husband insisted on using his vintage Waring blender to make the marinade for Pastrami-cured Salmon. You know, the blender that’s been missing the lid ever since his mother gave it to him? Tin foil on top will work just fine instead, won’t it? I wasn’t in the kitchen because that mixture contains a huge amount of cilantro and the smell of cilantro turns my stomach. Did you know that when you turn on a blender that has a lot of liquidy ingredients in it and only a sheet of foil as a lid the liquid doesn’t stay contained in the blender jar? Yup, a lot of cursing from the kitchen, green stains on the cabinets and ceiling, and the loss of our security deposit on that apartment. We got a new blender – one with a lid – right after.

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  66. Hollander

    My mother was a nurse and frequently worked holidays. Once I volunteered to make T-giving dinner at her house, while she was at work. All was great until I was making the gravy, adding spoon after spoon of flour from her flour jar, and still no thickening. I hazarded a taste-YUCK! I was adding confectioner’s sugar. Ever try sweet turkey gravy-not good. I opted for the emergency jarred gravy!
    Now that’s FUNNY! Wish I could have seen your face. ~ MaryJane

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  67. Burk

    Loved these pictures! Brings back memories of many failed dishes I’ve made and the occassional tears that followed. Good to see the photos that usually don’t get published. Thanks so much!

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  68. Joyce

    Just found your Whooops blog, I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.You definatle are right – what can you do but laugh when a kitchen disaster happens. The worse one that I can think of, back in 1942, my older sister was graduating from high school and I about 12. Mother asked me to make tapioca for dessert and she keep every……thing in the pantry. I grabbed the disinfectant instead of vanilla – needless to say, we had no dessert that night and nobody laughed.
    Another subject, I made your Spring Salmon Pie last night, it was very good, my husband really liked it. I think that needs more “spark” – maybe a dash of tarragon wine vinegar.
    I make somthing every time from your Baking Sheet and have always had good results. The Hot Cross Buns however got tough (hard) – I baked them on the bottom shelf of the oven, should I have put tham in the middle. The flavor was delicious, best I ever tasted, and we ate them all. (I did plump my fruit with spiced rum).

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  69. Mary

    This is my first visit to KAF….but definitely not my last! The disasters had me laughing so hard I almost did fall off my chair!

    My very first attempt at baking wasn’t quite so bad as the chocolate cake drop; it was just a nine-year-old’s interpretation of some basic kitchen terms. A friend and I bullied my babysitter into allowing me to make sugar cookies while my parents were out. I couldn’t find baking powder, but my friend told me baking soda was exactly the same thing. The cookies looked scrumptious. My brother, bless him, said they tasted pretty good–like biscuits.

    My favorite kitchen disaster wasn’t baking. I was making bean soup, and wanted the beans to get tender faster, so I put everything into the pressure cooker. My son and I were playing a game in the living room when we heard a pop. We found a guyser spewing from the stovetop, into the exhaust fan, and splashing off the ceiling onto the cabinets and floor. I am reminded of that day, every time I look at my repainted ceiling.

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  70. Mallory

    As an intern in a test kitchen for another company, I need to say this post makes me feel a lot better about my failures! At least I know I’m not the only one!

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  71. Cupcake

    I am an accomplished cook….I think… Sometimes you do things that are so stupid it’s amazing. I was baking bread and started the dryer to warm it and speed up the rising. In a “blonde moment” I forgot the bread was in the dryer and put in a load of clothes. Needless to say, I think that’s enough said. Imagine.

    Reply

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