At Muddy’s, we’re endlessly testing new recipes and re-evaluating old favorites to bake the most inviting, delicious, homestyle desserts for our guests. The majority of this process happens through Mud Lab, an employee-wide company club that routinely gets together to share ideas, test proto-treats, and consider the elements of a truly delicious bite. Below, Mud Lab President Diana answers questions about her favorite Mud Lab creations, the sweet benefits of collaboration, and how you can get involved in the process.
Hi, Diana! How many treats are you workin’ on at once?
We’re typically testing out at least three new or updated recipes at a time, and we prioritize ideas based on the season that we’ll feature them, working at least one or two seasons ahead of time. After we discuss ideas, individual gnomies take on the responsibility of owning the recipe testing and sharing.
What are some of the factors you consider when creating a treat?
Everything! But we prioritize taste, texture, appearance, and customer feedback documented through code greens, which are internal forms we use to keep track of customer requests for items.
What are your top three favorite treats to come out of Mud Lab’s efforts?
Oh, there are so many! I’m really proud of our blueberry cake because all of that pretty color comes from fresh blueberries – there are no dyes or anything – and the lemon balances the cake really well. Our filled German Chocolate cupcake is another favorite because we worked really hard on that one to fulfill a customer request and it’s so delicious. It’s hard for me to resist that one. Our updated piecrust recipe was an important Mud Lab development, too. Our previous recipe was good, but we re-formulated it to be able to make the production process better for our bakers. It wouldn’t have been possible to make over 1000 pies on Thanksgiving using our old crust recipe, and this one tastes even better and still includes 100% butter!
Has anything surprised you about the recipe creation process?
Sometimes the easiest treats to produce in your home kitchen are the most difficult to produce consistently on a large scale. Like marshmallows – we would love to make our own marshmallows and have a great recipe, but we can’t figure out how to cut the number we would need.
What are the benefits of including customer service gnomies who normally aren’t in the kitchen in the process?
They are so, so important. Gnomies who work in the shops are most familiar with our customers’ needs and preferences, and they help us better understand what people want to enjoy. They also have great insight on how things will look in the case. I need them!
Are there opportunities for the public to get involved with Mud Lab?
We try to host two public test kitchen meetings per year at our Midtown location, and we love getting direct feedback and ideas from our customers!