Evolution of a Recipe

How to make chocolate pudding

Have you ever wondered what recipe development looks like? Here you’ll find an assortment of OLC recipe trials, the changes I made during the process, and my thoughts along the way – complete with a link to the final recipe.

Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED (AQUAFABA) COCONUT MACAROONS

Take 1
1 cup (210g) toasted coconut almondmilk, reduced to 1/2 cup (115g)
3/4 cup aquafaba, reduced to 1/4 cup
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 cups (168g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup (28g) coconut flour
1/4 cup (65g) pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons (8g) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1g) fine sea salt

Whisk dry ingredients; add wet. Bake at 300˚F for 24-25 minutes. Great flavor and texture. Try without aquafaba just for the hell of it.

Take 2 (no aquafaba)
1 1/2 cups (315g) toasted coconut almondmilk, reduced to 3/4 cup (158g)
2 cups (168g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup (28g) coconut flour
1/4 cup (65g) pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons (8g) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1g) fine sea salt

Bake at 300˚F for 24-25 minutes. Bake 5-10 minutes longer. Crumbly. Aquafaba needs to stay. Add a binder.

Take 3
1 cup (210g) toasted coconut almondmilk, reduced to 1/2 cup (115g)
3/4 cup (170g) aquafaba, reduced to 1/4 cup
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 cups (168g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup (28g) coconut flour
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch
1/4 cup (65g) pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons (8g) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1g) fine sea salt

Didn’t whip aquafaba. Macaroons were way too dense. WHIP THAT AQUAFABA. Increase salt.

Take 4
1 cup (210g) toasted coconut almondmilk, reduced to 1/2 cup (115g)
3/4 cup (170g) aquafaba, reduced to 1/4 cup
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 cups (168g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup (28g) coconut flour
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch
1/4 cup (65g) pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons (8g) pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt

Whipped aquafaba into meringue and folded into batter. Still a bit crumbly; increase binder and mix dry + wet ingredients before adding the flaked coconut/folding in the aquafaba.

Take 5 (no aquafaba)
1 1/2 cups (315g) toasted coconut almondmilk, reduced to 3/4 cup (160g)
2 cups (168g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup (28g) coconut flour
2 tablespoon (20g) potato starch
1/4 cup (65g) pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons (8g) pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt

Much better texture and overall consistency once cooled. Still prefer the aquafaba variety.

Take 6 (no aquafaba)
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup (65g) pure maple syrup

2 cups (168g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup (28g) coconut flour
2 tablespoons (20g) potato starch
2 teaspoons (8g) pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt

Simmered coconut milk and maple syrup together on low for 10 minutes. Bake at 300˚F for 30-35 minutes. Good but not as good as the toasted coconut milk variety.

Take 7
1 cup (210g) toasted coconut almondmilk, reduced to 1/2 cup (115g)
3/4 cup (170g) aquafaba, reduced to 1/4 cup (55-60g)
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup (28g) coconut flour
2 tablespoons (20g) potato starch
1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
1/4 cup (65g) pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons (8g) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (168g) unsweetened shredded coconut

Sift coconut flour, potato starch, and salt. Add liquid ingredients then mix in shredded coconut. Whip the aquafaba into meringue and fold into batter. Bake at 300˚F for 30-35 minutes. Not much difference between 1 & 2 tablespoons of potato starch but.. SEVENTH TIME’S A MOTHERFUCKIN’ CHARM.

THE FINAL RECIPE

One bowl peanut butter cookies

ONE BOWL PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

Take 1
3 tablespoons (36g) unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup (55g) Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
3/4 cup (170g) light brown sugar
1 cup (220g) creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons (12g) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
1 cup (140g) white spelt flour

Something is off. Peanut butter? Spelt flour? Try again with unbleached flour (1/4 cup less). Bake at 350˚F for 12 minutes.

Take 2
3 tablespoons (36g) unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup (55g) Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
3/4 cup (170g) light brown sugar
1 cup (220g) creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons (12g) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
3/4 cup (105g) unbleached flour

Dough is crumbly. Using wrong peanut butter. Switch to homemade. Increase flour (probably to 1 1/4 cups). Bake at 350˚F for 12ish minutes.

Take 3
3 tablespoons (36g) unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup (55g) Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
3/4 cup (170g) light brown sugar
1 cup (220g) homemade smooth + creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons (12g) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups (175g) unbleached flour

HOLY HELL HOMEMADE PB! Consistency of raw dough is great. Can bake dough immediately – straight from scoop – and get poofy cookies (no flattening required). Freezed for 30 minutes to harden. Dough is just barely too soft; decrease oil. 350˚F for 14 minutes. Fantastic texture.

Take 4
2 tablespoons (24g) unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup (55g) Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
3/4 cup (170g) light brown sugar
1 cup (220g) homemade smooth + creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons (12g) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups (175g) unbleached flour

B I N G O

THE FINAL RECIPE

Maple-nut cookie bars

MAPLE-NUT COOKIE BARS

Take 1
1/2 cup (100g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1/2 cup (140g) pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (55g) unsweetened almondmilk
1/4 teaspoon maple flavor
2 cups (270g) Bob’s Red Mill paleo baking flour

1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
1 cup mix-ins, divided

Light and crumbly. Halve milk or omit for super dense bars. Add vanilla. Increase maple flavor. 350˚F for 32 minutes (edges were super crisp). Mix-ins: rolled oats, coconut flakes, roasted peanuts, and cacao nibs.

*To prevent coconut flakes from burning, cut paper extra long so it protects it from the heat/browning.

Take 2
1/2 cup (100g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1/2 cup (140g) pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons (28g) unsweetened almondmilk
1/2 teaspoon (3g) maple flavor
2 teaspoons (6g) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (270g) Bob’s Red Mill paleo baking flour

1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
1 cup mix-ins, divided (below)

A bit more dense. Great flavor. Could probably get away with ditching the milk. Try increasing maple syrup for a sweeter version (omit milk if doing so). Mix-ins: rolled oats, coconut flakes, roasted peanuts, dark chocolate, and cacao nibs. Bake at 350˚F for 28 minutes (just barely underbaked).

Take 3
1/2 cup (100g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (170g) pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon (3g) maple flavor
2 teaspoons (6g) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (270g) Bob’s Red Mill paleo baking flour

1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
1 cup mix-ins, divided (below)

Too sweet for me. Not for Thom. Consistency didn’t changed much. Bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes.

Take 4
1/2 cup (100g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1/2 cup (140g) pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons (28g) unsweetened almondmilk
1/2 teaspoon (3g) maple flavor
2 teaspoons (6g) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (270g) Bob’s Red Mill paleo baking flour

1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
1 cup mix-ins, divided (below)

Bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER.

THE FINAL RECIPE

Coconut oil biscuits

COCONUT OIL BISCUITS

Take 1
2 cups (242g) whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking soda
2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
3/4 (175g) almond buttermilk
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Chilled ingredients. Not enough rise; too dense. Shaggy. Increase coconut oil to 1/4 cup (50g), powder to 1 tablespoon (12g), buttermilk to 1 cup (225g). Use all-purpose unbleached flour. 425˚F for 20 minutes.

Take 2
2 cups (242g) all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking soda
1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder
1/4 cup (50g) coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1 cup (225g) almond buttermilk
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Chilled ingredients. Too much baking powder; ditch the baking soda. Increase fat and use add starch (which will help to absorb the oil more evenly). Flour weight measurement is off. Same goes for the buttermilk. 425˚F for 17-18 minutes (too long ).

Take 3
2 cups (280g) all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starc
1 teaspoon (6g) fine sea salt
2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
6 tablespoons (65g) coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1 cup (215g) almond buttermilk
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

No chill. Soft dough, required a considerable amount of flour (~1/4 cup) to roll out. Used the letter folding technique for layered biscuits. Increase flour to 2 1/4 cups (315g). 425˚F for 14-15 minutes.

Take 4
2 1/4 cups (315g) all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch
1 teaspoon (6g) fine sea salt
2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
6 tablespoons (65g) coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1 cup (215g) almond buttermilk
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Made two batches baked at 400˚F (for 18 minutes) and 425˚F (for 14 minutes). The latter temperature resulted in biscuits with more rise.

THE FINAL RECIPE

How to make chocolate pudding

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Take 1
1/2 cup Califia Farms better half

1/2 cup Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao powder 

1 bar good quality dark chocolate
Pinch of fine sea salt

Too runny. Decrease almondmilk to 1/4 cup for a dense mousse-like texture.

Take 2
1/2 cup Califia Farms better half
1/4 cup Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao powder

1 bar good quality dark chocolate
Pinch of fine sea salt

Needs a stabilizer; coconut oil is not sufficient. Swap measurements for better half/almondmilk.

Spent the next three days trying to think of a suitable stabilizer. It wasn’t until I was sorting through our collection of assorted jams that I thought PECTIN! Would it work in pudding? Google “pectin pudding recipe” – *nothing*. But pectin reacts with sugar OR calcium, in a slightly acidic environment. There is calcium in almondmilk. And chocolate is on the acidic side. THIS HAS TO WORK.

Take 3
1/4 cup Califia Farms better half
1/2 cup Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon pectin

1 bar good quality dark chocolate
Pinch of fine sea salt

HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT. It worked. A little rich (too rich?) but has potential. Awesome consistency. Sweet enough for me, not for Thom. Increase almondmilk, maple syrup, and pectin. Or try increasing the maple syrup (by two tablespoons, minimum).

Take 4
1/4 cup Califia Farms better half
1/2 cup Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon pectin

1 bar good quality dark chocolate
Pinch of fine sea salt

Something’s not quite right.

Take 5
1/4 cup Califia Farms better half
1 cup Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon pectin

1 bar good quality dark chocolate
Pinch of fine sea salt

Thom says, “lose the coconut oil.”

Take 6 (alternate title: UGHHHHHH)
1/4 cup Califia Farms better half
1 cup Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon pectin

1 bar good quality dark chocolate
Pinch of fine sea salt

Thom was right. The coconut oil was fucking with the consistency. However, this version was too thick and chocolate-y. Increase syrup (barely) and better half. Needs vanilla.

Take 7 (alternate title: THIS BETTER FUCKING WORK)
1/2 cup Califia Farms better half
1 cup Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 bar good quality dark chocolate
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon pectin 

Pinch of fine sea salt
Pinch of vanilla powder

BINGO.

THE FINAL RECIPE

Chocolate chunk almond butter blondies

CHOCOLATE CHUNK ALMOND BUTTER BLONDIES

Take 1 (after dozens of unrecorded trials, this was the recipe I landed on)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup refined coconut oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unbleached flour

Turned out perfect.. I think. WHY DIDN’T I MEASURE BY WEIGHT? Remade half a year later, didn’t turn out perfect. Back to the drawing board.

Take 2
1/2 cup (128g) almond butter
2 tablespoons (22g) refined coconut oil
1/4 cup (56g) almond milk
3/4 cup (156g) brown sugar
2 tablespoons (20g) potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup (105g) unbleached flour

Bake at 350˚F for 25 minutes. Let out an audible UGH while pulling from the oven: edges crawled up the sides of the pan; middle sank. Too gooey. Everyone at International Dinner Club loved them (they were probably just being nice). Remake again, bake at 325˚F for 32 minutes.

Realizations: I think I’m adding the ingredients in the wrong order. And I think I need to be using baking powder in conjunction with the baking soda.

Take 3 (after realizing I was adding the ingredients in the wrong order)
1/2 cup (104g) brown sugar
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch
1 tablespoon (11g) refined coconut oil
1/2 cup (128g) almond butter
1/4 cup (56g) Califia Farms original almondmilk
1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
1/2 cup (70g) unbleached flour

Batter was thick and didnt stick to spatula while spreading in pan. Baked at 350˚F for 25 minutes. Good flavor, really chewy. Not sweet enough. Edges crawled up the sides of the pan (no bueno). Bake again at 325˚F for 34 minutes. Meh. The baking soda is doing this recipe no favors. Be generous with the baking powder. NEXT.

Take 4
3/4 cup (156g) brown sugar
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch
2 tablespoons (22g) refined coconut oil
1/2 cup (128g) almond butter
6 tablespoons (84g) Califia Farms original almondmilk
1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
1 cup (140g) unbleached flour

Batter stuck to spatula while spreading. Almond pieces visible in batter. Fucked this one up. Baked at 350˚F for 28 minutes. (Wrote new recipe while waiting for them to bake.)

*Blondies come out of the oven.*
HOLY SHIT THEY LOOK PERFECT. 
*Let cool for 20 minutes*
Cut into them. Underbaked.

Make again. Bake at 325˚F for 38ish minutes (ish because I forgot to set the timer). Nope. Make again. Bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes. NOPE. Make again. 350˚F for 32 minutes. BINGO.

Preemptive take 5 (that never got tested)
3/4 cup (156g) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch
1 tablespoon (11g) refined coconut oil
1/4 cup (56g) Califia Farms original almondmilk

1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (128g) almond butter
1/4 teaspoon (2g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
3/4 cup (105g) unbleached flour

THE FINAL RECIPE