HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Not So Rookie Mistake

Let me start out by saying that I am a very experienced cook & baker, I know better to make these kinds of mistakes. I was baking cookies with my daughters last night. Let's just say they didn't turn out as planned. The cookies ended up being very flat & crispy compared to the nice thick chewy ones we love. They actually tasted alright, a little greasy but edible. I made the number one mistake anyone could make when baking, I didn't read the recipe or ingredients correctly.

I didn't have any shortening so I substituted lard. That in itself wasn't the problem. I was distracted and had a migraine so after double checking that I could substitute the lard equally for shortening, I used 1 cup lard in place of shortening. Theoretically that was ok too. The problem was that the recipe only called for 1/4 cup shortening. I was looking at the wrong line on the recipe. Crap!

Tell me what kind of rookie mistakes have you made in the kitchen when you totally know better?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i was making paella and using scallops. The recipe called for salting the scallops and letting them sit. So I did, then I continued on and when i was going to add the scallops i noticed that the recipe did not call for rinsing off the salt. Of course I "knew" better but thought just maybe there was a reason for it. Nope, was very difficult to swallow and my kids still don"t like scallops ten yrs later.

    1. I did the same thing recently, but by adding a cup of milk to a cheesecake mixture instead of a 1/4cup. I usually sub out the milk for about a cup of sour cream but didn't have enough sour cream, so somehow just got the two confused.

      I ended up slopping it out the side of the bowl and hoping for the best. Oh, and also added more egg because I was sure my old recipe called for three or four whole eggs instead of the 2 plus one yolk this recipe used. What's the number one rule in baking? Follow the recipe. Even when baking, I am incapable.

      The cheesecake was terrific, for what it's worth. I mean, who could argue about one measly white?

      1. three months ago i accidentally doubled the butter in a traditional cookie recipe i was testing. the cookies were luscious, utterly melt-in-mouth, and they were ridiculously brittle and impossible to transport or move at all. except to my mouth. although i probably should have just eaten half a stick of butter, at that rate!

        1. "Tell me what kind of rookie mistakes have you made in the kitchen when you totally know better?"

          I have so many that it will take a week to describe them all. Most recently, I tried to half the recipe because I didn't want to make so many waffle. Well, as I make my batter, I halved some of the ingredients, but didn't for others. The result is edible, but that is beside the point.

          1. I was in a rush the other night and was going to make a chocolate and raspberry tart for dessert. For some inexplicable reason I made a savory tart dough, cooked it and complete my tart only to realize before serving my mistake.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RetiredChef

              Could see this being a delicious mistake!

            2. Today I put parchment on my two unrimmed cookie sheets. My oven is installed under counter. When I pulled baked cookes from the oven, I tipped the cookie sheet so that the parchment slipped off the sheet, and I lost 8 cookies which went to crumbs on the oven door and into the crack between the door and the oven. I had to use my handy dandy Italian spatula to get the gunk out of that crack before it baked on, and off the oven floor and door, all the time having the convection fan blowing hot air in my face. Not my best baking event. The survivors were good though.

              1. My worst rookie mistakes, well there are 2 that I do fairly frequently.

                When baking, I have a tendency to stick my face in the over as soon as I have opened it so that the heat escaping blows right into my face.

                I also have a tendency to forget to use my pot holders. I can't count the number of times I have grabbed a hot oven rack or pan without anything protecting my poor little fingers.

                2 Replies
                1. re: NE_Elaine

                  If it makes you feel any better, I do the first thing all the time. And I wear glasses, so the resultant steam fogs 'em up and I'm incapacitated for a moment.

                  My favourite is when I WARN myself to use pot holders because I'm prone to self-burns, then feel all self-congratulatory once I've safely removed a dish from the heat. But then after I've futzed around with it and need to replace it in the oven, I open the oven door (thus blinding myself, per above) and haul on the screamingly hot metal with my bare hand.. yeah, that feels good. :\

                  1. re: NE_Elaine

                    I do the same thing opening the oven door, every damn time! Anybody else get their eyes temporarily stuck shut because the heat blast melted their mascara?

                    I'm pretty good at using something to grab hot items, a pot holder or a towel usually. What I tend to do is pick up a damp dishtowel & use it to take the food out of the oven. Wet towels & a really hot pan...yeah not a good combo.

                  2. I made a Hungarian Goulash.
                    I grabbed the paprika powder and put plenty in the dish. Except that I didn't check the label and actually threw lots of chili pepper in it instead of paprika.
                    I carefully tasted it and then had to go rummaging through the fridge to add whatever I could find to make it edible.....
                    It turned out to be a very nice spicy meal soup as all I could find were lots of onions, tomatoes and potatoes

                    1. Yesterday I was making cookies and didn't feel like using the timer since it was only 7 to 8 minutes. I looked at the clock, then looked a few minutes later and then once more but the time wasn't changing, even though the second hand was moving. Then I realized I was looking at the hour hand instead of the minute hand. Now, it was obviously 10 in the morning and not 5 at night, but it took me almost 10 minutes to realize it. The first batch didn't come out well at all.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: coll

                        That dang timer gets me every time. I can't count the number of times I've said to myself "I don't need a timer, there's no way I can lose track of something in five minutes." Then I start futzing around and suddenly 15 minutes have gone by. My mom sets a timer for absolutely everything, including periodic stirring, and I'm starting to think maybe I need to do the same.

                        1. re: ErnieD

                          Yeah there's even an app on my iPhone which is usually nearby, and I have two clunky old timers right in the kitchen drawer. Maybe someday I'll learn.

                          1. re: ErnieD

                            questioner: how long does it take to toast nuts in the oven?

                            anne burrell: just long enough to forget all about them and burn them!

                            ain't it the truth :)

                            1. re: ErnieD

                              I do the same thing- 5 minutes in the kitchen is much longer than five minutes at the keyboard. I found a small timer that came with a cord so I can wear it, which I am now doing almost all the time. probably the best thing I ever did to enhance efficiency.

                          2. i'm pregnant and my brain no longer works so i just burn everything now. I completely forget that I'm cooking.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Woodensandals

                              Been there, done that!! And the people that tell you it comes back right after the baby is born are lying ;)

                              They are worth it though! Best wishes.

                              1. re: Woodensandals

                                Last year, while (very) pregnant, I decided to make a cheesecake. All the ingredients went in the mixer. The split second before I turned it on.. something smelled off. I splashed in soy sauce instead of vanilla!!!!

                              2. I misread a recipe too. It called for one bag hash brown potatoes, but the recipe listed it on ounces. I read it as two bags. I called it my five pounds of potoates casserole.

                                1. I accidentally set my instant read thermometer on Celsius instead of Fahrenheit, and didn't notice until my pork loin was way overcooked.

                                  1. I, too, have made way too many to recount here. One notable mistake (I try to always wear my glasses now) was to mistake the sichuan peppercorns for the crushed red pepper that I usually add to my tomato sauce. We kept trying to figure out what the unusual citrus flavor in the sauce was, and then I got nervous when my lips started to get numb, thinking maybe there was something wrong with the tomatoes.

                                    It finally dawned on me what must have happened and we all had a good chuckle. It was sad to throw the rest of the sauce out, though.

                                    Don't let me near the stove without my glasses!

                                    1. I was in a hurry to bake a pie crust without filling (called a blind bake), and I usually use a cheap metal pie pan to weigh the crust down so it doesn't overexpand.

                                      But this time I did what I heard so much about and read about - use dried peas or beans on the crust to weigh it down. So I tossed on some dried pinto beans and they ended up deeply embedded in it.

                                      Instead of a Lemon Meringue Pie, I got a Legume Meringue Pie.