Surprising Cooking Success with Pinterest

I think we've all been fooled by Pinterest before (see this cute Buzzfeed article I blogged about for some great examples). Crafts, home improvement projects, cooking adventures...they all look so easy on Pinterest! And they all turn out so crappy in real life.

One Fourth of July I made those Diet Coke Brownies you see resurface in your Pinterest feed every three months. I'm not exaggerating when I say they were horrendous. It literally took me two years to gain back my friends' trust in my baking. And I'm a great baker! But geez oh Pete, eating one of those brownies was like putting wet diet cardboard in your mouth.

That being said, I've had a bit of success with the baking recipes I've found as of late. I attribute this to three things:
A. I'm not as easily fooled by "two ingredient recipes", aka I'm mildly more sensible/logical/willing to put in a tad more work.
B. I assess the source of the original recipe/pin a bit more closely to see if the person behind the cooking is legit.
C. I don't blindly follow the recipes anymore. I use my cooking experience and common sense to adjust if necessary.

So here are my successes. I get it if you don't trust me after I admitted falling for the Diet Coke Brownies. BUT COME ON. Everyone deserves a second chance.

APPLE DUMPLINGS
These are not mine. Mine are not as photogenic.
THIS recipe is my favorite find of 2014. It's, like, a gallon of butter, so don't try to convince yourself these are healthy in any way. It's a straight up delicious dessert. And it's SO easy! Your key ingredients are crescent rolls, apples, butter, and sugar. NOM NOM NOM. Brandon and I had these with vanilla ice cream on Christmas Eve...and I'm not embarrassed to admit we ate the leftovers for breakfast a few days after (isn't it amazing how dessert and breakfast can have so much overlap?). Since then, I've made them for a number of dinner parties, and they are always a hit!

My variations/notes on the recipe...
  • I use ginger ale or ginger beer instead of 7-Up because it's what I usually have in the fridge.
  • I put in however many apple slices will fit when I roll up the doughy triangle pieces. Usually it's about two pieces, depending on how thin I sliced the apples.


HEALTHY BANANA OAT MUFFINS
These ARE mine, and I actually think this photo is quite fetching.
I loved these! I will totally be making them again. Even my husband (who doesn't much care for oats in his baked goods) liked them! The oats make them a little less light and fluffy, but they certainly still feel like muffins. Also, I don't miss the lack of sugar at all. In the morning I would warm them up and put a little butter on them, but you don't really need the butter. I just like butter. On everything.

My variations/notes on the recipe...

  • I added cinnamon and nutmeg (you can never have enough spices).
  • I added mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. And next time, I'd like to try blueberries.


SO not mine. I forgot to take a picture cuz we ate them quickly.
Also, we served ours on ice cream with salt and berries.
These are so super duper easy, and they are such a fun, fancy thing to serve when people come over. It's true that you can just buy them frozen from Trader Joe's (and to be honest, those are really good too), but sometimes I like to impress guests when they come over and put on an apron and pull things out of the oven and feel like an adult.

My variations/notes on the recipe...
  • I used ramekins instead of those little bowls.
  • We put a little salt on top just when they finished baking and right before we served them over ice cream with berries on top. OOOH, that was good!
Good luck with your Pinterest baking! Share any of your favorite recipes (baking or otherwise) in the comments below, or send them to me on Pinterest!