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!

224 Comments

  1. So interesting to see the whole process of testing these croissants! I never thought it took this many tries! I can’t wait for the chocolate ones 🙂

    I LOVE cheesecake, and the plain ones are just as delicious as the fancy ones! You really let the vanilla and graham crackers shine. Also, you get to appreciate the slight tartness more. I’ve never tried any rhubarb desserts!

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

  3. Tariq Turner says:

    Yes and yes! I was never brave enough to attempt homemade cheesecake until I found you! Now it’s my husband’s favorite I’m glad your mixer survived and Jude wasn’t injured!

  4. I love cheesecake but only Jrs. cheesecake in NY. My husband always brings leftovers from work (brokers in NY ship them to my husbands office during the holidays). I had requested a Jrs. Cheesecake for a little birthday celebration of our new son. Well, we didn’t really want to spend the $$ on having it shipped and all so my husband bought their cookbook and made me one. Sorry for the long story. The sponge cake is a must and makes it so much better. My husband doesn’t bake, but cheesecake is his specialty. 

    I’d love to try rhubarb. Strawberry and rhubarb always seems popular together. 

  5. Someday I will try croissants! Maybe after I see the chocolate ones? I always find chocolate croissants too sweet. Chocolate should be rich, not hurt your teeth sweet.
    Speaking of chocolate, it’s gotta be chocolate cheesecake. I don’t care for plain cheesecake really. Though I really want to try the light fluffy Japanese cheesecake that’s popping up all over the place!

  6. 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!!

  7. 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!! 

  8. Thank you for tearing the croissant so diligently! I can’t wait to give them a try…next week is my time!!
    Oh yes, I love cheesecake…all kinds! 🙂
    Rhubarb is lovely with pastry..by itself and with other fruit. I have some planted in my side garden and love fresh rhubarb in the summer!

  9. **testing, not ‘tearing’, thank you spell check. 

  10. LOVE cheesecake! my very favorite is peanut butter cheesecake and chocolate ganache on top (fine cooking recipe)

  11. Jenny from jennyisbaking.com says:

    Sally, thank you for your honesty! I really like that you show us how difficult it sometimes is to come up with these perfect recipes.
    I would be definitely interested in a classic cheesecake, for me the texture has to be right and I am very picky about that. Regarding rhubarb, yes, I love rhubarb! Germans love to make pies with a meringue topping, just as an idea to think about.

  12. Yum! The croissants look delicious. I’m not a huge fan of cheescake, but that’s probably because I’m lactose intolerant… However, a recipe for mini rhubarb cakes/mini loaves (I think Panera sells them sometimes) would be a lot of fun! My church is doing a bake sale soon, and so I’ve been looking for a few recipes that would work for that sort of event! 🙂 Thanks!

  13. I love Cheesecake whether it’s light and airy or dense and creamy! Yum! It’s my alltime favorite!
    I like rhubarb, too, but only if it’s not overcooked which caan easily happen when it’s baked.

  14. You know it’s gonna be a fun post when you click SBA and are immediately greeted by the site of a kitchen crime scene.

    Really love these bites-of-life behind the scenes! I just see croissants being made on TV and I’m already super intimidated… Also, if it had been me who had placed a dent like that on OUR floor, my mom would have a fit like nothing you’ve ever seen. Good thing you’re queen of your own castle~!

  15. Please please share both – cheesecake and baked goods with rhubarb! Sounds so exciting!
    I also can´t wait to try out your croissant recipe!
    Thank you so much for sharing all those great recipes – that inspire me every time!

  16. 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.

  17. Always love cheesecake – who doesn’t? Also I would adore some rhubarb recipes. We just moved to England from the States and we have been afraid to try any rhubarb – what is it? Is it celery? Is it fruit? I hear it’s good in baking though and you’re the gal to trust.

  18. Ok I was going to do croissants this weekend but I will wait just a few more days!!! Love cheesecake, with flavors. Plain is boring. And love rhubarb and it’s tartness, but not with cooked (mushy) strawberries. Other berries or by its plain, tart self! 

  19. Debbie Barber says:

    Sally, I love your recipes and have lots of favorites.
    I can’t wait for my rhubarb to be ready this summer, I use my Mom’s Ritz cracker rhubarb pie recipe it’s so good and my Mom was a great baker and cook.

  20. Cheesecake is ok, but I am not a rhubarb fan. 
    Thank you for putting so much work into your croissant testing so we have a chance to be successful! 

  21. “It was a Monday morning, naturally.” 😀
    You make it sound so funny, although it could’ve been a real disaster! I’m glad everything turned out well (without the mixer bowl eventually though)!

    Looking forward to the chocolate croissants soooo much!

    P.S. Not a fan of rhubarb although am a big veggie fan in general, but the cheesecake always gets the thumbs up for any occasion! 🙂

  22. These look so delicious! I have not made anything with yeast in years. These will be my next effort. The chocolate I would use would be dark. Not so sweet with health benefits.
    Cheesecake is great. I prefer a pecan crust and topped with strawberries, pureed or a glaze. Delicious!
    I have never tried rhubarb, although i am tempted.

  23. Yes! Rhubarb!! Please

  24. Can this simple cheesecake have a simple topping as well?

  25. So excited for the chocolates croissants. I haven’t tried to make the regular ones yet, but I am looking forward to these. How do your floors hold up in the kitchen? Other than the dancing mixer? 🙂 We are doing are floors over in the kitchen and my husband loves hardwood floors. I love cheesecake. I think a good recipe can stand on its own without anything else by its side. I am partial to putting vanilla beans in it, but that is probably because I love the one at the cheesecake factory. Oh and go you for handling the aftermath of the mixer with the dogs and Noelle like a rock star! I can’t say I would’ve reacted the same.

  26. 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 🙂

  27. Amanda Stout says:

    Personally, I am not a rhubarb fan, but I have family that love it so I would likely attempt a recipe with rhubarb if the opportunity came up. Plain cheesecake… absolutely yes!!
    Thank you for all your hard work in the kitchen and on your blog! I know so many of us love it!

  28. YES to rhubarb! Grew up with it in my backyard and now miss baking with it more than ever. 

  29. My kitchen mixer broke in December (while I was making my husbands birthday cake) and I’ve been mixing everything by hand ever since. I need to purchase a new one, do you have any recommendations? There are so many different kitchen aid mixers now, I don’t really get the difference. Other than the different bowl sizes. 

  30. The rubber shelf liner that you can get at the dollar store or Bed, Bath & Beyond would be a cheaper alternative to use under your mixer.

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