Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nutri-Grain Bar Fail or Chocolate Fixes All

I was talking to friends yesterday and telling them about a pair of fails I made the day before.  They said they wanted to hear about it, as much as the delicious, successful recipes I do.  It's good to realize we all make mistakes.  Makes us feel human.  Let me tell you, I am WAY human... I make plenty of errors.  I also make some yummy things!  Here's a story about a couple that didn't go so well.


Shauna is home for the summer and I am trying to have good food available for my hardworking athlete.  She had requested, along with all the chicken I am buying and making, some fruit salad mixings and Nutri-Grain Bars.  I ASSURED her that I could most definitely make a healthier equivalent, and set about searching for recipes.

I wanted something as close (at least visually) to the processed product as I could.  After much time many hours searching I found what I thought was a do-able one at Domiciliary Artillary.  The recipe sounded great, looked good (she had actual photos of HER food) and I had all the ingredients, so I set about trying. 

I must have done something wrong.  Terribly wrong. I mixed it up and found it wasn't very dough like - it was much crumblier than I thought it should be.  Despite my apprehension, I formed two balls and set them in the frig overnight in hopes that an evening in there would improve them.

It did not.  When I took them out and began to "roll them" (let's use the word "roll" loosely here, okay?) they were WAY too crumbly and didn't faintly resemble the ones I saw.  Dang.. now what?  Well, I flattened them as much as I could, moved them (in pieces) to the baking dish, spread strawberry jam all over and then looked at it.

Wait!  There is one ingredient that might be able to rescue this to the point it would be edible, I hoped:  CHOCOLATE!  I proceeded to sprinkle chocolate chips over the jam and sat back to admire my work.  It looked acceptable, so I "rolled out" the second ball and did my best to cover the top with that.

The result LOOKS great!  I have to be honest, the girls around here (Shauna & I) both didn't like it.  It was way too dry and not what I was looking for.  Now here's the kicker, the 3 gentlemen who dine here occasionally (nightly for Whitt) all liked it.  Wow - really?  Waaaay to dry and not sweet enough for my taste.

Here it is:
Can you just SEE how dry it is???

Photography can do amazing things...

Doesn't it look good in this photo? It is a lesson in advertising: just looking good doesn't mean it tastes good.

I am going to go back to the drawing board on this one as soon as I get more of the ingredients I need.  I want them to be bars that we can hold, carry with us, eat in the car or out on the field.  This didn't work.  Blech!

Later that same morning (must have been in the air), I was trying a dessert recipe that was a HUGE fail.

This was supposed to be an amazing coffee walnut cake.  The recipe came from a fellow blogger in England.  That means that we had to convert the quantities and such.  This ISN'T where the problem came - Shauna converted everything just fine.  It was my highly honed reading skills that failed me.  I missed a couple of key words that created my biggest fail so far:

Do you see how flat this is?  The frosting was delicious (as you can see by the places the frosting was nibbled away?) but the cake?  Let's imagine a fruit cake with no fruit.  Yah...not so good.

The key words I missed: self-rising flour.  This is key because I didn't add anything to help it rise.  Nope.  Nothing.  The other word: castor sugar.  Seems that this is a very fine sugar.  What did I use?  Regular sugar.  Waaaaaaaaaa!  The result from these two mistakes was some not so good dessert!

Well, there you have it.  It's all a process, right?  I will redo both of these recipes because I think they would be doable.  Doable and probably pretty good!  We shall see... another day... when I have more butter...lots more butter...

Have you ever had a big fail in the kitchen? Tell us!  (You'll feel better!)


  1. These still look good ! Yes I have had a massive kitchen malfunction. When I was 21 I bought a large bag of scotch bonnet chilies because they looked pretty. I was having friends for supper and was preparing chilli con carne. I put 5 scotch bonnet chillies in chopped up and when I tasted it later I nearly blew my head off. Needless to say we ordered out for Chinese food that evening - DOH!

  2. Wow - so dry isn't so bad? :)
    DD's boyfriend LOVES these - says they are the best desert he's ever tried. Hmmmm....

  3. I had to do a lot of egg free cooking/baking before my son outgrew his egg allergy. There was a lot of experimenting in the kitchen...and LOTS of fails! But yeah, chocolate helps almost anything :-)

  4. That must have been tough. So right about the chocolate! :)