You’ve done it. I’ve done it. Found this AMAZING looking recipe on some blog. The pictures are food porn of the highest level. You look. You have all the ingredients. Yeh, they aren’t cheap in this WOE but damn, that dish looks GOOOOOOD! You pull everything out, follow the directions, and get…
You get disappointed. Mad. Heartbroken.
You blame the recipe.
You blame yourself.
You blame the President (cuz we know he’s to blame for everything…).
Some of you give up. Others try again. Some have success. Some continue to have horrible results. Now you’re out $10 of almond flour, 2 dozen eggs, and half your hair. Not cool. Do you just don’t have the cooking gene? Is it because you didn’t buy Brand XYZ direct from the author? Something went wrong, but what?
Let’s break a few things down quick, then I’m going to give you something that can help you save a lot of expensive ingredients and hopefully some frustration.
- While we all have experienced brand of ingredients that work better than others, I cannot think of one brand of anything that has some magical property that doesn’t exist in ANY other brand of the same thing. Sorry. If a blogger tells you the only way you are going to get results is to use the one brand they recommend (and get paid to recommend), they are full of crap.
- Just because you see a lovely picture of the finished product on a site with a recipe, it doesn’t mean they followed the recipe to get the results seen. Yes. Believe it or not, there are dishonest bloggers out there. WHO KNEW?? I know of a couple of specific recipes for “keto” breads that have wheat flour in the display products so they will look perfect. Why would they do that? See the topic directly above this. Yeh. Money. One thing you will never see on this page is a staged, gorgeous picture of food. For one, I don’t have that artistic talent. Two, my results are real. I want you to see what some random guy made, that way when your results look even better than mine, you are EMPOWERED. For three, I don’t make any money off this selling you products just for the point of selling you products.
- Make sure your ingredients are fresh. Yeh, I know this might sound like common sense – “Hobbit, I’m using eggs that smell funny, is that ok?” isn’t a question I get asked :). That being said, there are some things you might not think about that can degrade over time and give you less than spectacular results. I’ll get into those in a minute. Or seconds. Or hours. Depends on how fast you read and how fast I can type :).
- Where you live can make a difference.
- What you have for appliances can make a difference.
- What you use for baking dishes can make a difference.
- How you measure (and what you measure with) can make a difference.
- Your MOOD can make a difference. Yes it can.
What can you do to help keep your frustration low and your success high, while not going broke with buying ingredients? If you get nothing else from this post, please retain this:
DON’T MAKE A FULL BATCH THE FIRST TIME OUT.
Make a partial batch.
Dunno about you, but I’d rather throw 1/4 cup almond flour away (or let the dogs eat) than 2 cups of the stuff.
NO HOBBIT!! THAT’S TOO CONFUSING!! MATH MATH MATH MATH!!!!
No. It doesn’t have to be. Think about it from a slightly different approach. Instead of looking at a recipe and saying “ok, I going to make only 1/4 of this,” look at it as “what size can I reduce this to and not want to jump off a cliff?” This is how I approach it. I look at my ingredients. Which one is going to be the hardest to reduce cleanly.
It’s always the damn eggs. How the hell can I make a half or quarter batch of 3 eggs???
You don’t. You make 1/3rd batch… unless you like pain then go ahead and split an egg in half.
Yup, I always start with the eggs. Everything else we can break down cleanly – one way or another. In keto baking, eggs are key. You know this already because you’ve tried making cloud bread. If you have, my condolences :). Eggs give us lift. Egg bind. Egg moisten. Eggs are important. Let’s look at this basic recipe:
1/4 cup crushed souls of frustrated bakers
1/3 cup tears of frustration
1 tablespoon of hair ripped from the head
Going off the Hobbit School of Keeping It Simple Method, we can’t really make a half batch, can we? Not without the eggs messing things up. That means we need to make it a size that will work – either 1/3 or 2/3 since we have three eggs.
How can we third a 1/4?
I don’t have a 1/3 of a 1/3 measuring cup for the tears!
I don’t have a 1/3 tablespoon!!!
Since there is a good chance you are reading this on a computer, tablet, or phone, fire up your calculator app and watch this. A cup is 16 tablespoons. Nope, that won’t help us 🙁 Or…. will it? A tablespoon is 3 teaspoons. OH. SNAP! Yesssssss. So, 1/4 cup is 4 tablespoons which is 12 teaspoons. 1/3 of 1/4 cups… 4 teaspoons.
What about 1/3 cup? Thats…ummm…MATH! 1/3 of 16 (48 teaspoons in a cup divided by 3 is 16) is something MEAN like 5.3333333333333333. Oh. ARG! Hold on. that .333333 is 1/3 teaspoon. I HAVE ONE OF THOSE!!! Ok!! So 1/3 of 1/3 is 5 1/3 teaspoons. And since we know that 1 tablespoon is 3 teaspoons, we have this for the hair!! I CAN DO THIS! Now we’ve cut our ingredient down to levels that if we have an issue, the dogs get a couple of cupcakes instead of a whole cake. Nice. Don’t forget you can’t go by the time in the recipe – a couple of cupcakes are going to bake faster than a 12″ cake. Watch and test often so you don’t make the First Alert kitchen timer (smoke detector) go off.
So, we’ve handled how to potentially waste less ingredients. What do we do about the other parts of the list?
- Ingredient brands: read the comments below a recipe. See what others have used that has worked. Look them up. Toss out the highest priced. Toss out the lowest price. Get what is in the middle.
- Pictures: be realistic with yourself. If you haven’t spent years perfecting your trade, the visual of your results may vary. Go on taste and texture. Does it taste good? Does it feel good? It’s a win. Beauty is only skin deep. It’s food, not decorations.
- Freshness: Eggs, milk, cream, those are the easy ones. Here’s one most people miss: baking powder. If your baking powder is more than 3 months old, it might be bad. If it is new and your recipe comes out flat, you might have gotten a bad batch or one that has sat on the shelf in the store too long. Baking powder is cheap. Get another can. Look for aluminum-free baking powder, not because aluminum is bad for you (and it is in high doses) but because aluminum slows down the rising action of baking powder. We want a lift that is going to happen before everything gets hard since keto baking doesn’t have the nice, stretchy gluten in it.
- Location: Look to see (if you can, if not ASK) where the author lives. Sea level baking is different than higher elevations. The amount of lift you get at sea level in Boston is going to be less for the same ingredient ratios as someone in Denver due to the difference in atmospheric pressure.
- Appliances: I bake in a 5/8 size, 30 year old crappy oven. Yours may (and probably does) bake more evenly and quicker. Always use baking times as an estimate. Check often.
- Dishes: silicone is great for clean up, not so much for crustiness. Glass bakes slower than metal. Silicone will cool quicker than shiny which will cool quicker than dark (which means if you leave a baked good in a dark pan, it will continue to bake longer than glass or silicone)
- Measuring: While ideally, I would list things in ounces and grams instead of volume measurements. The thing is, I try to keep things simple for you. Weighing things out to get it exact can suck the fun out of baking. I have 3 sets of measuring spoons and cups. None of them match. They all are a little off from each other. I try all my recipes 3 times – once with each set of measures – and if I can’t get good result with all three, I don’t publish. I want my stuff to be easy and repeatable. Over. And Over. And Over. When you measure, unless you are instructed it is “heaping,” “scant,” or “rounded,” assume all measures are “level.” Right, that’s what that flat part of the lip of the baking powder can is for 🙂 Leveling. Do it. Hobbit has spoken 😀
- Your MOOD: Key. Critical even. If you aren’t in the mood to bake – don’t. Find something else to prepare. Baking should be fun. It should be creative. It should be EMPOWERING. If you are stressed, tired, grouchy, distracted, or just having an “off” day, don’t make it worse for yourself. Stay out of the kitchen and be good to yourself. Really, it’s just food. It isn’t worth the stress. I have days where as soon as I start, I know it’s not going to be a good day, so I stop and walk away. Life is short. Enjoy it, not get all pissed off 🙂
If you got this far, you deserve a treat :). Peanut butter cookies, anyone?
Keto Peanut Butter Cookies
NOTE: I’ve gotten report of some results not being as I got. The recommendation is to add an egg (or you could also add 1 tbsp egg white powder and additional water per recommendation of your brand of whites) to the recipe.
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup oat fiber (NOT OAT FLOUR)
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 Tbsp SOFTENED butter (not melted, NO NOT MELTED)
- 1/2 cup or equivalent of sweetener of your choice
- 1 tbsp. protein isolate (I use this one
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup PBFit powder OR 1/2 cup no sugar added, all natural peanut butter, reduce dairy butter by 1 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 375F. Get a baking sheet lined with silipat or parchment.
Cream (that means beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy) butter, sweetener, and vanilla. Stop mixer. Add the dry ingredients, then the water. Take a spoon or rubber spatula and hand mix just long enough to knock down some of the powder from the oat fiber. While this isn’t critical in the making of the cookies, unless you like fine oat fiber powder all over everything – including stuff three rooms away – do this step :). Turn mixer back on and beat on low until you have a good cookie dough. Scoop out onto your baking sheet. Once all are scooped out, wet your hands and press each one down a little. This will help them spread out instead of UP when they bake. You can do that thing with the fork for the crosshatches, I don’t. It irks me :). Put in the oven for 15 minutes or until the edges brown. Remove from oven and move immediately to cooling rack. Let them cool. When they first come out of the oven, they will still be soft. The cooling process finalizes the crispy texture we are looking for :).
Nutritional info per slice (based off my ingredients, check yours!): Calories: 60, Fat: 5g, Protein: 2g, Carbs: 3.5, Fiber: 3, Net Carbs: 0.5