Our Test Kitchen Takes to the Streets
The Living Without team is dedicated to making the world a better (and tastier!) place for our readers and all those with sensitivities and food allergies. It’s our stated mission and we truly believe in it. So when a reader told us that she really missed her childhood Whoopie Pies, our test kitchen director, Madalene Rhyand, took on the challenge.
Madalene wanted to make the Whoopie Pies gluten free, of course, but also allergy friendly (dairy free and egg free). She also wanted to create a recipe that would use more nutrient-dense flours and less sugar.
So she went to our test kitchen and baked and altered and baked again…until finally, she created a great-tasting whoopie pie without gluten, dairy and eggs. She was quite happy with the results but wanted to take it a step further. She decided to conduct a blind taste test, using real people in her community who were not living on a special diet. She took to the streets and here’s her report:
Today, I visited the town bakery and bought a couple of their popular whoopie pies. (Their baker makes them with eggs and saturated shortening.) I cut them into bite-size pieces, about the size of quarters, and placed them on a plate next to several of our whoopie pies, which I had cut into a similar size. Then I began handing out samples.
The owner of the candy store was my first taster. He liked them both, not able to tell the difference except “this one is a little more chocolaty.” Although he didn’t know it, the chocolaty one was ours.
My next tester was Bob, who works at the real estate office. He took two exact-size pieces from the plate. He ate the first one carefully, cleansed his palate, and then ate the second one. “I know which one is gluten free,” he announced. “The drier one that is a little too sweet. The other one is moister and tastes better.”
“Sorry, Bob,” I said, “but the one you said is moister and tastes better is actually our gluten-free one.”
“Wow,” Bob's eyes got big. “It’s so much better that the other one…but you should give me a bigger piece to make sure.” (This really happened.)
After several similar responses, there was no doubt we had a winning recipe. It was time to share it with our readers.
On my way home, the owner of the bookstore stopped me. “I just wanted to tell you,” he said. “Wally said thumbs up on the Pound Cake.” That was last week’s taste test. Just a day in the life of Living Without’s test kitchen.