so….I have a lot of good recipes- for regular cooking and baking. Most of my recipes I get either off the internet, or from my mom. If I take something I’ve cooked somewhere, and someone asks me for the recipe I will give it out with no problem (as I did last night).
However, I have this recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I absolutely love. I have tried many many many different recipes and finally found a keeper. It makes the most moist, chewy cookies, that hold their shape wonderfully and STAY soft no matter how long you keep them. I’ve played around with this recipe, adding nuts, coconut….anything! EVERYTIME i bring these cookies somewhere, i get RAVE reviews about them….and I like it.
Here’s the problem. I wouldn’t mind sharing this recipe- frankly, if anyone of you wanted it I would post it right up, because ULTIMATELY, I did find it online, so ANYONE can find it if they do their research. However, I am hesitant to give it out to people that i know personally...people that go to the same parties I do…..even my family! (With the exception of my mom).
I feel really bad that I don’t want to give anyone this recipe- because they all keep asking me for it. I feel selfish, and I don’t want anyone to get the praise that I do for these cookies- espsically since baking is MY thing (and maybe someday I will get paid for it). But again, the recipe is listed somewhere on the world wide web…they just don’t know where lol. Am I completely evil????? Do you guys (the ones who bake for pleasure) share your recipes??
Oh, Ski, I am chuckling in sympathy. No, you are not evil. You are feeling protective about a particular recipe, and more broadly, about your own territory and reputation, and that is understandable.
My own personal philosophy about sharing recipes is that I always do it. (But some people are not serious about really wanting the recipe, so I ask them to email me first so I don’t waste a bunch of time sending them a recipe that they don’t really even care if they get.) I have also given personal tutorials for free to close friends and family who are really interested.
I have found that most people will still not compete with an experienced baker—- even if they have the recipe or have had a tutorial. The fact is, there is more skill to baking than just being able to read a recipe. You need hours and hours of experience to see what is happening as you assemble a cake or a pastry, and you need to know the little hints and tips that take your creation from mediocre to professional-looking. When people ask me how I learned to bake and decorate cakes, I always give full disclosure that I was self-taught, through books, and I always tell them which books were most influential, and I encourage them to pick up the same skill through those same books if they are interested. The fact is, most people don’t want to spend the time, making the mistakes, refining their skills. It isn’t that important to them and they don’t have the time.
So, my conclusion is that even if you share this particular cookie recipe, your standing as the “Baking King” among friends and family will remain unchallenged. Few people are going to want to put the time into baking that you put into it. And if they master the cookies, so what? There are still the cakes, pies, pastries, buttercreams and fillings that need to be mastered, and this only comes through lots and lots of hours in the kitchen.
Well the funny thing is….
cookies are fairly easy to make (in my opinion- and I am talking about regular choc chip cookies)
I am NOT a fan of crunchy cookies, I like them soft and chewy and I like them to stay that way. Most people that I know that make cookies end up overbaking them (unless they do it on purpose) and end up with a cookie that crumbles all over your shirt. Not my cup of tea.
I don’t think making cookies is rocket science. I don’t think any of my skills when it comes to cake decorating/cake baking apply to my cookies- with the exception of being very precise in measuring, and using my cookie scoop for perfectly shaped cookies. So I guess I am most concerned about people taking my recipe, and passing it off as their own (even though i didn’t make up the recipe myself) but…. I was the one who at least did all the research and trials of dozens and dozens of cookies to find, the perfect cookie. And I do add certain ingredients to the recipe on my own- but the basis of the cookie stays the same.
(And yes, right now, I am the master baker in my family/friend circle).
Hi - I have not had much luck in finding a coconut cake on blog here. I find snippets of advice, like from Hector who says he recommends mousseline frosting with essence of coconut and “coconut cream,” and coconut puree. I have several questions about this. There are a few posting of coconut cake I have found also, but none indicating cake filling such as a curd, or anything like that. I finally found posting by Jen, who says she has a cake she loves - white and chocolate with mousseline, coconut cream (I don’t know what that is), and toasted coconut on top. This sounds divine. However, I was hesitant to ask her recipe, what cakes she uses, etc., because I didn’t know if this is an ethical thing for me to do. I am happy to find this thread that deals with it. Another question I have is, do I put my request on the blog, or do I send email as Christine requests in her post. I am not a baker (yet) so haven’t had situation of sharing baking recipes, but in my other cooking, which is considerable, I always divulge resources and recipes as I am flattered someone enjoyed my preparation of it, since usually the recipe is one from a wonderful book, or lessons, that I have prepared and served, so it really wasn’t mine to not give. Do you think I should make a new topic to combine all the coconut cake postings? I have really found mostly MBC recommendations, but no actual cakes. I was thinking of White Velvet. Thanks for your help - One more time!!
Ski, I too share most recipes if people ask, but I do have a few very precious ones that I consider MINE! They are my signature items (like my version of the Struan loaf - standard recipe available on Roses’s blog) which I have worked to my satisfaction over the years. I give the standard recipe to anyone as it’s freely available but then people say that it’s not as good as mine. I’ve also worked on a shortbread recipe for years and even seasoned shortbread makers (everyone who bakes in Scotland makes shortbread) buy mine. So, please don’t be too hard on yourself and only give out what is comfortable for you. You are a special baker and you need to keep these special secrets!
BTW I am very careful about copyright. I only give recipes out if they are my own, are not copyrighted or are available on the internet. Otherwise I suggest people buy the book.
Now can we have that chocolate chip cookie recipe? Only kidding!
haha, my boyfriend told me to give them a different chocolate chip cookie recipe instead, and I said ‘but then when they make them they will say they don’t taste the same!” haha ...... i think THAT might be evil lol.
Anyone can have the choc chip cookie recipe, just PM me and i will send it! You guys aren’t going to be at my next party to show me up, so its ok LOL
oh and Joan, I know how you feel too, because i NEVER ask anyone for a recipe unless they offer to give it first. Maybe I am overly sensitive….but I know some people have family recipes that stay in the family. Like my grandpa who won’t give ANYONE his recipe for hot sauce. Not even me.
I hate to bring this up but, ask your grandpa to write his hot sauce recipe down and stash it away for the family to find after he’s gone… nothing worse than missing both our loved ones, and their special recipes after they’re gone.
haha i know, he already said he will put it in his will…..but actually we are now thinking that he doesnt even have a secret in his hot sauce, or if he did, he forgot what it was because he keeps changing it everytime he makes it!!
haha, my boyfriend told me to give them a different chocolate chip cookie recipe instead
When I was growing up we had a neighbour who was a very good baker and she willing shared recipes. However, she always left out a key ingredient or gave the incorrect quantities. The recipes were always a complete failure when others tried it.
Ski, I didn’t realize from your original post that the cookie recipe in question was a version that you developed through trial and error. I thought you got it off the internet, after trying dozens of other recipes.
In my opinion, the bottom line is, if you put a lot of effort into developing your own recipe, you get to decide whether you want to share it. I understand the reasons why people don’t want to (especially if they are making money from it). For me, sharing is not a problem. But it may be an issue for other people, and I respect that.
Rozanne’s post about the neighbor who gave out bad recipes that resulted in disaster is sadly all too common. I knew people like that when I was growing up. Such deception is unethical. (Only here on Rose’s blog will philosophy and baking intersect!!) In my view, it is better to say “Sorry, the recipe is a secret,” than to try to pass off an inauthentic recipe as the real McCoy.
no, it is a recipe i got off the internet after trying dozens of other recipes. And then this one works so good that I change up what i put INTO the cookie (like I did this weekend). the typical cookie is just a choc chip cookie, but I add things like pecans, or walnuts, or cocconut, or everything…whatever I want that day.
I would never give out an erroneous recipe! We’ve all been there and felt how frustrating it is when a recipe doesn’t work, why intentionally inflict that on someone?
You can give out the source, “I got it off the internet”, and if pressed further give the website. My experience has been that few will follow up. Another strategy is to give out a tip, but not the recipe, by saying something like, “the secret is to not overbake them”. If someone is persistent, you could just explain that you don’t generally give out recipes, because you hope someday to publish them.
A different approach is to think of this is as increasing your reputation, by giving the recipe freely, but asking that they credit you for the recipe when making it.
My grandma would never share complete recipes with anyone outside the family. She’d give a recipe that would work, but it wouldn’t have her secret ingredient (a little bit of cinnamon in a chocolate cake) or her special technique (cut in half the shortening first, then the remainder, and use a bit of vinegar—for piecrusts).