Nicci Morris

Life (and cooking) is all about trial, error…

In Food, Recipes on March 11, 2011 at 2:34 am

It must be a great day if I break out the measuring cups...

My cookbook will be a beautiful combination of plant-based recipes, beautiful photography and useful information. But before I can present the finished product to you, I have to test recipes. Argh… I cook and I write, therefore I test. It’s lots of work, but it is a true labor of love. I relish the chance to blend familiar and unique flavor and texture combinations. My goal is always the same: to prepare food that makes the people eating it furrow their brows, nod and mumble. All at the same time. Raised or furrowed brows signal pleasure. The nods affirms that, yes, this is one of the best things ever. And the mumbling? Well, that just means the food is so good that Miss Manners’ advice is out the window. Cooking is fun, exciting, a bit unpredictable, and I’m great at it.

Baking, on the other hand, ranks right up there with physics for me. I get it, but I don’t get it all the time. Far more exacting and about l,000 times less forgiving than cooking, baking simply is not natural for me. I almost always forget something. Or I inadvertently grab the baking soda when I really want baking powder. Cooking is an art, but baking is a science. Although I am accomplished in some realms of science (shout out to cellular biology, anatomy and chemistry…), I am far more comfortable doing something artsy and free-flowing my way to deliciousness.

So on days when I decide to pull out my measuring cups, teaspoons and preheat the oven, I’m in pretty good darn mood. Today was one of those days. I went to bed last night with a recipe idea on my mind: Vegan Grapefruit Muffins. I turned over, nuzzled into my pillow and thought, “It just… might… work…”  before I drifted off to sleep.

I went to work on the idea today. I’ve had good luck with vegan baking in the past, so I was hopeful. I started by sectioning juicy, ruby red Texas grapefruit.

I put my dry mixture together, combining whole wheat pastry flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, oats, brown sugar, white sugar, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

For the wet, I used vanilla extract, vanilla almond milk and melted soy-free Earth Balance.

With a gentle hand, I folded the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. I tasted the batter and it was divine. I had to exercise control just to keep from snacking on it. I was elated! My vision was coming together… I could almost see the perfect little muffins that were in my near future. I popped the muffin tin into the oven and waited.

This is what I got:

In a word? Awful! Hahahaha!

I did my best to salvage what I could. It ended up looking like an exotic, citrusy twist on bread pudding. It was ugly, but “belicious” (as my 2-year-old niece would say, meaning delicious) all the same.

Why am I sharing my failure with you? I wouldn’t want to take advice from someone who never made a mistake. So just as I share some of the fabulous recipes I create for my cookbook, I will also post about the occasional flop. Afterall, cooking (and baking) is just like life. There is no progress without some setbacks.

Here’s to licking the bowl any damn way, regardless of what life throws at you…


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