Help me eat my mistake - cumin edition
June 19, 2020 7:05 AM   Subscribe

So I was in the middle of making a dessert recipe and I accidentally used cumin instead of cinnamon. I am certain I can make something savory out of this but I don’t know what.

So this is what is currently in the bowl:

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cumin
1 egg
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Assume I have all ingredients that can be bought at a non-specialty grocery store, and an above average (but not expert) amount of skill. I do not have an instant pot or a pizza stone, and none of our pans are cast iron (though we have heavy calphalon)

Appreciate any and all ideas!
posted by Mchelly to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oops - and 3/4 cups sugar. Maybe I need alternate dessert options also (instead?)
posted by Mchelly at 7:09 AM on June 19, 2020

What was the original recipe?
posted by ShooBoo at 7:10 AM on June 19, 2020

I can see baking soda but no source of acid, like buttermilk or vinegar, to trigger the leavening. Can you post the whole original recipe?

Adding some chopped nuts or crispy fried onions may make this work.
posted by maudlin at 7:10 AM on June 19, 2020

I reckon you could turn it into carrot cake or apple cake - I'd add the cinnamon too and some mixed spice to either. Apple cake I'd grate some in and add some yoghurt or I'd use the carrots cooked and pureed.
posted by london explorer girl at 7:16 AM on June 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Do you have a waffle iron? I would consider waffling the batter and seeing what happens.

(I would add one tsp of baking powder, and enough buttermilk, or milk to make a thick batter)

worst case, waffles that you throw out.
best case, interesting savory waffles that you use as a base for a savory dinner!

I find that waffling things tends to hide flavors really well- usually you need to overload waffle batter to get it to be actually flavorful.
posted by larthegreat at 7:17 AM on June 19, 2020 [8 favorites]

Assuming that this is some kind of gingerbread style soft cookie, I'd say that you might add molasses in order to get a neutral but strong flavour to balance the cumin, and possibly candied citrus peel in order to lighten up the overall taste.

I'm surprised to see that there are sweet recipes that use cumin and vanilla. I suspect that the combination of the two flavours might be different than the sum of the two parts, just as Coke is principally a vanilla + cinnamon flavour blend.
posted by ambrosen at 7:19 AM on June 19, 2020

Cumin works in fruit cakes along with cloves, cinnamon, etc. I would look up fruit cake recipes and adapt to one of those. You'll need some dried fruit like raisins, and maybe some nuts.
posted by beagle at 7:23 AM on June 19, 2020

Cumin is a distinctive flavour, and can go from a subtle hint to overpowering pretty quickly.

I'd probably just bake it as it is, taste it, pull a face, and then crumble it up for the birds. That's not a lot of ingredients, and unless the idea of something very cumin-y and sweet appeals to you (it doesn't to me), I'd start over.
posted by pipeski at 7:27 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Some variation on cornbread might be able to straddle that amount of sugar and that amount of cumin.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:29 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Your ingredients list kind of resembles the beginnings of a zucchini bread. I'm wondering if you could instead make a double recipe of savory sweet potato bread. To adapt the recipe, I'd leave out all the additional spices, the nuts, and most of the sugar (I'd be asking myself: how much sugar do I like in a cornbread? and using about that amount). I think a cumin-and-ginger flavored sweet potato bread might be tasty with chili, for instance.

Making the mashed sweet potatoes is very quick in the microwave -- I just take the whole sweet potato and poke it with a fork and put it in for about ~7 minutes, with a break in the middle to flip it over, and testing with a fork to see when it's done all the way through.
posted by ourobouros at 7:31 AM on June 19, 2020

Savoury pancakes.

There are plenty of sweet curries like korma so the sugar is not a problem. Separate out one quarter of your prepared ingredients, mix them with additional flour and egg and maybe yogurt or sour cream to turn it into batter. I would also add snips of something green to speckle the batter and add colour and warning that this is not a bland pancake, if you have access to chives or some frozen spinach. Then fry up your first pancake as a test. Adjust the next quarter of the prepared mixture into a different pancake if the first one is chokingly strong, or too flabby or whatever. You may want to add a little turmeric to cut the cumin. If the first version works simply repeat with the same proportions of ingredients.

Serve rolled up around a mixture of fried onions and vegetables.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:39 AM on June 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

My sister-in-law, a master baker, once put dried mustard into a ginger bar recipe instead of the powdered ginger, and she just shrugged and mail them to me with a note saying “these are going to be weird.“ They were actually pretty good, and I periodically think about making them myself.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:42 AM on June 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Riffing on what Jane the Brown suggested, separate out about 1/2 the batter and add 2-4 cups of matchsticked mixed veggies - zucchini, carrots, onions, leeks, cabbage, green onions, mushrooms, whatever you have in the house - and fry into savory pancakes. Here's a recipe for a korean savory pancake; what you have in the bowl already is similar enough to a double batch of the batter that you should be able to just follow the directions and scale it appropriately.
posted by A Blue Moon at 7:49 AM on June 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

The other day I accidentally added chilli powder instead of cinnamon to a recipe and was extremely annoyed with myself so this question is very relatable. I don't really have any suggestions (although I do love cumin + sweet potato so am into ourobouros' suggestion) but just wanted to express my solidarity with your plight!
posted by Panthalassa at 8:16 AM on June 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'd add a bunch of butter (maybe 12-14 TBSP, that's right, a stick and a half) and brown sugar (maybe a cup), taste it to get the brown sugar amount right, maybe add a pinch more salt (again, to your own taste), and make butter cookies. They will be interesting as heck, and probably delicious.

You can try this by taking a quarter of the current mixture and add some butter and sugar to that, maybe drop tablespoons on a cookie sheet and bake for 9 minutes at 400 fahrenheit, then see what you get. Yes to adding cream of tartar or a dash of apple cider vinegar if you want the dough to rise more.
posted by amtho at 8:40 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

The problem is the 3/4 cups of sugar. For 3 cups flour, that's going to be pretty sweet. Not sweet like cake, but like a mild pastry. For comparison, I use 1/2 cup sugar for 4 cups of flour in one loaf of challah.

If you really want to use this, what I'd do is add one more cup of flour (to take the sweetness down) and another 1/2-1 tsp of salt (to add savory flavor support.) I would also add a little acid something to use and neutralize that baking soda. Lemon or vinegar is fine, whatever you have, use a tsp or so. Or some yogurt, like 1/4-1/2 cup.

I would also add some black pepper and some coriander if you have it. Garlic too or caramelized onions if you have.

Then bake the dough in a way that doesn't require full leavening. I'm thinking patted into a pan like focaccia; or perhaps breadsticks. I think it'll be weird but good.

(I see some folks suggesting continuing to go sweet, just treating the cumin as another spice. I... disagree vehemently with this advice. 2 tsp of cumin is a lot. That's sweet falafel.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:41 AM on June 19, 2020

I might save it in a jar and use it to coat fried chicken or fish.
Make it into gingerbread and also add some cayenne to heat it up.
Using it in batter is also good. I recently made a scallion & sweet potato fritter that would have happily accommodated cumin.
Make it into Naan/flat bread.
Corn bread will accommodate cumin and sugar, but you'd end up making a lot of 1/2 wheat flour 1/2 corn flour bread.
posted by theora55 at 8:48 AM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I did exactly this with an apple crumble once. I added twice the cinnamon I had originally intended in the hopes of drowning out the cumin, and cooked it anyway. The result was a little odd but non-horrible and definitely edible. although I wouldn't try it again.
posted by Fuchsoid at 9:00 AM on June 19, 2020

Corn fritters? Sweet won’t hurt those, neither will cumin.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 9:29 AM on June 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

you're pretty close a an enriched dough that you could probably use to make like - a savory cinnamon-type roll? a bit of doctoring to get it to the right consistency, and maybe adding some yeast since I think your baking soda will be burnt out anyways, and then maybe a pizza-sauce like filling with some cheese (maybe an old sharp cheddar to help balance out the slight sweetness of the dough) would be delicious!
posted by euphoria066 at 9:36 AM on June 19, 2020

I love all the answers - thanks so much!

Here's what I ended up doing: I added about a half a cup of water (which was the next step in the recipe (yep, it was gingerbread) so it would make a workable dough. Then I split the dough in half

Half of it, I rolled into balls and baked them as cookies, per pipeski. I dusted them with powdered sugar.
Result: They are... surprisingly not-terrible. Everyone finished the one they took but only one person took two. So far.

The other half, I took OneSmartMonkey's advice, added a can of corn that I pulsed in the food processor and some dehydrated spinach, and made corn fritters.
Result: These are seriously amazing. You should try this at home.

I marked a few additional best answers because there were a lot of things I thought were great ideas, but abandoned because they seemed like a bit more effort than I wanted to make for something that might have ended up garbage-fodder. But all of you guys are awesome! Thanks!
posted by Mchelly at 11:45 AM on June 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

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