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When sweets go south

turkishdelight.jpg
The resulting confection looked like little "gooey lumps of flesh." (Jessica Wong/CBC)

A little failure once in awhile can be a good thing, especially in baking. This is my latest mantra, after a recent batch of Turkish Delight - also known as Lokum - provided a well-deserved grounding for my ego.

While I'm no expert pastry chef, I'd like to think I'm solid enough to bang out a cheesecake, some multi-layered dessert or a few dozen cookies.

Still, I'm sitting here, humbled, from my most recent endeavour in the sweets department.

After poring over and comparing recipes online last week, I confidently launched into making the sweet, rose-scented jelly-like Turkish Delight.

Despite a seemingly innocent ingredient list - basics like water, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice coupled with a few more exotic elements like cream of tartar and rose water - I quickly ended up with what my increasingly dubious sister/sous-chef described as rose-scented, pink-coloured petroleum jelly in a saucepan.

Undaunted, I carried on: pouring, spreading and cooling the mixture in a pan for two days. Later, after slicing the large, flat square into sticky one-inch pieces, my partner and I carefully rolled the little cubes in cornstarch mixed with icing sugar.

What we ended up with, as he so aptly described them, was what looked like "gooey lumps of flesh."

Further resting and repeated tossing in more icing sugar-and-cornstarch were to no avail. The cubes never set properly and continuously sweated clear through any subsequent powdering.

Epic fail. Even the regulars at work who gobble up pretty much everything gave it a pass.

I vow to try my hand at Turkish Delight some time again, but perhaps after I get some advice from the man at the local market who sells the stellar version that first got me hooked (and maybe just a half-batch at that).

Now, I really get why Edmund Pevensie was such a connoisseur.

Have you ever had a recipe go completely wrong?

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