Failure is not on the Ingredients List

Dear Reader,

How many times do you have to fail at something before you give up? If you follow my blog, you may remember that I’m trying to become a better baker (see post “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Cookies”). Well, I have attempted to bake two more desserts since my lemon cookie experiment, with not-so-great results…

Online “research”

After baking the lemon cookies I was left with a small surplus of three perfectly good lemons. One lemon, I used to flavor water (both hot and cold) and the two others I set aside for my next dessert adventure. I found a “lemon bar” recipe online that called for two lemons. Ecstatic, I did not read this recipe too carefully and quickly forayed back into the culinary arts. Dear Reader, I was over-eager and underprepared. I hope you do learn from my mistakes.

ALWAYS read a recipe before you attempt anything. In fact, Dear Reader, I suggest you even read it two or three times. While it’s easy to look at the ingredients list and get everything from the grocery store, you must also make sure you have the right equipment. For instance an 8”X8” pan is NOT an 11”X17” pan, no matter how hard you pretend to yourself that “it can work.” This was my first mistae, but I plowed on, as is my nature. 

My second mistake was not having enough white sugar. I used to have a tub of it, but forgot that it was near depleted. So, instead, I used brown sugar — did this work?? We will never know, because of mistake number three. I was hyper-focused on the fact that I used the wrong sugar that mentally I envisioned these lemon bars turning out terribly. For this reason, I did not question that the brownish liquid in the bowl in front of me could have been missing an ingredient, I just assumed that it was my sugar error that made the concoction so undesirable looking. So once again, I plowed on and emptied the bowl of the slimy mixture into the pan with the lemon bar crust. Mistake number three, Dear Reader, I forgot to add eggs and now it was too late to put the mixture back into the bowl. By zero-ing in on my sugar mistake, I neglected to undertake the necessary care that baking requires and left out the four eggs (which could have made all the difference!!). 

My Lemon Bars (can you believe it!?!)

Well, Dear Reader, after this third mistake, I could no longer plow on as intended. Maybe cooking is just not for me. I clearly lack care and patience, two skills I now know are an absolute necessity in the kitchen. However, one thing I do not lack is determination. The very next day, I cautiously approached the kitchen once more. This time I read, read, and re-read a recipe for “carrot cake blondies.” This time, I even bought a pack of 6 8”X8” pans because I learned my lesson. To further minimize room for error I opted to buy shredded carrots, as I was unsure whether I had anything decent at home to undertake the task of thinly slicing carrots.

Carrot cake blondies in the works

I must say things went (RELATIVELY) more smoothly this time…. There was only one, rather large, incident. I cut my finger attempting to open a bag of brown sugar with a knife…. It bled for a bit which meant that I needed to take a time-out from baking. However, also because the wound was so fresh, everytime I tried to do something with the finger, it started to bleed again. Well, I plowed on. I very slowly finished making everything ONE-HANDED and the results were pretty good!

Carrot Cake Blondies with cream cheese icing.

So, Dear Reader, in response to my question – how many times must you fail at something before giving up? The only answer I have for you at the moment is that I just don’t know yet!



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