How to burn stuff

Here is a perfect recipe for when you’re cooking for people you don’t like or just have a thing for carcinogenic food. In just 4 easy steps you too can ruin countless recipes.

Ingredients (necessary to have all the below within a 7 day period):

  • Start a new job
  • Return from an interstate holiday the day before starting said job
  • Purchase a second hand car
  • Commit to baking at least two batches of muffins and some muesli bars for a food swap
  • 1 broken timer
  • 1 faulty smoke alarm (though, to be fair, I’m quite glad the smoke alarm hasn’t being going off every second day)

Step 1: Upon returning from an interstate holiday (the day before starting a new job) commit to baking most evenings. Insist you are invincible and, most probably, Wonder Woman. Watch. Me. Go.

It helps it you can get cocky and start challenging yourself to mixing entire batches of muffins in the space of two songs. Which, for the record I totally can do. I didn’t say anything about the cooking process.

This is where I was last week… maybe all the sun has ruined my ability to bake?

Step 2: Pay no attention when putting oven on (it is a race against the CD player after all) and accidentally set to grill, not oven.

Step 4: Ignore the smell of burnt toast in the house and play with your iPhone instead. You’re up with the new technology after all. You’re even using the timer feature, no need to replace that old broken timer that has gotten you through years of cooking – no sir-ee!

When the smell does become more noticeable it’s probably best to check on the muffins. If, by this stage you’ve successfully burnt them, just take all the burnt top off and just keep cooking them.  See below carnage. We don’t hold on ceremony here at Clever muffin!

Half way through the burnt-top removal process. Discarded burnt tops below.

Be pleased with your efforts. I think the below muffins are still perfectly fine. You are invincible and can multi-task. Repeat.

Right. Enough with the sarcastic commentary.

Here are some muesli bars I also burnt to smithereens this week. I tried to just cut off the burnt bits (below) but almost broke a tooth on the more OK looking bits. So no rescuing them, straight in the bin.

With this batch I found the real trick was using my iPhone to look up the recipe and also using it as a timer.

When the timer goes off to tell me to turn them around or take them out I just ignore it because I’m doing something else.


After this crazy week of new jobs, car shopping and the constant smell of burning in my kitchen I decided to make a non-bake dessert on Saturday when we had a friend over. My boyfriend kindly made lasagne for the main course – or maybe he just didn’t want to let me near the oven – but dessert I thought I could do.

Thought I could do.

I remembered Frugal Feeding, a fellow blogger, recently putting up a post of Truffles (visit his site for instructions, it’s a nice recipe). Well, I did OK. Except for the white chocolate you need to melt to drizzle on top.

Yea. I burnt it. Should have known. Chocolate is one of the easiest things to burn. I’ve even written about how important it is to never walk away from melting chocolate previously.

I didn’t burn the chocolate so badly I couldn’t use it, but it never got crunchy, it was strangely chewy.

My guest even commented that the chewy topping was a really awesome contrast against the rich chocolate. How did I do that he asked…

Ah, I just have a little thing I’ve been doing this week with food, I replied.

Let’s hope it’s short lived.

32 Comments on How to burn stuff

  1. When Harry Met Celery
    13 November 2011 at 10:05 pm (6 years ago)

    You blog name IS clever 😀 What a funny post! When you have the time, do drop by relatively new space. I’d love to hear from you!

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      13 November 2011 at 10:40 pm (6 years ago)

      When Harry Met Celery! Classic. I’m heading over right now…

  2. lovetotrain
    14 November 2011 at 1:57 am (6 years ago)

    oh deary dear… a burnt muffin. not a pretty sight. i still have an eggplant in the oven that met its maker two days ago. i should really remove that…!

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      14 November 2011 at 7:30 am (6 years ago)

      Nah, leave it there. It might marinate itself and become delicious… though, get someone else to try it before you do!

  3. thedrivencook
    14 November 2011 at 5:47 am (6 years ago)

    I burnt a cake because I left my oven on “Broil” instead of “Bake.” What can I say? New house, new oven. Noob mistake. Glad you’re recovering. 🙂

  4. Just A Smidgen
    14 November 2011 at 5:58 am (6 years ago)

    Hilarious, Aimee! Failed recipes are the fodder for next week’s dinner party lore so they’re somewhat useful! Thought your muffins were a great recovery. I usually burn broiled nuts… And stand there thinking “what’s that smell? I’m not baking anything?”

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      14 November 2011 at 7:32 am (6 years ago)

      I know – in retrospect it’s amazing how long you can stand there going ‘huh, something smells like toast…’ and do nothing.

  5. Hotly Spiced
    14 November 2011 at 11:45 am (6 years ago)

    The best blog I’ve read in ages. You are tooooo funny! The best thing you got out of these disasters is a great story.

  6. spicegirlfla
    14 November 2011 at 12:07 pm (6 years ago)

    Glad to see your are human and have a life that may cause some baking to get burnt! It’s happened to us all!

  7. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    14 November 2011 at 2:05 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh no. Well if it makes you feel better, both Katherine and I “blacken” grilled chicken all the time.

  8. Kristy
    14 November 2011 at 3:23 pm (6 years ago)

    Love this! Yep, I ruin something at least weekly here too. Fortunately I haven’t set off the smoke detector yet; although I’ve come close. (Think opening all windows and turning on all fans to keep it from going off!) I love your answer to the chocolate question too. LOL Aimee! Thanks for the feeling that I’m not alone and the laugh. 😉

  9. Stefanie
    14 November 2011 at 4:22 pm (6 years ago)

    Hehe I’m sorry but that’s a pretty funny story! Looks like you did a pretty good job of saving the stuff for the most part. When something burns, you just eat around the the burnt part 🙂 I tried some pumpkin scones a few weeks ago and burnt both batches. It’s always so sad…. hope you have better luck on your next adventure 🙂

  10. thefooddoctor
    14 November 2011 at 4:52 pm (6 years ago)

    I have a gift for burning bread in all its shapes and sizes! My husband thinks the solution is to order a custom made oven with no broiler but then again I am sure I can find other ways to burn bread…I am truly talented you know

  11. Geni - Sweet and Crumby
    15 November 2011 at 6:05 am (6 years ago)

    Sorry my laughter came at your expense! You are a talented writer Aimee. I always look forward to your posts.

  12. Kay aka Babygirl
    15 November 2011 at 6:05 am (6 years ago)

    Lol.. hey girl.. it happens. I once burned my brownies because I was doing 4 things at once. It was not the best smell in the house and I love chocolate.. so image how mad I was lol. I also do the same thing Kristy does.. open the window and turn on the fan to get the smell out or to try to make sure the alarm doesn’t always go off when I’m frying or etc. But things happen.. and you’re an amazing cook otherwise 🙂

  13. Caroline
    15 November 2011 at 6:34 am (6 years ago)

    Bummer, sorry about the burning! I’ve been there many a time, so you’re not alone. We all make mistakes. 😉

  14. easybaked
    15 November 2011 at 9:01 am (6 years ago)

    lol– love it! made me smile and remember all my failed recipes! 🙂

  15. sportsglutton
    15 November 2011 at 11:11 am (6 years ago)

    Some days are just like this in the kitchen (or outside of it for me as well). When this happens I usually have a drink order food and forget about cooking til the next day. 🙂

  16. The Hook
    15 November 2011 at 12:31 pm (6 years ago)

    You have a bright future in comedy, young lady!

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      15 November 2011 at 1:22 pm (6 years ago)

      From you that’s quite a compliment – considering how much your blogs often gave me snorting into my morning coffee. Thanks Hook!

  17. Jereme's Kitchen
    15 November 2011 at 1:40 pm (6 years ago)

    i bet those muffins had a nice smokey flavor. i’m all about smokey flavor since i bought all that smoked fish!

  18. Lovie in Perth
    15 November 2011 at 3:13 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve been having a problem which is quite the opposite, large batches of meusli bars that won’t bind. And my too clever daughter tells me it’s because I’m doing it wrong…
    What’s wrong with crumble? Crumble is good.

    Excellent post.

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      15 November 2011 at 3:27 pm (6 years ago)

      Actuallllllly – I’ve recently updated the muesli bar notes with an extra binding tip. Stack a tray covered in heavy books on top of your cooling slice. It works a treat! I’m sure that’s how all the big manufacturers do it. Well, maybe they have something fancier then books…

  19. hiccupsarefatal
    17 November 2011 at 12:06 am (6 years ago)

    I’m really impressed that you salvaged the muffins. Wouldn’t have even occurred to me to remove the burnt bits and re-bake the tops. They turned out really well!
    Once, when I was making fudge, I burnt the sugar but persevered, I was all out of ingredients. It was still delicious but more like butter tablet or something. Two people asked how I got such a nice, toffee texture, haha. What they don’t know….

  20. chocolateandmore
    17 November 2011 at 4:34 am (6 years ago)

    Can’t tell you how many things I’ve burned or “cooked really well done” and I didn’t have your list of reasons for doing it, haha.

    Thanks for sharing with the rest of us!

  21. Dionne Baldwin
    17 November 2011 at 5:23 am (6 years ago)

    Im sorry about your new baking/ cooking technique but I have to say I really got a kick out of your post and the creative spin on it. It’s real life beyond the strategically styles photographs and nearly whimsical content some blogs have. I loved it so much I’m leaving a comment using *my* iPhone. We know how difficult that can be…

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      17 November 2011 at 7:27 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks so much Dionne, that’s made my day 🙂

  22. Dionne Baldwin
    17 November 2011 at 5:24 am (6 years ago)

    One more thing, I admire your creativity of salvaging those muffins! Reminds me of when I burned chicken beyond recognition.

  23. Courtney
    17 November 2011 at 9:56 am (6 years ago)

    Hah! I love this – sounds like my life, but I don’t have any of your excuses to use. 🙂

  24. Mary
    17 November 2011 at 2:56 pm (6 years ago)

    This is awesome. You totally cracked me up. I wouldn’t have thought quick enough to save the muffins. Way to go!

  25. lemoncake
    16 February 2013 at 12:53 am (5 years ago)

    Hahaha I love this post!!! My favourite is to commit to baking when I clearly have no time, and to ALWAYS get in a big grumpy mood when it goes wrong 🙂


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