What I've Learned From Trying New Recipes on Pinterest

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

As you know by now, I really love Pinterest.

One of my favorite things about it are the pictures of desserts that I find. (Here's my board of chocolate desserts!) Ever since I joined Pinterest, I've ended up trying new recipes and baking more often. There's something about seeing the beautiful picture of the ooey-gooey dessert that tempts and taunts me.

The pins of those desserts are literally picture-perfect. And so of course, that also leads me into believing the dessert can't be anything less than perfect either.

One thing I've come to realize in trying all those recipes is that it often takes trying several recipes before I finally find one I really like. In other words, not all the pictures live up to the glamorous enrapturing vision I had of the dessert.

For example, I made these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dream Bars. The bars look yummy and the recipe easy. But when all was said and done, they didn't meet my expectation. They were just okay (although my kids finished the pan in less than twenty-four hours–but that's nothing new!).
I also made this Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread. While I normally love any baked good from Starbucks, I immediately had an "uh-oh" moment when I pulled the bread out of the oven. The sugary layer on top had made the bread crumbly, and it didn't taste like anything I'd ever eaten at Starbucks.

I always have to wade through several dud recipes before landing upon one that I finally print out and add to my "must keep" binder.

One of my keepers is this Sour Cream Pumpkin Bundt Cake. It's soft, moist, flavorful, and best of all not too hard to make. (In fact, I just made it again last night and it was wonderful! Although my frosting ran all over the place unlike the picture!)

So what's the main lesson I've learned from all my Pinterest recipe-hopping?

Don't be afraid to try new things. Yes, we may end up a few false gems in the mix. But we won't find the real diamonds unless we're willing to try the NEW.

Of course, this lesson can also be applied to books! With so many authors out there, it's easy to stick with the few we know will deliver the kinds of stories we like. Often we're a lot less willing to try a debut author or new-to-us author for fear of what we'll get (as I mentioned in this post: What Makes Me Pick Up the Book of a Debut Author).

But over the past couple of years, I've begun to experiment with a wider variety of reading, different genres and new authors. Part of it has come as a result of trying to stay abreast of what my teens are reading. And the other part is because I've wanted to grow as a writer, to challenge myself to read popular books in order to discover what's made them successful.

In trying new books, I've come across some duds. But I've also discovered some that I've really enjoyed, books I wouldn't have read if I hadn't been flexible or daring.

Every day there are more and more books available. There are more genres, more authors, more choices for readers. And while it's overwhelming to browse through the immense number of books available, it's also an exciting time to have such a wide variety at our fingertips.

We as readers have to take the bold step forward and TRY NEW BOOKS. We can't be afraid and cling only to our tried and true authors. We also can't let the false gems we encounter derail us and keep us from our experimenting, because we never know when we may land upon a diamond in the process.

How about you? Are you brave enough to try new recipes you find on Pinterest or other places online? What about with books? How daring are you with trying new authors?
Congratulations to Beth Bulow, the winner of my "I Love My Readers 5 Book Giveaway." Thank you to everyone for participating in the giveaway! I loved hearing from so many readers! Stay tuned for another giveaway in the future!


  1. Unfortunately, I don't bake very often because I live alone; if I baked a batch of brownies, for example, I'd have to eat all of them within a few days before they went stale. But I do like reading books by new authors; sometimes I browse on Amazon or in bookstores and randomly choose authors whose books look interesting. And in many instances, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the writing was.

    1. It does help to have a three teens to feed. They go through desserts and baked goodies faster than I can make them! And sometimes I even have to hide them so that I can reserve some for myself! :-)

  2. Good Morning Jody!

    I must say your recipes look positively mouth watering. If it wasn't 1:50AM I'd probably get up and do some baking,but the rest of the household are asleep and the aroma would probably wake them! Breakfast cereal would be on the "back burner" for sure! Why do I get the feeling you're a chocoholic? LOL!

    As you know I'm into "new authors"at the moment (as well as my faves of course!*grin*
    I can't think of anything better than sitting down armed with some "fortification" (your yummy recipes) and good books.

    BTW I loved reading "The Doctor's Lady" and am almost finished "Unending Devotion"..Summed up in two words..Great reading!

    Take care Jody.



    1. Hi Rosie,

      You are a night owl! :-) If I were there, I would love to be awoken by the aroma of baked goods!!! And yes, I'm definitely a chocoholic, although I absolutely love that pumpkin bundt cake and have had a couple pieces already today! :-)

      And thank you for trying some new authors at the moment! I'm so glad you're enjoying said new authors books! ;-)

      You take care too, Rosie!

  3. I also, love Pinterest for the recipes and great ideas, but have to agree that they don't always come out as I expect. I try out recipes on my friends who are always a good sport about my "new ideas"! I never mind the critical comments - and it's fun hearing all the different opinions - sometimes someone has good suggestions on how to tweak the recipe so it comes out better the next time :)

    1. Hi Kim,

      Your friends are sweet to let you try new recipes out on them! My kids are pretty good sports too for letting me try new things, mostly desserts. So of course, they're usually willing to taste! :-)

  4. I have always loved to cook and bake and I love to read cookbooks and look for recipes online. I don’t always follow the recipe to the letter. Instead, I change ingredients around to go with what I have on hand or prefer in taste and make something that is yummy. Cooking and reading are my passions!

    1. Hi Connie,

      I'm not quite as daring as you for changing a recipe around! I'd be afraid that my recipe would flop! Wish I had the confidence, but if I have to change anything I usually have to google it first and make sure I've got it right!

  5. I love Pinterest when it comes to Recipes and some natural cleaning remedies for home and the body. As for baking, eh, not so often. I usually reserve those experiments for the holidays. I do have to agree about trying a few recipes to discover the keepers.

    I've also found exploring different authors and genres opens up a world of different writing styles. We all experiment, until we find what works for us. (Hugs)Indigo

    1. Hi Indigo,

      I've actually had a lot of fun trying new authors too. I'm realizing that while I may not like every new book/author, that in the mix I'm finding some true treasures, authors that I'll definitely go back to and ready more from!

  6. Jody, I feel your frustration about the runny icing! The same thing happened to me with a bundt cake recipe I tried. Delicious but messy. I think the trick is to let the icing begin to firm up a bit in the bowl BEFORE we pour it onto the cake. Trial and error is the best way to find the right amount of firming up the icing needs.

    As for trying new or new-to-me authors, participating in has helped me out there. Picking up books at Half Price Books (especially on clearance!) also lends a hand. I love discovering new (or new-to-me) authors to enjoy for years to come. Plus, I'll eventually be a new author, and I'd like people to take a peek at my books, too. That's another reason why I give new authors a chance.

    Recently, I read Meg Moseley's Gone South and loved it, and I'm really looking forward to Melissa Tagg's new book, Made to Last.


    1. Hi Andrea,

      Thank you for the icing tip! I probably should have waited a bit and let it firm up. I added more powdered sugar, but it still ran down my cake (and all over the counter). Next time I'll have to wait a little longer!

      And sounds like you've found a great way to try some new authors. I've found some new favorite authors through the library, and through book giveaways. Once they hook me I'm a fan and then buy all their books! :-)

  7. I seem to have so many books on my TBR pile that I really want to read, that I haven't been inclined to look for others by new authors. But I agree, without trying something new I'll never discover different ones that may become favourites, too.

    As for baking... I really don't do much of it any more, but I've tried a couple new recipes from friends on FB that were popular with my family, so I'll make them again. I've been trying to find more time for writing lately, so have been spending less time online and Pinterest is one place I don't go. (I've heard it can be addicting!)

    1. Hi Carol,

      Interestingly, I've been making my way through my TBR pile more quickly these days, in part because I've moved to audio books for about half of what I read. That really helps! And I also think we go through seasons of reading more and reading less, just like we do for baking. When I got my first contract several years ago, baking went completely out the window! But now that I'm acclimated more to my role as an author and into a routine, I'm finding more time for baking (and even exercising!). :-)

  8. It’s exactly what I was looking nice job for posting this.Thanks lot for this useful article, nice post

  9. Thank you so much, Jodie!!! Doing the happy dance here*

    As for Pinterest, I have tried several recipes. Some have been stellar, others just mediocre - but then again, I am a beginner cook, so I try to cut myself some slack. I've never done any desserts from Pinterest though, just meals :)

    As for trying new authors...I am more apt to do that if it is in the genre I prefer (historical), but I just tried a new author in the contemporary genre & loved it (Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano)!


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