The connection between molecular biology and chocolate pudding isn't immediately obvious. But former scientists Lila Randolph-Poore and Rigger Poore, the couple who founded the dessert-sauce company King's Cupboard 15 years ago in Red Lodge, Montana, relied on their background in research and development to perfect the balance of ingredients in their newest product, chocolate pudding mix. "Kitchens are exactly like laboratories," says Randolph-Poore. "They're both all about experimentation." The King's Cupboard line, originally based on Lila's grandmother's recipe for a sublime bittersweet chocolate sauce, now includes Pear Cinnamon Caramel, Key Lime White Chocolate, several sugar-free versions of the sauces and a number of hot chocolate mixes. The pudding, however, turned out to be the company's most difficult project because the couple wanted to thicken it without using artificial additives. After months of trying out innumerable combinations of chocolate, cocoa and cornstarch on their three young children—who were very willing and discerning test subjects—they came up with a trio of intense flavors: Triple Chocolate, which is studded with chocolate chunks, Espresso Chocolate and Hazelnut Chocolate ($6 for a 4-serving package; 800-962-6555 or
—Carla Ranicki