recipe gripes

vintage cooking illustrationIt is a truth universally acknowledged (well if it isn’t, it should be) that a chef in possession of a good recipe must be in want of a good proof reader (apologies to Austen fans).  I am the first to admit that I have been known to make occasional baking errors especially when converting cups to grams, but when I follow a recipe to the letter and it says suddenly that I shouldn’t overstir the batter and what I am actually stirring is something that could be put to good use filling the potholes in my street, then something other than user error is at play. Happily, I baked the lot anyway and ended up with a kind of crunchy chocolate biscuit that broke nicely into squares, but not the gooey chocolate brownies we had hoped for.

This latest experience arose in my efforts to identify a few classic recipes that I can commit to memory and that will replace old favourites I used to rattle out without thinking like sponges, scones, and shortbread. Previously, I almost came a cropper with the odd behaviour of a chef switching measurement methods mid-recipe. I was OK with grams for all the dry ingredients and half teaspoons for baking powder and spices but then was pulled up short with tablespoons for vegan margarine. Why? Why not grams? It’s sold in grams, all the other ingredients are in grams? And do you mean level tablespoons? Or heaped? One woman’s tablespoon I am certain is not as accurate as her grams.

My last gripe concerns alternatives.  If you say vegan margarine and I don’t have it (which is usually the case as it is a poor, poor substitute for butter) can I use an oil instead?  If so, which and how much? If you say soy milk, can I replace it with almond, oat or coconut? And, as I am not gluten intolerant, but you say rice flour or buckwheat flour, should I abandon your recipe or would something else suffice?

Moan over, I shall now go on a mission to compare recipes for brownies and figure out the ratio of dry to wet ingredients so that the next effort has less industrial potential than the last.

 

 

Image via Google clipart search

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