Sunday, April 12, 2015

Throwing Out Cupcakes, Or How To Test Recipes

So this happened:

[caption id="attachment_1069" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Gluten-free, vegan chocolate cake with vegan mocha frosting Gluten-free, vegan chocolate cake with vegan mocha frosting[/caption]

And then this happened:

[caption id="attachment_1070" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Gluten-free, vegan chocolate cupcakes in the trash. :( Gluten-free, vegan chocolate cupcakes in the trash. :([/caption]

What no one tells you when you start testing recipes, but which should probably be self-explanatory, is that you will throw out a lot of food. These cupcakes in particular were gummy and flavorless. Unlike the cake in the first picture, which was light and fluffy, with a rich and delicious ganache-like glaze/frosting, the flavor and bake on the cupcakes was so bad that they were unsalvageable. Even the frosting, a velvety combination of vegan chocolate chips and coconut milk cream, couldn't save them. The only proper place for them was the trash. This hurts me, deeply. I am not one to throw anything out; I make do, do without, use it up, or wear it out. I am my grandmother's favorite grandchild because of it (sorry Scott, Matt, and Jim. I am also the only girl, and a widow with a child of her own to boot, so the pity vote is strong in my favor. #TooBadForYou).

Side note to self: This is another reason city chickens are such a good idea. City chickens would devour these, and their eggs' sunny yolks would be all the sweeter.

But recipe development and testing requires non-attachment. It is the perfect place to practice Buddhism. I have to be willing to let them go when they are awful. The process, the path, is what makes the end result. When there is a rock in the path (or in this case, a low-temperature oven and a cook who ignored her instincts about ingredients and doneness), the point is to deal with the rock, not focus on the end of the path. I really wanted this recipe to work, but it just doesn't.

So into the trash they go.

This is an exercise in letting go and its sister, non-Buddhist trait, persistence. If I have to make this recipe 20 times, tweaking it slightly each time to make it perfect, that's what has to happen. Because delicious gluten-free cupcakes are the goal, cupcakes that are so good that non-gluten-free people will love them.

Who wants to be a tester?

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