Because of my mistake in a recipe published more than 40 years ago, my first try with Edith Teel’s Apple Rolls didn’t turn out quite right. Fresh out of the oven, these  might not look too bad, but they’re floating on about an inch of hot cinnamon-sugar water.

Anyone can flub a recipe. But it’s far worse when you realize that the flub is because of a mistake you made more than 40 years ago!

That’s what happened to me on my first try preparing Edith Teel’s Apple Roll, one of the recipes included in the first edition of The Original Tehachapi Apple Book.

You can find the recipe here. As you will see, it’s basically sliced apples rolled up in dough, then cut like cinnamon rolls and baked with a glaze topping.

Except the recipe as I typed it up and printed it more than 40 years ago called for a cinnamon-sugar mixture with two cups of water. Even as I made that mixture I was concerned.

The apple rolls were literally drowning in the cinnamon-sugar water!

That seemed like a lot of water. But I wanted to follow the recipe, and I hadn’t yet figured out that I must have made a mistake when I typed up the recipe. So, I proceeded. What choice did I have after pouring all that water over the rolls?

As the apple rolls began to bake, I was hopeful. Perhaps the stiff dough was intended to absorb all that water.

Alas, no. Although they looked OK on top, the baked rolls were floating on an inch of hot cinnamon-sugar water.

The bottoms of the rolls were very wet. That’s because they had been floating in hot cinnamon water!

They were edible. And pretty tasty! But it was clear to me there was a problem, and I was so sad. I really wanted this recipe to work. Did I mention that the submitter of this recipe was formerly my mother-in-law? And a very sweet lady. If she noticed that I made the mistake way back when, I suspect she was too nice to mention it. How embarrassing!

After some thought, I deduced that I had typed “cups” instead of “tablespoons,” when publishing the recipe in 1973. I tried the recipe again the next day with a change in the amount of water (to basically make a simple glaze for the top of the rolls).

So, what do you do when you flub a recipe? First, determine whether you made a mistake (putting in tablespoons of an ingredient instead of teaspoons is pretty common), or if there is a problem with the recipe.

And if you decide there’s a problem, see if you can come up with a fix. One way is to compare it to other similar recipes. In the case of this recipe, it was obvious to me that I had put in too much water. I don’t have the original hand-written recipe, so I couldn’t compare, but I think my deduction was right — or at least my correction works and these make a very tasty dessert or breakfast roll, using only one apple and ingredients you probably have in your kitchen!