If necessity is the mother of invention, bad recipes are its ugly second cousin.
In preparation for a dinner party, I dug a fancy cookie recipe out of my collection of newspaper-food-section clippings: spiralled “black and white” cookies, made by rolling flattened chocolate and vanilla doughs together into a log, slicing into rounds, and baking. The procedure was horribly frustrating and messy, as one or the other of the two doughs was (no matter what I tried) either too stiff or too mushy to be rolled effectively. Then, even when cut with my newest, sharpest, imported German bread knife, the dough stuck to everything like snot to a mustache. In a momentary fit of physical violence that I reserve to express my opinion of machines or processes that are beneath me (e.g. all of them), I flung a dough scraper into the sink, propelled by a theraputic yell and as much force as I could muster without winding up. This provided a welcome moment of comic relief later that day when we discovered a blob of vanilla dough on the ceiling.
After all the pain I was excited to finally try a finished cookie. They looked great. But… they tasted like nothing at all: not chocolate, not vanilla. Pointless.
I never give up without a fight, so I was not yet ready embrace my backup plan (buy ice cream for dessert, and send the cookies to the recipe author along with a note suggesting where she could put them). In the end, elaborating on my wife’s idea to dip the cookies in melted chocolate, I spread melted chocolate on the bottom of each one, so as not to hide the cookies’ visual appeal, which at the moment was their only redeeming quality.
It worked well — the cookies were a big hit.
The only remaining problem was that one of the guests at dinner has a strong allergy to peanuts, “trace amounts” of which can apparently be found in the chocolate I used in the cookies. So she couldn’t eat them anyway, for as good as they looked they weren’t worth going into anaphylactic shock over. I should have gone with ice cream after all.