Latest Recipe Testing

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?


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

  2. Kelsey Anderson says:

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

    1. I’m not sure I could ever replicate lady fingers! I bet homemade is so so so good in tiramisu.

  3. Jenny from says:

    Sally, thank you so much for sharing the podcast, I just listened to it and feel inspired.
    Regarding your questions: I would like a tiramisu with a twist. I am not a huge fan of bread pudding. And we don’t celebrate our engangement, but since in Germany getting married by the state was on a different day than our church wedding, we celebrate our wedding anniversary twice per year 😉 Congrats on your anniversary!

  4. Tiramisu is delicious, and I’m such a sucker for bread pudding! Looking forward to February! 

  5. 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!

  6. Diane C Kreschollek says:

    Just what I requested….thank you, Sally! I can’t wait to try this.

  7. Saw your pic of the cake pop. I managed to snag one of your cake pops last week, and it was DELICIOUS! I hope that recipe is coming soon! 

  8. Happy Engagement-iversary! I think we should totally make these a thing! The date of our engagement is also one of my favorite days, especially since it also happens to be my grandfather’s birthday!

    Tiramisu is ALWAYS a good idea, and I think it would be fun to play around with traditional and different variations (the idea of an orange or citrus inspired tiramisu sounds perfectly scrumptious right now!)! And I’m a big fan of bread pudding, especially unexpected flavor combinations, so I’m excited to see what you might come up with!

  9. I think the secret to tiramisu is that creamy marscapone cheese. And lots of espresso!

    As for bread pudding, i hope you find a way for it to look pretty!

    2018 sounds exciting!!!

  10. Love bread pudding! Also, would love to see you do eclairs or cream puffs!

  11. Hi Sally!
    I have only had 1 bread pudding I liked and I can’t remember the details, but it was so yummy. I think it was different because it was really simple. Maybe a yummy dough with some raisins and a creamy sauce.
    I look forward to what you come up with! 🙂

  12. Babka is on my list to tackle when my new oven arrives! 
    I grew up eating bread pudding, my mum is English… but I don’t know a lot of people here in the US who does. A pastry chef I had the pleasure of working with once made a bread pudding with whisky caramel sauce which was divine. 

  13. please, please tiramisu, and would love more recipes without chocolate, like a lovely flan.
    just signed up for recipes and love the presentation and discussion. Keep up the good work. Excited to try chocolate lava cakes, already have the ramekins..

  14. Hi Sally,
    I love traditional tiramisu but I always have kids eating my baked goods so I don’t make anything with alcohol in it. I’m not a big fan of bread pudding, I’d rather have pie or a cupcake. I’m getting ready to make your babka, but gonna watch your video again to get the braiding part down. Thank you for teaching me how to be a better baker.

  15. I just clicked on the lemon meringue pie and babka popped up. Where is the testing for the pie?

    1. Hi Debra Jean! Sorry about that. Here is the link:

  16. connie floerchinger says:

    Have you made brioche feuilletee? Do you have a recipe for it? I want to try it!

    1. I haven’t tried it!

  17. I agree with Karen, More Babka please . preferably with a dry or combo dry wet filling like rasp crumb or any of the traditionals.

  18. Hi Sally! I came here looking for a brioche recipe and will be attempting the babka. And also will be trying out the August baking challenge of the breakfast pastries (look so good!!!).

    But I just had share with you my favourite go-to tried-and-tested tiramisu recipe which uses an Italian meringue, which I think makes all the difference. The only tweak I make to the recipe is definitely reduce the sugar volume – its far tooooo sweet (I normally use about 2/3 of the sugar).

    Have a wonderful day! We are in a hard lockdown in Melbourne, Australia at the moment 🙁 – baking is my therapy 🙂


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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally