You’ve tried them. They’ve disappointed you. You tried them again. What went wrong the last time went right this time, but something new happened.
You are trapped …in the oopsie zone.
A zone of sight… and of mind…. (Rod Serling, get out of my head, you raven-browed and silvery-tongued manx).
Working with egg whites isn’t absolute snogberries and butterflies. There are so many variables that you can think you’ve nailed a process, only to find something else is now awry. Hopefully these tried and true tips from my kitchen will help your experience be a positive one and not one where you feel you’re looking at a pan of stuff that looks worse than Amy Winehouse after a hickey bender. (Bad Amy!)
“My egg whites turned frothy, but they didn’t hold up in the batter.”
When you whip the egg whites, go for it! You want to almost over whip. I tend to go for really stiff peaks. Like Posh Spice’s outie bits! Firm and looking they might cut through glass. With a conventional hand mixer, you are looking at an easy 3-5 minutes. Don’t stop when you see froth. These do turn white and peaky!
“I mixed the whites and the yolks. It all went flat. What happened?”
When you add the yolk to the whites, add half or less at a time. Using a tall iced tea spoon (or something tall and slender), make a lazy sine wave (or series of S’) across the bowl slowly. Turn the bowl 90 degrees. Repeat sine wave. Then, add the rest of the yolk, distributing evenly around the bowl. Make a lazy sine wave. Turn bowl 90 degrees. Make wave again.
“I scraped the batter from the bowl, but it went weird into the pan.”
Scoop batter from bowl. Don’t pour. I think scraping from the outset can cause two problems: 1. it breaks down the batter; and 2) the solid comes out first and it could separate and leave liquid. I use a large-bowl spoon or a measuring cup for this.
“I had liquid left in the pan and ended up with runny oopsies towards the end.”
It’s invariable that there will be some liquid which separates from solid, either occasionally or as a regular event. Start by plopping down 6 piles on your cookie sheet of the solid. Go back to the bowl. What is left? Keep building on the six piles slowly. As you near the end, is there liquid? If so, make a gentle well in each oopsie ‘pile’ and distribute the liquid among the piles. Think of the piles as mashed potato, and the center, liquidy bits as gravy. The solid holds the liquid in place, allowing no spreading.
“I had a pan of crepes!”
You can also use mini Wilton-type cake pans or muffin top pans to make oopsie if you end up with a runny batter. These pans allow the rolls to cook up uniform and at almost any size you wish! If you use 6 individual small pans, place them in a jello roll pan to keep your pans from sliding off. If you use nonstick pans, never use metal utensils! Don’t spray for non-stick, as they are already treated! Let the baked oopsie cool in the pan and shrink away from the edges. Then run a rubber spatula along the edges to loosen and invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Other cake pans also result in different shapes of food items. Lately, I’ve spotlighted angel food cakes and crullers.
“How do I store oopsies?”
Storage. So you’ve made it through the baking, and your babies look beautiful. We’re talking gossamer beauty so great you almost dropped your coffee cup trying to shield your eyes.
Let the oopsies rest on your counter for up to a day on the cooling rack. After this, I place them in a plastic sack or container with the bag open or the lid loose either on the counter or in the fridge. Air circulation helps keep these from becoming sticky. If you are concerned about leaving these on the counter, by all means, you can store them in your refrigerator.
If I plan to keep the oopsies for more than 2 days, I pop them in the refrigerator and then let them sit on the counter for a bit before using.
“Can oopsies be frozen?”
Absolutely. I mean we’re talking surer than than Alison Hanigan will forevermore be known as the girl who says, “This one time… at band camp…” I bag mine two per bag (you can wash bags and reuse them, oh eco-friends and frugal friends, so this isn’t a waste of resources or money) and then place smaller bags into a larger ziplock for extra protection from frost.
When I want to use them, I pull out a bag o twins, place them on the counter and allow them to that. Once they are able to be removed from the bag, remove them. Place them on a cooling rack and let them come to room temperature. Use them as you usually do. I have never noticed a change in texture or in flavor due to freezing, and others have reporting great results as well.
“My oopsies are sticking together in the bag and are spongy.”
This is normal when they’re in a bag touching each other. Go ahead and pull out the number of oopsies you’ll need and let them rest on the counter for 30-60 minutes before use. This should help dry them out. If you need to, pop them in the toaster for no more than 30 seconds.
I usually smuggle my buns into restaurants in a baggie in my purse after having left them on the counter. Before I even order, I pull the buns out and let them rest discretely on the table. If I’m on the road, I pull those supple buns from my purse and let them sun on the dashboard (on the bag). One day my son came from school and he said to me, “Mom?! What are those?” I said, “I’m sunning my buns in your parking lot. I love the look of horror at the thought… ahh, teens!
“When they come out of the oven, they’re too light and airy. Are you sure these are supposed to hold food?”
Let the rolls rest on a cooling rack before use and let them cool/solidify. They do have a different texture when they first come out of the oven. They become more substantial as they sit on the counter. If I need rolls for dinner I usually make them a few hours in advance or they aren’t generally substantial enough for holding food and do tend to be fluffy and airy (and fall apart).
“My oopsies are too dry.”
Place them in a bag and seal. they should re-moisten within a few hours. (Whew! That was easy)
“I don’t have the time.”
Shockingly, from the time I turn the stove to 300 degrees until the oven has preheated, I’ve assembled ingredients, made the oopsies and have them ready to bake. It is really a quick process, especially once you get the hang of it! And with three ingredients to memorize, you’re really booking. You don’t need to refer to a recipe after a few batches. The time involved is really minimal. I
am a busy person, and understand a lack of time, so I’ll even double a recipe just to save time.
I hope these tips will help solve some of those issues which plague the oopsie makers of the world. They can seem daunting, but they’re really worth the little bit of effort. And once you’ve nailed these tried and true techniques, you should find that your oopsies will be oopsies in name only.