Wow, two days go by quickly when there is snow to play in with the children outside! On Friday, we had a snowday. My oldest did not want to play outside, so I set her to the task of making cookies. I gave her our "usual" cookie recipe and went to do something else. (Note - this recipe card only lists the ingredients and the oven temp and time).
When I returned, 10 minutes later, she was visibly annoyed. "Mom", she said, "I need you to refill the four. I already put in the eggs and the other stuff, and had to refill the chocolate chips and I can't lift the bag of flour!"
She was ready to abandon me. This was the first time I ever left her alone to start the cookies. Now it was my turn to feel annoyed without frustrating her into leaving. It was a delicate situation. I did not want her to quit, but she had just put in all the cookie ingredients without ANY stirring! It looked like a big mess to me. To top that off, she started with the eggs and then the dry ingredients and the butter was on the counter because she did not know how to exactly measure two cups of it.
It was a scary looking bowl. I could not get to the eggs, but there were some visible hunks of brown sugar on top. I scooped out the loose sugar so I could blend it with the butter and I blended them together. Then I threw that on top of the "mess" and stirred, hoping for the best!
It all worked out and the cookies came together. The only evidence of our experiment was flecks of bright yellow egg yolk here and there. They still baked up fine and tasted fine too. Now I have learned that having a method on a recipe card is necessary for a beginner baker! We sat down together and added the method - for next time!
I was able to make my daughter feel better by telling her my own "baking blunder" story: when I was a child, mom always made pancakes for breakfast on Saturdays. When I was 10 or so, I decided to be helpful one Saturday and make the pancakes. I found mom's recipe and put in the ingredients. A lot of mom's recipes used ditto marks to mean "repeat what was written above". I helped mom enough that I knew how to measure things and I had seen these ditto marks a lot. They usually meant "cup" so when I put in the salt, it was written: 1/2 " salt. So I put in 1/2 cup salt. Sadly, this time, the ditto marks were below the word 'tsp'. Oops! Nobody would eat the pancakes! I had worked so hard and had cooked them all up before anyone tasted one. Even the dog wouldn't eat them! That is why, to this day, when I write out a recipe, I never use ditto marks!