Recipe fails

Muffins, which look similar to mine but probably taste better and are much better photographed, by freedigitalphotos.netToday, I sent the girl and the man off to their several labours with Really Ordinary Muffins.

They contain all natural ingredients and many healthful and tasty things, and yet, the combined total is just… ordinary.  Not terrible, but boring.

In itself, this is not a complete disaster.  Not every recipe works.  They’ll be gone soon.  No harm done and my family is way too well house-trained to complain about home-baking that they didn’t make.

The thing that is getting to me is that I HAVE MADE THIS RECIPE BEFORE AND IT WAS BAD THEN TOO.  And I tried it again, with some tweaking, to see if I could fix it.

Why do I do this?

It’s not as though the world is short of recipes.  The internet is awash with recipes for muffins.  In my own recipe stash I have at least five tried and true favourites, at least three of which are at least as healthy as these (and the other two of which are death on a plate).

And yet, I feel the need to tweak a recipe that was boring the first time.  It’s as if I can’t leave any recipe behind.  I am the Marine of muffins.  I must maintain the faith that all recipes are worthy and can be rehabilitated.

But I’m here to say that this one really can be thrown out.  I will waste no more muffin cases on these Really Ordinary Muffins.  I will move on.

But if feels like a failure.

Am I completely insane, or just a little anal?

Enquiring minds want to know…

(Please note the photo above is not of my muffins.  I didn’t have the heart to photograph them.  I found this photo on and put it here as a mute testimony to what my muffins should have been and yet aren’t.  RIP best intentions.)

6 thoughts on “Recipe fails

  1. I do relate to your muffin experience, Imelda. Quite regularly my culinary/baking efforts are if not actual disasters, very average and bland. Just this week my berry slice (with buttermilk and polenta) was a major disappointment, barely edible. No one even tried to preserve my waning chef’s ego by saying, “Mmm, tasty” or “Quite nice”! Luckily we have chooks and they enjoy all the rejects 🙂 (BTW enjoying your book – the writing is beautiful).

    • Oh thank you! I’ve gone all blushy!

      So glad it’s not just me! There’s something so deflating about lining up all these great ingredients, slaving over the recipe only to have it turn out… boring. Inedible would almost be better! That buttermilk and polenta thing sounds exactly like the kind of thing I try from magazines, thinking it sounds cool, only to find it really isn’t. Ah well. We don’t have chooks, but we do have a dog and she is also very accomodating! 🙂 Thanks for the comment and very much for the compliment. You’ve made my day.

  2. Oh I love your blog Imelda! It starts my day beautifully.
    You’re talking with someone whose husband describes her muffins as: “like hockey pucks” so I’m not going to be a lot of help. I think there’s something about cup cakes and muffins that makes one persevere and try with them LONG after you’d give another recipe up for dead. If I make something (like for dinner) and feel like the recipe was a failure, then that gets consigned to the dark distant memory bin. But I will persevere with muffins in the hope of finding that one perfect never-fail recipe that gets mixed together in seconds and baked beautifully in minutes… Until then, I will tinker!
    Happy baking!
    Lily M

    • Thanks, Lily! I am beginning to think that perhaps the muffin as a concept has had its day. And perhaps it was flawed in the first place. It cannot be denied that the best eating muffins I make are the ones that are actually a traditional ‘cream butter and sugar’ cake recipe, with lovely things like chocolate chips in. Or in other words, a real cake, just cooked in muffin cases. I think it’s because we hope that there is a perfect muffin that is actually healthy (as opposed to pretend healthy) and also easy and quick. It may be nirvana, but who knows? With enough tinkering, we may get there in the end. Semper Fi, Lily!

  3. I feel upset when I fail in doing a recipe too so I can relate. That reminds me of my famous orange cake that was so liquid it overflow in my oven…! Never tried the recipe again!

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