When I shared my recent fish-related kitchen fail two Fridays ago, I indicated that kitchen fail Friday would be a semi-regular column. Who would have thought that I would have another hilarious fail only two days after that post? The Taste Tester, that’s who. I didn’t share last Friday due to the holiday weekend. I am back this week with a fail and it is a good one. First, I will share the story, then I will tell you how to save burnt baked goods, should you ever find yourself in that situation.
Last weekend, I was cleaning out my fridge and freezer in preparation for my parents’ visit over July 4th weekend. They always bring tons of fresh produce and farm fresh eggs, plus the addition of two people to the house means fridge space is minimal. During my clean-out, I noticed five cups of frozen zucchini bread from last summer. My standard zucchini bread recipe only calls for two cups of zucchini, so this discovery meant I could make my recipe 2.5 times over.
I pulled out three different zucchini bread recipes: my “standard” aka unhealthy recipe, my healthy recipe, and a chocolate zucchini bread recipe I wanted to try and give a healthy make-over. I decided to make a batch of the unhealthy bread so that the Taste Tester could take over a nice treat to his grandparents. I would work out the healthy recipes to keep at home. So, I set out three bowls and got to work.
Everything was going well. Since I was testing a new recipe and one recipe was going to be gifted, I was measuring very precisely. I was also taking extra care in preparing the recipe because the Taste Tester’s grandpa is allergic to nuts and I wanted to avoid cross-contamination. Finally, it was time to bake the loaves. As I poured the unhealthy batch into the loaf pan, I noticed that the loaf pan seemed a little full. I briefly wondered if, perhaps, this recipe was designed to make TWO loaves of zucchini bread instead of one. The problem was, when I copied the recipe from my mom, I forgot to make note of how many loaves it was supposed to make. Since I only had one loaf pan and the batter was already in said pan, I decided to roll with it. My loaf pan is a little larger than the standard loaf pan so I figured it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to squeeze two loaves into one pan.
You know where this is headed right? About 15 minutes after I put the loaf pan in the oven, my oven smelled like it was on fire. This was of course due to the fact that the loaf pan was way too full and the batter was bubbling over, hitting the bottom of the oven floor, and burning. This was also creating a lot of smoke. I was pretty sure of my mistake, but as I was wondering my mom happened to call. I casually asked her if her zucchini bread recipe was supposed to make one or two loaves. She confirmed that it was in fact two. Luckily, she told me what to do to fix the situation.
How to Save Burnt Baked Goods
Should you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s what to do:
- First, if your pan is overflowing, place a cookie sheet underneath it. You can either take the pan out of the oven and place it directly on top of a cookie sheet OR, if you pan is a mess, just slide the cookie sheet on the rack below the pan. Make sure you use a large cookie sheet to catch all the drips. This will prevent the overflows from hitting the bottom of the oven and burning.
- Next, lower the baking temperature. Because your pan is way over-filled, if you continue baking as directed, the outside of your baked goods will be black and the inside won’t finish cooking. Lowering the temperature will give the insides more time to cook. In my case, I lowered from 350 to 325. I wouldn’t lower below 325.
- If the top appears to be burning, cover with foil.
- Wait for your baked goods to finish baking and it’s probably going to take MUCH more time than directed. Try to get the center as done as possible.
- When you are convince the baked good is as done as possible, remove it from the oven and allow to cool.
- Perform an autopsy. Remove the baked good from it’s pan and grab a serrated knife. Cut off any burned spots. Also, remove any spots that don’t appear to be fully cooked.
- Presentation. Find a platter big enough to hold your “good” pieces of baked goods but small enough that it won’t look like something is missing. Arranged artfully on platter.
Viola! You have just salvaged your burnt baked goods. Through this failure I learned how to save burnt baked goods. Now, hopefully I don’t need these tips in the future!