Tag Archives: food mistakes

Poo Cookies

They were supposed to look like this.

They weren’t supposed to look like this:

It was getting kind of late and I had the house to myself, so I felt inspired to bake. I gotta start ignoring that urge.

It all started with a bag of mint chips, a remnant from our holiday baking. And I thought, “I’ve made those Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies before; I bet they’d be great with mint chips.” I didn’t have enough mint chips, so I added some bittersweet chocolate chips to the bowl and put it in the microwave.

Know what happens when you mix dark brown and mint green?

I don’t think there’s enough olive green chocolate out there.

But at this point, I’m committed. The rest of the batter was in the standing mixer, and it hasn’t got all day. I thought, “Well, maybe this olive green stuff will blend into the chocolate in the batter.”

Know what happens when you add olive green to brown?

Camouflage batter. That’s what. I wish I had a picture of it. But all I could muster was a photo of the mixing bowl afterward:

I have to admit I was kind of in awe of the whole mess. I thought, “Wow. Would you look at that? Camouflage batter.” And then that Brad Paisley song, “Camouflage,” started to play in my head and it’s kind of catchy and I thought, “There’s a whole demographic out there that would love a camouflage dessert.”

And yes, I just admitted that I listen to country music. But really, after what you’re seeing here, you have to agree that my taste in music isn’t my biggest problem.

The next step in the poo cookie-making process is to roll the dough into small balls, and coat them in powdered sugar. Take another opportunity to look at the example.

Here’s what my balls of dough looked like:

Poo cookies.

The dough seeped between my fingers when I tried to roll it into a ball, so I frantically glopped spoonfuls of the stuff onto my baking sheets (one lined with parchment, one without), threw the powdered sugar on top, and shoved them into the oven.

Even when all evidence points to the contrary, I often have this hope that something magical will happen in the oven. Sort of a, “Here, I messed this up. You make it work” attitude.

The cookies on the parchment shaped up okay. As you can see in the photo at the beginning of this post, the cookies on the baking sheet coated in cooking spray did not.

I can’t say that I blame them. Would you do anything nice for me if I called you poo?

These cookies–when made correctly–are divine–gooey, fudgy, decadent. They contain no butter or flour. You’ll probably have great success with them if you follow the Pho Girl Method (aka The Learn from My Mistakes Method):

1. Don’t bake late at night if you’re not fresh late  at night.

2. Don’t make substitutions simply because you want to clean out the pantry. What works for soups and casseroles does not work for cookies.

3. Do make sure the egg whites are stiff enough before you add the powdered sugar, and then make sure the egg whites-powdered sugar mixture is stiff enough (the original recipe says it should resemble marshmallow fluff). In other words, Don’t rush the process once you’ve started. (See Point 1 for why I rushed the process.)

4. Do make sure the melted chocolate chips have cooled enough before you add them to the batter.

5. Do use the powdered sugar sparingly when you’re coating the dough balls, or you’ll feel your blood sugar skyrocket after the first bite.

6. Do not call your food poo. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

7. And here’s the biggest Don’t, which I think should qualify for Resolution #4: Don’t stand over the pan, weeping and eating poo cookies because you’re desperate for chocolate and heartbroken that you’ve wasted the ingredients.

That’s just sad.

Which might make for a darn good country song.



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Meatloaf Cake, Or, When Cooks Go Smug

So it was 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon and I was blasting through Amy Green‘s Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free cookbook, looking for something quick and easy. I came across a recipe for Apple Carrot Breakfast Cake and as I skimmed the ingredients list and instructions, I thought to myself, “I can do this nooooo problem.” I love having quick breads for Lupe to take to school for her mid-morning snack and this recipe looked similar enough to my muffin recipe that I felt confident.

Maybe too confident.

Too confident to read the instructions carefully. Especially the line about putting the apples and carrots and a few other ingredients into a blender or food processor.

Warning: the following image is graphic, horrific, disturbing, offensive, wrong, and unfortunate.

The saddest thing, aside from the senseless, wanton waste of apples and carrots and expensive gluten-free flours? I actually scoffed as I dumped chunks of carrots and apples into the batter. I thought, “There’s no way this is going to work. What is this author thinking? Ha. I’ll show her how wrong this recipe is when I make it and it doesn’t turn out.”

That’s right. I knew it wouldn’t work. What’s more, I didn’t want it to so I could feel superior to a published cookbook author. I laughed maniacally at my own genius, then took a closer look at the recipe.

And caught the bit about blending the apples and carrots to smithereens.

Oh, dang.

Thoroughly chastened, I gave it another go.

Ta da.

I took a moment to reflect as I bit into this cake. Here are the highlights:

a. Don’t ever assume that you’re smarter than you actually are.

b. Assume that you’re smarter than you think you are. If you think it doesn’t make sense to drop stew-sized wedges of carrot and apple into a cake batter, then listen to your gut.

c. Don’t try to be superior to others. We are all students.

d. Read instructions slowly and carefully. What’s applicable to everything from the SATs to prescription medication is good for recipes.

e. If at first you don’t succeed, laugh it off and try again. The old me would have hidden the evidence in the compost bin, but I’d like to think that I’m evolving. Plus I know that you tens of you get a bigger kick out of my food bloopers than my actual recipes. So I’m playing to my crowd.

And so, adapted from Amy Green’s recipe, which she adapted from a blender manual, is…

Apple Carrot Breakfast Cake

9 servings


2 cups gluten-free flour

1/4 cup agave (or 1/2 cup sugar)

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 extra-large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 apples, cut into wedges

3 medium carrots, washed well and chopped

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 x 8 inch glass baking pan with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Place eggs, carrots, apples, vanilla, and agave in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until you have a smooth mixture, scraping down sides of container as needed.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined. Add walnuts if using. Pour into the cake pan and bake about 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan.


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I’ve been at this for nearly six months now, and if you take everything I post as absolute truth, then I look like a pretty fool-proof cook and baker. But if you’ve been reading this since the very beginning, then it’s safe to say that we’re no longer in the early dating phase of our relationship. I’m committed, you’re committed, and the ugly truths are about to seep out.

You know how some foods sound amazing in your mind, but get lost on the rambling road to actual meal? It not, then meet my black bean and yam enchilada filling.

What are the odds that both eggs would have double yolks? Slimmer than the odds that I’d manage to break one.

Snickerdoodles. I mean, SNICKERDOODLE.

Buttermilk biscuit. This actually looks more like a snickerdoodle than the actual snickerdoodles.

Jackson Pollock country gravy.

Then, I went into my gorgonzola cheese period.

Gorgonzola dressing. This looked way hotter in my imagination.

Now, anyone with any sense would have stopped there. But I saw it through to the bitter end:

Look at how my sausage is actually  leaning away from it. Like it’s class picture day and it doesn’t want to stand too close to the kid with the yucky stuff on his shirt.

Pretty bad. But look here. It’s a happy face. That can’t be so awful, can it?

Gluten-free samosa dough. I can guarantee you that no one was smiling after we ate them. Still, it’s nice to end on a happy note.


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