May 10, 2013

Recipe Round Up: Recent Baking Successes and Flops

Happy Friday! We've been having gorgeous weather here, but unfortunately the temperature dropped and rain arrived today, just in time for the weekend! Hopefully it will warm up again in time for Mother's Day on Sunday, and in the meantime I've got a special recipe round-up to share with you today!

Instead of talking only about the recipes I've tried recently that have turned out well, I thought I would include some of the less successful ones as well, because let's face it, I'm certainly no expert in the kitchen and I end up with my fair share of recipe fails.  So hopefully you can learn from some of my mistakes and be encouraged not to give up when you have a few setbacks!

Today's post is also focused on baking - from breakfasts to breads to desserts, plus a few no-bake treats too!


I'll start with a few recipes I've tried from other blogs that I really enjoyed:

Noon Rogani (Cinnamon Turban Bread) from An Unrefined Vegan

I had never heard of turban bread before, but I was intrigued by this recipe for a vegan version made with whole wheat flour and an apple-cinnamon filling. The bread was pretty fun to make with the rolling and twisting involved, and it smelled amazing in the oven! I was worried it would be a flop because my dough didn't seem to rise at all, but I actually liked the way it turned out - it was more of a dense bread, perfect for toasting or spreading with jam.

Peanut Butter Coconut Granola Bites from Fabtastic Eats

I made these to have around as a snack for a weekend visit from my sister and her boyfriend. These are not a traditional cookie or square but more of a dry, crumbly snack that tastes just like peanut butter granola in bar form. They were pretty easy to throw together (just make sure you press them down firmly in the pan), and turned out really tasty! I didn't try this, but I imagine they would be just as good crumbled up and eaten as actual granola.

Raw Espresso Brownies from Food Doodles

I don't usually use cocoa powder in my no-bake snacks, but what attracted me to these raw brownies was the fact that they also had instant espresso (or coffee in my case) in them. They turned out better than I expected - despite being made of ground nuts, the texture really did resemble a chewy brownie. They made a perfect afternoon pick-me-up snack!

Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slices from Gluten Free Vegan Girl

These no-bake treats were a bit more work than the espresso brownies, but it was worth it to make each of the components! The bottom layer is a mixture of nuts and dates (cashews and almonds are my favourite combo), followed by a layer of date caramel in the middle, topped with a layer of cocoa date caramel, and finally a sprinkle of chopped peanuts. They tasted like a rich, chewy, caramel-stuffed chocolate bar, but without any added sugar or oil!


And now, here are a few recipes I've attempted lately that just couldn't be saved...

Sweet Potato Rye Flatbreads

This flatbread recipe sounded pretty simple - just mashed sweet potato mixed with flour, but there were minimal instructions so I didn't really know how it was supposed to turn out. I imagined a soft flatbread, somewhat like pita or naan, but what I ended up with was a crisp, extremely chewy (as in so chewy my teeth couldn't break through it) cracker-type bread.  I'm not sure whether I made a mistake, or if they were supposed to turn out that way, but I won't be trying them again!

Chocolate Buckwheat Bake

I was curious to try a buckwheat bake, since I've seen so many versions of them on the blogosphere, and my first attempt was this chocolate version. I made half of the recipe and baked it in a ramekin, using plums instead of cherries for the fruit. It definitely had an interesting texture - it was very thick and chewy, and dry on the outside with a more gooey center. I have to admit that I really didn't like the taste and I could barely finish half of it. The recipe that I followed gives lots of different options, so maybe it would have turned out differently depending on which ingredients are chosen. I'll have to give buckwheat bakes another try!

Coconut Pineapple Cake

I had high hopes for this loaf cake because it has some of my favourite flavours, but something went horribly wrong and it turned out inedible -  I didn't even bother to take a picture of it, it went straight into the garbage. I'm not sure exactly where I went wrong, but it must have been my attempt to one-and-a-half times the recipe and bake it in a larger loaf pan...unfortunately it was one of those batters that just refused to cook properly no matter how long I left it in the oven!  It seems like other people have made the recipe successfully, so I might have to try again without changing anything!

Almost but Not Quite

And finally, I've done some baking recently that turned out pretty well, but something just wasn't quite right...these are recipes that were close to being in the first category but need a bit of tweaking first!

Banana Peanut Butter Cacao Nib Scones from Peachy Palate

These scones definitely turned out edible and I've been enjoying taking one every so often from my freezer stash to have for breakfast.  I love the flavours of banana and peanut butter in them, but the texture just wasn't quite perfect, which is why I put them in the "almost" category.  The recipe isn't meant to make a traditional buttery scone, since there's no added fat, so they turned out more muffin-like. Mine were also a bit too dry and crumbly, which was likely my own fault for overbaking them slightly.

Oil-Free Zucchini Walnut Bread from Oh She Glows

This zucchini bread was almost a success, but once again was ruined by an odd texture.  Again, my own carelessness was at fault - I mixed my flax egg but then realized I completely forgot to add it to the rest of the  ingredients. By this point the loaf was already in the oven, so there was nothing I could do, and I think that may be why it came out with a strange gummy texture. I also thought it could have used a bit more flavour, although the chocolate chips that I added helped!  My parents both liked it though and ate it up, so maybe I'm just extra critical! Definitely a recipe to try again without leaving out the flax egg, since I liked that it's a healthier version of zucchini bread.

Peach Mango Bellini Bars adapted from The Realistic Nutritionist

I love fruity desserts and I love bellinis, so a recipe for healthy peach bellini bars sounded amazing! I ended up using a combination of mango and white peach marinated in a sweet white wine for the filling, and I adapted the crumble topping by using coconut oil.

The base of these bars was a bit unusual - the applesauce made them kind of chewy like a flatbread, but I still liked both the base and the topping. And while the filling tasted good, both the mango and the peach became super stringy after baking, so I ended up with tiny "hairs" stuck in my teeth after each bite.  I'm not sure if my fruit was too ripe, or if the wine I used caused some sort of reaction to break the fruit down too much, but I'd have to figure out how to prevent that from happening before making them again (which I'd like to do, because I still liked them otherwise!).

Rosewater Cardamom Pistachio Cupcakes adapted from PeaSoup

I've had it in my head for awhile that I want to bake something with rosewater, so I found a cupcake recipe to use as a guide and adapted it to make these vegan mini cupcakes flavoured with exotic flavours of rosewater and cardamom, and topped with pistachios.

The cupcakes themselves came out light and fluffy, and the frosting was thick and creamy like a buttercream frosting. While I liked the flavour combination, unfortunately the rosewater was about twice as strong as I would have preferred and it pretty much overpowered everything else. I still got a couple of good reviews from people who tried them, but I'll have to try baking with rosewater again before I feel confident posting a recipe for you guys!

That's it for this round-up! Have a great weekend and I'll be back next week with a new (successful) recipe!


  1. Love your recipe round-ups, as always. People think it is a disservice to share the flops, but then no one would learn from your mistakes. Flops also make us appreciate the goodies out there. :) Those caramel chocolate bars look great.

    1. Very true! After a string of unsuccessful baking attempts lately, I appreciate the ones that turn out even more!

  2. i love this post! it's so comforting to know i'm not the only one who tries recipes and then after it's done think, "what the heck went wrong?" and you provided me with the dessert to make for my mamma on sunday- the peanut caramel chocolate slices!

    1. I love when I see other bloggers post recipe fails too, because it shows that they only post the recipes they love that turned out well! And my mom loved the peanut caramel chocolate slices, so hopefully your mom does too! (Tip: they are best stored in the freezer, as they get pretty soft if left at room temperature for too long)

  3. Love to see flops... I think it may be the first time I see a post like this... so encouraging to see that flops are normal!!!

    1. I've seen a few posts like this on other blogs, and I always enjoy reading them's definitely encouraging to see that not every home baker produces perfect cakes and desserts every time!

  4. Those cupcakes sound SO good (well, maybe with a little less rosewater!). I had a rose flavored cupcake years ago and I wish I could find them again. You should definitely come up with a recipe that uses rosewater!

    1. I don't think I'd ever tried a baked good with rosewater, which is why I wans't really sure what a normal amount was to put in...I will have to keep trying!



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