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Nutella babka in a loaf pan after baking

I loved your response to my last recipe testing post and you asked for more behind-the-scenes like this, so let’s do it!

Today I’m sharing a couple new recipes that I’ve been testing this month. What’s been working for me is dedicating one week (or a little over one week, it’s a lot of work!) to recipe testing and kitchen work. It’s a very intense and exhausting week, but it allows me to spend the rest of the month on photography, writing, and other random work. And gives me more time with Noelle, the main reason I’m beginning to do things this way! 🙂

The recipe test week from earlier this month spilled into the weekend. I simply could not get babka to cooperate all week, so I spent the following Sunday working on it again. I didn’t want to give up because my goal this year is to bake new and exciting recipes. And babka has been on my baking bucket list. And it’s babka. And it’s awesome.

babka loaves cut into slices on the kitchen counter

Have you ever had babka? I’ll tell you all about it when I share the (successful!) recipe on Monday. In a nutshell, it’s a rich brioche dough filled and twisted up. Lots of delicious layers. My main babka problems were filling and shaping it. First, I used way too much filling (I went with Nutella!) and it was oozing out everywhere. Could hardly twist it up. What a mess. When I finally got the right amount of filling on there, I used way too much dough. It overflowed into an epic disaster. I wish I took a picture for you to see it. As it baked, it kept growing and growing… and growing. From what I could salvage and taste, the dough wasn’t rich, flaky, and soft as I wanted. In the next batch, I removed an egg white and reduced the flour. Long story short, I ended up with 7 loaves. My kitchen has never smelled better. Most of what you see above is in my freezer. On the menu when we have visitors: babka.

Anyway, twisting babka can be a little tricky so Kevin helped me take a video of me shaping it for you to see. I’ll share it all on Monday, so check back!

Another recipe my assistant and I worked on is the February’s baking challenge. I spent some time looking at your recipe requests for challenge recipes and I’ll share some of them as regular (non challenge!) recipes throughout the year. I already tackled madeleines, a popular request. I was originally going to do some sort of chocolate tart to teach you all about making traditional chocolate ganache, but ended up with something else that’s just as chocolate-y. I photographed the February challenge recipe this past week. Excited for it!

dipping a chocolate cake pop on a stick into chocolate coating in a glass measuring cup

You’ll hear more about the recipe on February 1st!


  1. Tiramisu was a popular request and I’d love to work on that in February. Do you have any preferences on it? A traditional tiramisu? A variation?
  2. Thoughts on bread pudding? Do you like it?

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I would love to see a tiramisu recipe from you! it’s my favorite dessert!! babka is one of my favorite pastries, a local bakery here in MN (Breadsmith) makes an amazing chocolate babka, it’s very hard to resist getting it every time I visit!

  2. CAN NOT WAIT to try your babka recipe!!! Seriously stoked! Bread pudding is my husbands favorite! Would love to I’m prove my bread pudding, we love one with rum sauce!

  3. My husband LOVES bread pudding, but I haven’t tried tackling it yet.  I would definitely have a reason to make it now.  Always great to have a tried and true recipe.  A variation of a tiramisu would be so fun.  Something with strawberries or raspberries maybe?  Thanks so much for asking for recommendations.  Looking forward to the upcoming months.

  4. I would LOVE a tiramisu recipe! Traditional would be lovely, and I would love to learn a twist on it! I also love bread pudding, and would really like a great recipe for it!

  5. I would love to have your version (excellent) of Tiramasu since I have never had one made the same way twice. Second I adore bread pudding and would love to make a recipe created by you.

  6. We love all three! My husband loves bread pudding but we never make it any more… so a good recipe would be welcome… Tiramasu is a favorit at our house and I have saved many recipies, but I think the traditional is the best… can’t wait for this one… and Babka is a big yes for me … I love it.. and I am trying to master the art of anything using yeast! I love to bake…Thank you for involving people in baking… it’s a big reason why I’m here…  Congrats on your 5th and your new baby! Sounds like your off to a wonderful year!

  7. So excited to try the babka! I want to learn and practice making more bread/yeast recipes this year, they are so intimidating to me right now. I feel like I always do something wrong. I tried your bread bowls and loved them (mine came out a little flat, but still tasty). And a big yes to both the tiramisu (traditional or variation sounds good to me) and bread pudding. Never made either and I always trust your recipes when trying something new. 🙂

  8. Bread pudding might be my favorite ever dessert. I think it’s really underrated and I would LOVE to see what you do with it. Yummy!!!

  9. Love traditional tiramisu!! Also love bread pudding but I’ve always had a problem making it- it’s either too dry or too squishy! I need serious help on that front!

  10. YES YES YES to bread pudding! I love bread pudding, but have never found a recipe that I really like. And I know you would be able to deliver!!

  11. Bread pudding! -basic, traditional bread pudding and chocolate bread pudding! I have an old recipe from my grandma that I make once in awhile. 

  12. I think traditional tiramisu would be my preference.  I”ve never made it!  I really love bread pudding (without raisins though).  It’s such an underrated dessert.  There is nothing better than warm bread pudding with homemade whipped cream.  Happy engagement anniversary!

  13. Thank you so much for all of your hard work. I know by the time you have worked out all the kinks, we will have a much better chance of recreating your masterpieces due to your tips and helpful advice. I love the variety of recipes you make. Something for everyday and every occasion!

  14. Babka! Maybe with some filling alternatives. CINNAMON and CHOCOLATE are always great. I am not a nutella fan.

  15. Tiramisu please! Would it be cruel if I asked to learn to make lady fingers from scratch, too?

  16. Bread Pudding fan here! When my dad was growing up during the depression, my Italian grandmother would make bread pudding to use up the odds and ends she’ d baked through the week, nothing was store bought. We still make Grandma’s recipe for my dad and it’s one of his favorite things n the world. Comfort food!

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