If you’ve ever searched for recipes or baking ideas on the internet, you’ll see a treasure trove of beautiful glossy images. Cookies perfectly decorated, a roast cooked to perfection and vibrantly colored vegetables that make the perfect pairing. You’ve got to hand it to the photographers and food stylists, they do their job so well it almost looks easy to create such perfection.
But for as many beautiful images there are flooding the internet, there are an equal amount of.. let’s say honest images. From those bakers who gave it their all, taking on the seemingly easy task of creating perfection only to land a little short. Self-proclaimed FAILS.
Now these ambitious bakers didn’t do it all wrong. Baking is a science! One missed step could have led their recipe astray. Not enough water? Too much heat? One slight deviation from the recipe can lead to a FAIL.
So we consulted with our cooking experts to get the answers on the most common holiday baking fails and how to fix them so your delicious creation can go from FAIL to fixed.
Unevenly Cooked Meat
Cut Out Cookies
Hard Boiled Eggs
HOMEMADE PIE CRUST
FAIL: Crust cracks when rolled, baked, burns easily or shrinks.
Fix: Think cold! When making pie crust chill all your ingredients in advance (and not just the shortening). After mixing, form a flat disc, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the refrigerator before rolling. Roll your choice from the center out, not back and forth, in all directions applying even pressure. Unlike bread dough, you want to handle pie crust as little as possible to keep the dough light and flaky.
UNEVENLY COOKED MEAT
FAIL: Burned on the outside, frozen or rare on the inside.
Fix: If you’re working with a frozen turkey or roast, allow proper time for it to defrost. Sometimes this process can take days, so plan ahead. When you are ready to cook, give your meat some time to reach room temperature. Thicker meats that are transferred from the refrigerator to the oven will often have a bullseye effect – well done on the outside and rare on the inside.
CUT OUT COOKIES
FAIL: Cookies spread when baked and lose their shape.
Fix: Use parchment paper to line baking sheets and chill dough. After you’ve made your dough, let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour before you begin to roll and cut out shapes. After you’ve cut out shapes, place the baking sheet back in the refrigerator and allow the cut outs to chill for an hour or more before baking.
FAIL: Veggies turn mushy and colors become muted or even turn brown.
Fix: Don’t forget to shock your vegetables. Adding vegetables to an ice bath can stop the cooking process, keeping your vegetables crisp and colorful. Try adding salt to the ice bath for additional flavor. The salt will be absorbed into the outer layer of the vegetable to add flavor.
HARD BOILED EGGS
FAILS: Eggs turn brown between yolk and egg white. Hard to peel.
Fix: Bring eggs and water to a boil together. This will allow the eggs to cook evenly and lessen the chance for the eggs to overcook. After bringing to a boil place the eggs in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
For easy peeling, use older eggs. Newer eggs have lower pH and cause the egg white to adhere to the membrane. If you don’t have older eggs, you add some baking soda to into the water to increase the pH.