A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I would be giving y’all more insight into the world of recipe development. Since much of what I make never ends up here, I thought I’d use this week’s post to show the journey that a recipe takes to get from ideation to final recipe on the blog.
I keep a running list of recipe ideas on my phone that’s inspired by just about anything. Whether I’m just falling asleep or scanning a menu or tasting someone else’s food, I’m always jotting down ideas. Basically, I’m constantly on my phone and lots of fun to be around.
Last week’s cereal milk s’mores milkshakes are still top of mind (and will be for a while because it’s so delicious) so I thought I’d walk y’all through how I got there!
Iteration 1: Chocolate Cereal Milk S’mores Ice Cream
Cereal milk is all the rage but I was craving chocolate so my first iteration of this was a chocolate cereal milk ice cream. The idea for s’mores came about because I had grabbed some Golden Grahams cereal which I love to use with s’mores flavors.
Unfortunately, the chocolate in the ice cream base overpowered all of the cereal milk flavors and the cereal became soggy when left in the ice cream for a few days. I’ll probably make another chocolate s’mores ice cream down the road but for now, this was not what I wanted to put out as a finished product.
Iteration 2: Cereal Milk S’mores Ice Cream Sandwich
The next iteration was a simpler (chocolate-free) ice cream. The golden graham cereal and marshmallows made an appearance as part of the sandwich ‘bread’. To add back some of that chocolate flavor, I dipped half of each sandwich in chocolate.
A few thoughts on this iteration. Firstly, the cereal milk flavor came through much better. It was creamy, sweet and everything you think of when you think ‘cereal milk’. The rest of it however was not blog-worthy. The bread portion of the sandwich was far harder than the soft ice cream so when I took a bite, the whole thing fell apart. Additionally, rather than tie it all together, the chocolate made it visually bulkier and less appealing (shocking, I know). Since I had reached an ice cream flavor I loved, I wanted a way to highlight the ice cream while also including some of the other s’mores elements.
Iteration 3: Cereal Milk S’mores Milkshakes
A milkshake turned out to be the perfect solution. I was able to make the actual milkshake all about that delicious cereal milk flavor, while using the toppings to scream ‘s’mores’!
So, it took three iterations of cereal milk s’mores ice cream before I was truly happy with the result and comfortable with putting it on the blog. The key with making multiple iterations productive is to highlight one or two things you want to fix and solve for them with each of the following iterations. This gets tricky when each new version has a potential new error you want to correct but you just need to know when to call it a day and be happy with a slight imperfection.
I’ve found that three iterations is often my sweet spot but there are definitely times when I need to solve a few more (or less) times. Ready to start recipe development? Choose a recipe you like and pick one thing you’d like to change about it. Then, make that change and see whether it was the right change to make after all. Good luck!