Holiday baking failures

Salted caramel brownies
You guys know I only post a recipe if it has a generally positive result, right? Well, I also try quite a few recipes that range from just okay to really bad! Those are the ones you don’t hear about…until today! I’m going to share two of my biggest baking failures which both happened during the 2012 holiday season. Let’s start with the salted caramel brownies in the right hand side of the above photo. (FYI, the salted caramel chocolate chip cookies on the left were awesome. They were chocolate chip cookie recipe #18.) This picture does not even begin to illustrate what a disaster these brownies were. I’d had this recipe for Sweet and Salty Brownies pinned for a long time and I was really excited to make them for a Halloween party last year. However, I was a bit lazy and didn’t exactly follow the recipe. Instead of making the caramel sauce as directed I used a jar of ice cream topping instead. I assume this is where it all went wrong, but I’m not sure. As I usually do, I lined the pan with aluminum foil, but the caramel seeped out and stuck to the foil during baking. This made it really hard to cut the brownies after they’d cooled. Luckily I was able to salvage enough without bits of foil stuck to them for the party, but I was pretty fed up by the end of that ordeal. I love salted caramel desserts so I really wanted these brownies to be awesome, so I might have to try them again, following the recipe religiously, to see how they turn out. Maybe for Halloween this year!

Sparkling cider pound cake
When Christmas rolled around I wanted something appropriately festive to take to a party at a friend’s house. This is the same party I made the wildly popular snickerdoodle bundt cake for, but the second dessert I made for the same occasion was less successful. I was really interested to see how this Sparkling Cider Pound Cake was going to turn out, but I ran into a few roadblocks. I followed the recipe pretty faithfully except for using all butter (1 c) rather than a mix of butter and shortening (1/2 c each), but I don’t think that was the cause of my problems. The difficulty came during baking. I don’t have a picture of this cake to share because the outside of it burned before the center was fully cooked, and then it fell apart when I tried to turn it out of the loaf pan. What a disaster. I take full responsibility for the cake falling apart, but I think the recipe needs a few minor tweaks. I suspect a slightly lower oven temperature (probably 325 deg F) and a slightly longer cooking time (probably about 60 min) would make this cake a complete success. I only got to taste a few bites, but the flavor of the unburned portion of the cake was scrumptious! The sparkling cider flavor was very prominent and I really liked it. I am definitely going to try this recipe again later this year to see if I can get better results. I think there’s a great deal of promise there. It’ll make a great Christmas or New Year’s dessert!