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. Cheesecake is great, especially when it’s just plain and without fillers. Japanese cheesecake is delicious and interesting too if your interested in looking up something different.

  2. Rhubarb is one of those things that has always been a giant mystery to me. I heard it KIND OF tastes like strawberry? But I think it’s slightly bitter? I’ve always been on the hunt for the perfect PLAIN NY Style Cheesecake- like 5 bricks of cream cheese and the ultimate graham crust. If that’s what you have in mind… YAAAAS girl, YAAAAS!!! Happy Friday <3 enjoy the weather! It's finally warm in PA- yay!!

  3. Cheesecake is amazing, and so is rhubarb! I love rhubarb. A few years ago I found a rhubarb plant growing in the communal woods behind my house. I guard it from others and harvest it as soon as I can so I get all the rhubarb. You snooze you loose! I’d love to see a recipe that incorporates rhubarb in a cheesecake! Rhubarb cheesecake would be the stuff of my dreams.

  4. I am obsessed with trying to conquer croissants, but haven’t had the opportunity to really put the effort in yet. Something about the dough taking so long in the fridge… it’s hard to start a baking project that goes overnight and into the next day. Anyhoo, good on you!  Cheesecake is a no, I hate it, but my mom swears by steam baking hers. Rhubarb is something that I would love to bake with, but the stores here only carry it once a year for about two weeks and they don’t always say or know when that is going to be. So it’s hard to nail it down. 

  5. I prefer cheesecake from the big cheesecake conglomerate, Little Mama’s Bakery in Chicago, Illinois. It’s so rich and so creamy!

  6. I can’t bake croissants for nothing,so I am screwed.

  7. Honestly I have never even tried rhubarb.I have no idea about it. I love cheesecake. Everything about it is amazing. My new favorite thing to make for family celebrations are cheesecake cakes. I actually did a carrot cake cheesecake cake for the naked cake baking challenge in March!

  8. Love cheesecake – It’s one of my most requested desserts. I make a variety of cheesecakes, but my plain cheesecake is the most requested.
    I haven’t tried any rhubarb desserts – but not opposed to trying.
    Your croissants are on my list of to dos for the weekend!

  9. Cheesecake, mmmmmm! How about rhubarb cheesecake? That’s a possibility! Strawberry rhubarb?

  10. LOVE cheesecake! I actually make my own cream cheese and it makes a world of difference in flavor and consistency- and honestly it’s super duper easy! Might be worth exploring 🙂

  11. SharonK - The Farm Chick Bakes says:

    OH SALLY…Sorry to hear about this mis-hap and yes! Thank your lucky stars the dogs weren’t near the shattered glass pieces! I’m VERY impressed your mixer is still working! Wow…testament to the brand! Looking forward to trying to make these chocolate croissants! Have a great and warm weekend! 🙂

  12. sweet jesus Sally I (out loud) GASP and oh my god! I am so sorry about your mixer mishap. Your war wounded floor. That is sad. But so happy no one was hurt. And the baked goods look good as always!

  13. Michelle G. says:

    Oh no! Your poor mixer and floor! I’m glad everyone is okay though!

    Cheesecake and rhubarb are both a resounding “YES!!” in my book! I’m not picky when it comes to them either. I’ll try just about anything involving either one of them. There’s a delightful rhubarb drink in the “Date Night In” cookbook. We don’t drink alcohol though so we use the juniper flavored Dry Soda instead of gin. A+++

  14. Thank you for doing all the hard work and look forward to,your perfected recipe and technique and maybe I will be brave enough to try! So sorry about your mishap and grateful no one was hurt! Glad your machine still works too! I’m sure Jude would have moved away fast enough but lucky he wasn’t there to begin with!  I love cheesecake and have several good recipes but the three cities from Spain cheesecake ( gourmet) November 1999) is my go to one!  Yes to rhubarb! 

  15. Yes please to cheesecake! Maybe later you could do an add on for a few simple toppings such a strawberry glaze or white chocolate raspberry??

    Also funny, it seems your croissant scar has a crescent shape… very appropriate 😉

  16. PS the last picture of your chocolate croissants looked like they were straight out of a professional Parisian bakery!

  17. So much work for such tiny pastries that disappear in seconds 🙂 I watched a behind-the-scenes BuzzFeed video of their staff trying to make croissants and honestly, your process is just so much simpler and intuitive. Still on my must-make list and probably making an appearance for our next family get together!

    Soo cheesecakes.. I’ve worked on one New York Style cheesecake recipe over the past few years and ended up getting it pretty darn perfect. Once the base was made, I could experiment with other flavors. My family’s favorite is plain cheesecake with a homemade strawberry topping!

  18. Rita Jarvis says:

    YES to both choices please!

  19. 1) As a kid, cheesecake ( a good ol’, New-York style slice with some strawberry sauce on top) was THE DREAM dessert for me. Still love it, and all the gourmet flavors of cheesecake now out there!

    2) Strawberry rhubarb pie is one of my absolute FAVORITE pies out there. And like all pie fillings, you could probably also turn it into various other desserts and I’d still love it just as much. Bring on the innovation!

    1. I too love strawberry rhubarb pie. Try making crepes with a sweetened cream cheese filling and topped with a strawberry rhubarb compote – spectacular!

  20. MJ Nordmann says:

    I am a huge fan of cheesecake. I found it easy to make in small sizes for bite size desserts and switch
    up toppings in mini muffin pan. I am not a fan of rhubarb though.

  21. You have truly inspired me the last couple of weeks: #1–“Practice makes progress” is now on my kitchen memo board! #2–Your beautiful-not-perfectly-immaculate kitchen while you are baking. (I’ve heard all my life “clean as you go” which is a good way to live, but in reality isn’t always possible–if you’re not baking from a mix a recipe can get complicated and messy in a hurry! 😉 I loved your post on time passing quickly–it was just a few days ago that my baby girl was teething too, and now she’s about 3 1/2 weeks away from becoming a first-time mom! 🙂 So this grandmomma says keep the great recipes coming–I’ve been baking since I was about 10, and I finally have the courage to tackle my bucket baking list–croissants included! Cheesecake? A fave of my family, so I’d love to try a different recipe. Rhubarb? Never had the courage–til now! Keep up the great work! And enjoy your beautiful family.

  22. 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!

  23. Nancy Wilson says:

    Thank God I don’t have a glass bowl on my mixer! My Kitchen-Aid danced itself off the counter last week–apparently one can not leave it to knead bread without over sight. Not damage was done to any one (thing) involved.

  24. Hi Sally! Love these behind the scenes posts. I know a lot of work goes into each of the recipes you publish and its fun to see part of what goes on as you develop the recipes. Thanks for sharing! My opinion about cheesecake is the simpler the better but I do like some berries on top, yum! I can’t really say I’ve tried rhubarb in baked goods but there is an abundance of it around here in the summer months so I’d love to learn some recipes with it. Have a great weekend!

  25. 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.

  26. I love the comment above calling it a “kitchen crime scene” !!
     Wouldn’t it be fun to share some kitchen crime scene stories?  
    Not the ones that send the cook for stitches but the kind that make you look back with a smile or a good laugh. 
    I totally love that picture of the mixer on the floor…….a good day in the kitchen gone wrong…..haven’t we all had a day like that.  

  27. Anything with rhubarb is a go for me!! I love the tartness paired with any fruit.

  28. I have always loved cheesecake, growing up it was always plain.  As I got older and started making my own I now top with strawberries or a mixed berry coulée or ganache.  I always thought it had to be for dessert until I went on a tour of Israel a couple years ago, we stayed in 5 star hotels that served a buffet dinner and breakfast.  I was very disappointed and thought it was odd to not find cheesecake on their dessert table after dinner.  I was very surprised and found it even odder to find warm cheesecake in all of the breakfast buffets. After one taste I was sold, it was so good, never imagined how good warm cheesecake could be.  I will never look at cheesecake the same way again after that trip. 

    Grew up eating strawberry rhubarb pie, it was my mom’s favorites.  It was never my favorite haven’t had it in a very long time. 

  29. My rhubarb pie my mom would make when I was young was just awful! I don’t know that I would like anything with it now or even try it. I absolutely love cheesecake, plain New York style is my favorite but I’ll eat just about any kind. My dogs are always at my feet anytime I’m cooking or baking so good thing Jude wasn’t around when the mixer fail happened. Can’t believe it still works they are amazing! 

  30. I adore plain cheesecake but I have a much higher standard for plain cheesecake than for trashed-up cheesecake. And I love ANYTHING rhubarb.

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