Sunday, August 28, 2011

Burn, Baby Burn!

Tonight’s blog post is way outside my comfort zone. I’m definitely taking a risk with this confession, so I hope that if you’ve ever tried one of my recipes, you’ll stick with me through this!

I burned cupcakes tonight. And it is beyond difficult for my perfection-istic self to admit that publicly!

After spending two hours in the kitchen embellishing a semi-meticulous cupcake recipe with a few fun ideas of my own, I was forced to face the truth: I had seriously overcooked my cupcakes (and made a grainy frosting, to boot!)

I knew the maple bacon cupcake recipe was a risk to begin with. But I’ve made a lot of really successful funky dishes lately, and I was feeling up for the challenge. So I heated up a frying pan, waited for the oil to pop, and breathed in the deliciously crisp eau-de-bacon like it was potpourri.

The cupcake could have been wonderful. And beautiful! I had this fantastic plan to reserve a little of the batter to press into an edible waffle cupcake liner (didn’t work, turned to mush), and I rubbed two extra pieces of bacon with pancake syrup and brown sugar, letting it candy in the oven to serve as a garnish. That element of the dish, I have to admit, was insanely fantastic! I’ll definitely use that technique the next time I make this cupcake. As for the rest of it…

It was really just a flop. The texture came out kind of like cornbread. A little mealy, not super sweet, and definitely nowhere close to the breakfast-for-dessert salty/sweet confection I was going for. As for the icing, while maintaining a nice flavor, I couldn’t get the texture right. I added milk, extra powdered sugar, vanilla, rimming it in salt like a cupcake margarita…nothing saved it. It was just doomed. 

Usually this is the part of the blog post where I post a pretty picture of some food I’ve made that I feel is impressive, with the general idea being (of course) that people will leave nice comments confirming my creativity and how envious they are of my culinary genius. Okay, I’m exaggerating - I’m not that much of a compliment junkie! :) But in keeping with the theme of “the failed baker tells all”…here’s a picture collage of my creation!

He looks sad, doesn’t he? And brown.

The funniest thing is, my dad swears it’s the best cupcake he’s ever had in his life. While I choked mine back with a cup of coffee and immediately began mentally brainstorming how to fix all of the errors (turn the heat down, check the timer more often, don’t ever add milk to a frosting…), he ate two of them. And asked if I would make some “for his friends to try.” That right there is sacrificial love, folks.

Long story short: I hate messing up. I just hate it! I have this problem where I always think, “how could I have done this better?” or “why didn’t I try A, B, or C?”

But don’t we all have that annoying fear of failure? That feeling that curls in the bottom of our stomachs that says, what would happen if I just totally blew this? Generally, my mind responds with things like this: people would think I was stupid. people would think I was a failure. people would think, people would think, people would think…

Those three words—people would think—are just so silly! The truth is, people don’t think about other people’s successes and failures because they’re too busy thinking about their own. So my goal is to just start cutting people some slack—starting with myself!

At its root, perfection is an idol that turns our focus inward. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could transfer all that energy into loving other people? How about into praising God for being our one perfect Savior?  These cupcakes aren’t pretty. But neither are we apart from God’s grace.

Despite whatever my dad’s twisted taste buds have to say about it, I thank you for failing miserably, maple bacon cupcakes. You’ve given me the freedom to abandon the perfectly pulled together version of myself that I so often strive to attain. If I ever do produce a result from this recipe that I think someone would actually want to duplicate, then I’ll be sure to post a tasty update! But until then…

Burn, baby! xo

“Ask the Lord to put awareness of Himself in you, and your self-awareness will disappear. Then He will be your all.” - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

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