Latest Recipe Testing

kitchenaid stand mixer on the floor with a broken bowl

I suppose it was only a matter of time until my kitchen gadgets began dancing off the counter because my singing voice is just that atrocious.

But before we get to that story, welcome back to another recipe testing post! A little behind-the-scenes look into my recipe adventures before the recipes make their way onto my blog. Curious about previous testing posts?

My entire baking life has been consumed by croissants lately, so that’s where all the focus is today.

croissant on a baking sheet before baking

MY DANCING MIXER

It was a Monday morning, naturally. I was testing chocolate croissants, a recipe I’m publishing in a couple days. I usually hover over my mixer as it mixes dough, but I stepped over to the sink to clean a silicone baking mat so I could use it. The dough wasn’t too heavy, so the mixer would be fine. Surely the mixer wouldn’t unplug itself and fall off the counter, right?

Wrong I was! That really happened! The piercing bang on the floor jolted through my body. I screamed at the unexpected sound, which startled the dogs, who began barking, which woke up Noelle from her nap. It all happened in about 2 seconds. I looked down at my shattered glass bowl, a direct representation of my heart because I had to begin all over again. Croissants, man, croissants.

Seriously though, it wasn’t that big of a deal. After I blockaded the pups from the kitchen and catered to my girl, I cleaned up the mess and started over again later that day. My mixer miraculously still works, but I’m left with a gnarly dent in my kitchen floor. I’ll just call it my croissant scar. I’ll show it off proudly. 😉

dent from stand mixer on kitchen floor

I thank my lucky stars that sweet Jude wasn’t laying there because he’s usually by my side in the kitchen. Though if he was, I likely wouldn’t have walked away from the mixer. Regardless, I learned a lesson: stand by the mixer at all times or place the whole thing on a silicone baking mat so it doesn’t dance away. Do you do that?

RECIPE TESTING

Like I mention above, croissants have been my main focus in the kitchen. I studied a couple recipes, tested them, tweaked what I found necessary, and played with recipes for weeks. I was really happy with the croissant dough and lamination process, but I kept facing hurdles when it came to shaping and proofing. My croissants always flattened out.

overhead image of croissants on a baking sheet after baking

I began rolling the croissants a little tighter, which helped them stay raveled as they baked. Additionally, I took a second look at my proofing process. Proofing, the process of rising, allows the shaped croissants to puff up before baking. I was proofing them at room temperature for 2 hours, which I concluded was too much time out of the refrigerator. Croissant dough, as you learned, loves being cold.

I began proofing the shaped croissants at room temperature for 30 minutes, then in the refrigerator for some time before baking. This gives the shaped croissants time to puff up in warmer air, then finish proofing in a cold environment. A lot of bakers do this the other way around (fridge then room temperature), but I found the croissants flatten out too much.

After several success batches, I moved on to chocolate croissants.

What a mess.

overhead image of chocolate croissants on a baking sheet after baking

I don’t know which sight is worse: my mixer on the kitchen floor or these deformed chocolate croissants. My problem here is that (1) the dough rectangles rolled around the chocolate were too skinny and (2) I didn’t roll them up tight enough. They unraveled and/or toppled over. Both easy fixes.

Luckily I still had dough leftover in this particular batch. I shaped it a little differently and rolled each chocolate croissant up suuuuuper tight. Success!

chocolate croissant on baking sheet after baking

After another test batch, I was ready to photograph them.

Can you spot a Jude? ↓

kitchen counter with croissants and baking supplies

Croissants have been a baking bucket list item for years, so I feel like an absolute rockstar for tackling this delicate pastry!!! Worth all the time and mess in my kitchen. Chocolate croissants are coming Monday!

chocolate croissants on a wood serving tray

TWO QUESTIONS

  1. Cheesecake. Nothing fancy, just simple cheesecake. Do you like it?
  2. Baked goods with rhubarb. Thoughts?

Have a great weekend!

18 Comments

  1. Yes to both questions! Lol love cheesecake and rhubard. Thank you Sally for all your hard work. Can’t wait for Monday!

  2. Always yes to cheesecake. So much yes to cheesecake. And for me no to rhubarb, but I know some people love it. And yay chocolate croissants!!

  3. I haven’t had rhubarb much, but cheesecake is my husband’s favorite dessert, so I’d love to have a simple, go-to Sally version! 🙂 With maybe a couple notes on easy variations or sauces to have some different options. 

    P.S. You are the BEST!! 

  4. Yes to both! I love a simple piece of perfect cheesecake! Also, ever since I fell in love with strawberry rhubarb pie, I welcome any and all rhubarb recipes.

  5. Yes! Rhubarb!! Please

  6. Sally, I love that you are sharing the trials and tribulations of baking :p
    I know food bloggers talk about “recipe testing” as a concept, but getting into the nitty-gritty of it really helps drive the point home that we are all going to have a couple of questionable looking outcomes before we really nail a recipe. Helps so much in keeping the baking confidence up!

    I have a three day weekend coming up so maybe I’ll finally be brave enough to tackle the croissant recipe!

    Also – yes to simple, decadent cheesecakes! I’ve never tried rhubarb before but if you come up with something I’m sure it will be delicious 🙂

  7. Big yes to both, especially the rhubarb! I’ve got a couple of plants ready to be harvested. Was going to make a rhubarb snack cake today in fact!

  8. I am in LOVE with these posts – seeing the less than perfect process just makes everything so much more impressive. And so much more achievable for the average person! “See, even the amazing Sally doesn’t get it right on the first try.” 😉

    and now, the important stuff:

    Cheesecake. I will often prefer a plain cheesecake over anything flavored or dressed. New York, ricotta, no-bake … if it’s done right, it just shines by itself. And now I’m drooling and craving cheesecake.

    Rhubarb. I am a big fan of rhubarb in baked goods. We had lots of massive ancient rhubarb plants on our farm growing up, so we ate a fair amount of rhubarb things. My favorite (still to this day) is Rhubarb Dream Dessert. The one with a powdered sugar/shortbread-esque crust and a sort of custard filling? I will happily share the recipe if you’d like. It’s just delicious. And the textures/colors – it’s just beautiful. 🙂 Aaaand now I’m drooling and craving rhubarb dessert haha.

  9. Great job, Sally!! It takes a lot of patience to make several batches of croissant dough. I tried croissant dough once a couple of months ago without success-I think my butter was too hard and didn’t laminate properly. I certainly intend to try again one day so I can check them off my baking list…I’ll be sure to give yours a try.
    I absolutely love New York Style Cheesecake and I have never tried baking with rhubarb-would love to try!

  10. I can’t wait for the chocolate croissant recipe!!! And I love rhubarb:) We have a rhubarb plant so I’m always looking for new ways to use it!

  11. Sara Anderson says:

    I have a scar in my floor from my mixer, too! I was making bread or pizza dough. I walked away as well and there was just too much dough for my mixer to handle. My mixer worked afterwards but it was never the same. The head didn’t stay locked as well. I’ve made croissants one other time, which turned out quite well, but now you’ve inspired me to do it again. 

    Cheesecake always seems too much of an indulgence, too heavy. I enjoy it, but never end up making it. 

    Rhubarb is a huge yes! Have only baked with it once in a strawberry rhubarb pie, but loved it!

    Thanks, Sally!

  12. Yes to cheesecake! I love studying your recipes and incorporating your tips for items that I already have a tried-and-true recipe for, like chocolate chip cookies and biscuits. (I have actually completely adopted your biscuit recipe, though!) So I’d love to see your cheesecake tips.
    I made mini cheesecakes in a muffin pan once (with greased foil liners, take them out of the liners when cooled and they have a nice little scallop at the bottom) and it was a bit of extra work, but they came out great, and were perfect for the wedding shower we served them at; we provided different toppings for the guests to choose from and they were a hit. So minis may be a fun variation to try!

    I’ve never tried rhubarb, so I can’t help there. It’s kind of fun to say though, haha.

  13. YES to cheesecake! I’ve been looking for a plain cheesecake to make in my brand new spring-form pan. Also, chocolate cheesecake. It’s been tough finding a recipe I can trust enough to dish out the cash for all the ingredients. I always trust your recipes, so I’d be thrilled to see either of these types of cheesecake here! I’ve never even tasted rhubarb, and I’d love to try it out baked into one of your genius recipes, so yes to that one too!

  14. OMG! The same thing happened to me a couple of months ago when I was mixing dough for bread. I was using a stainless steel bowl so I didn’t get the breakage but I have the same dent in my hardwood as you do. Identical shape and everything! My KitchenAid mixer was never the same after that blow. btw…..your croissants look wonderfully delicous! I haven’t tried them yet but I plan to.

  15. I am so intrigued by your chocolate croissants and can’t wait to see the recipe!
    As someone who has never baked croissants before – would you recommend trying out plain croissants first? Are chocolate croissants an extra level of difficulty?
    YES to cheesecake and YES to rhubarb 🙂

  16. Carol Perrine says:

    Yes to both! love cheesecake & rhubarb. I have a rhubarb plant in the garden and use it for strawberry/rhubarb pie so I’d love a new rhubarb recipe : )

  17. Love cheesecake! I think the simpler cheesecakes are actually harder because you don’t have as much going on to cover up any flaws.

    I LIVE for rhubarb season…a strawberry rhubarb is the epitome of summer.

  18. Love recipes with baked rhubarb, and simple cheesecake

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