want some cookies with your butter??
December 22, 2009 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Ruined cookies, ruined Christmas! Baking fail.

So I've royally screwed up the directions on only the simplest of box cookies in the world. This Duncan Hines "family recipe chocolate chip cookies" calls for 1 egg and 1 TABLESPOON of butter, BUT deceptively shows a picture of a WHOLE STICK in the ingredients list. I'm a visual learner. And apparently a slow one. So I took it at face value and melted a whole stick in there, mindlessly, until I was like "huhhh these look a little greasy......D'OH!" So, now I've added a cup of flour to try to absorb the excess butter and am baking a test batch. Is there anything else I can do to try to salvage the rest? Master bakers, help?
posted by Juicy Avenger to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Your average stick of butter is 8 tablespoons, so if you add the original ingredient quantities 7 more times you'll be close to the right proportions. Otherwise, I think you should just start from scratch.
posted by pjern at 7:30 PM on December 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

The difference between a tablespoon and a whole stick is quite a bit. I think these might be a wash.

You could increase the other amounts of the recipe so that the proportions equal the difference between a tablespoon and a whole stick, but that might be a whole lot. My wife says there are eight tablespoons in a stick, so increase everything else by eight.

Try googling a recipe for shortbread and see if you can do something with that. Good luck.
posted by elder18 at 7:32 PM on December 22, 2009

Assuming you can't do what pjern suggests, I think your best bet is to repurpose that batter into say, squares with an appropriate topping added after you see what the baked 9x13 pan looks like. And then start again for the cookies.
posted by kch at 7:35 PM on December 22, 2009

Yeah, go buy several more boxes of Dunan Hines and mix in.

Or, just add the ingredients in chocolate chip cookies until the mixture looks right.

Most simply, chocolate chip cookies are made with the following ratios of ingredients
3:2:1:1:1 (usually in cups)
flour:chocolate chips:white sugar:brown sugar:butter

2:2:1:0.5 (usually in tsp)
vanilla:water:baking soda:salt

plus 2 eggs for each "multiple" of the above ratios
posted by jckll at 7:36 PM on December 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

If you add more flour, you need to add more baking powder and sugar and chocolate chips and they're still going to be greasy unless you add a lot, as pjern says.

I doubt they'll be edible as cookies, but if your test batch isn't horrible, maybe you can make it into crumbs and then press them into a pie pan and use it as a pie crust. Fill it with some chocolate pudding. If it's tasty, claim you meant to do that all along.
posted by zinfandel at 7:37 PM on December 22, 2009

Also, depending on when you have to mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones, even though you might end up with a huge amount of cookies, the texture might be wrong.

I hope your test batch comes out good though! If not, you might have to start over =\
posted by KateHasQuestions at 7:37 PM on December 22, 2009

Look up "gooey Butter Cake". It's a St. Louis specialty. I'd bet you'll get some really good ideas for what to do from that search.
posted by notsnot at 7:57 PM on December 22, 2009

You could turn them into oat chocolate chip cookies. The ones I'm cooking right now are a cup of butter (or probably about 8 tablespoons), one and a half cups of flour and three cups of rolled oats (plus two eggs, teaspoon baking soda, and lots of dried fruit and chocolate chips, I'm using dried apricots in this batch and dried cranberries in the next). So you're probably in the right ballpark for butter and stuff, just add rolled oats until the texture is fairly stiff but not too dry.
posted by shelleycat at 8:07 PM on December 22, 2009

I should also mention that my recipe involves making a really buttery, runny cookie mixture then stirring in the oats and chocolate chips at the end, so you really are already half way there. No worries with weird texture and stuff as there would be if you kept adding flour and other ingredients to try and bulk it out. Plus my first batch just cooled enough to taste and they're delicious!
posted by shelleycat at 8:10 PM on December 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am the queen of baking disasters. Don't try to save this one. Box mixes are strictly DNR. Unless you put, like, platinum into the mixture, just toss it. If your conscience won't allow you to, then stick it in the fridge and maybe you can find something to do with it after Christmas.

Until then, here's hoping you're able to make a quick dash to the store for another box of mix. It will be much faster, more efficient, and produce better results than trying to fix what ya got there, I promise.
posted by ErikaB at 8:10 PM on December 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Toss into the garbage and start again. By the time you get done trying to fix a mess like this, you will have made the equivalent of several batches from scratch. Also, are you sure you are supposed to melt the butter? If it says so, I guess it says so. Box cookies sound like one of those weird inventions, like EZ-Bake ovens.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:11 PM on December 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Shortbread is a good salvage idea, or pie crust.

This is not however the worst mistake you could make. Mistaking corn oil for corn syrup in a pecan pie is the worst.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:13 PM on December 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if I came across as empathetic as I meant to, by the way. I think we can all relate to a huge cooking disaster two days before Christmas. That really sucks, but I'm sure everything will turn out alright in the end!
posted by ErikaB at 8:56 PM on December 22, 2009

Worse baking accidents have happened even to people who've had a lot of experience.

I wouldn't try to salvage this -- at least, I wouldn't try to make this into The Cookies You Serve This Christmas. If you want to try doing something with it, try experimenting later, when you have more time and aren't facing the pressure of "omigod other people I'm trying to impress are eating this". As for the cookies, though, get another box of mix.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:53 PM on December 22, 2009

shelleycat has a good idea - sounds like you could be well on your way toward making a variant on oatmeal lace cookies (very thin and crisp, with a high proportion of butter to dry ingredients).
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:55 PM on December 22, 2009

One christmas, I accidentally added only 1/2 as much flour as I needed to my sugar cookie recipe (was doubling, forgot to double).

I ended up inventing what I call "sugar lace cookies" or "sugar drops" (because you drop them) which were so much more decadent and rich-tasting than our traditional sugar cookies. With twice as much butter, sugar, eggs and other rich ingrediants, this isn't surprising. My parents-in-law loved them.
posted by jb at 10:53 PM on December 22, 2009

Hey guys! Thanks for all the helpful comments. My first instinct was to bolt to the store for 7 more boxes of weird box cookie mix but then my common sense kicked in. I don't want that many cookies, or to spend any more money on weird box cookie mix (although they were on sale for a buck, which is how I found myself here in the first place!) I ended up doing exactly what shelleycat said and added some oats which soaked up the butter AND produced my favorite type of cookie which just happens to be oatmeal chocolate chip! Not as good as previous efforts but they turned out pretty all right! Also, I may have facetiously overstated the OH NOES CHRISTMAS, these are for my lesser-favorite side of the fam anyway :X
posted by Juicy Avenger at 11:02 PM on December 22, 2009

Yay! Meanwhile I somehow managed to bake 88 oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (they big cookies, this is a lot), so it's a good thing I have people to give them to too.

Oatmeal cookies are clearly the in thing this year.
posted by shelleycat at 12:33 AM on December 23, 2009

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