Prototyping a Cookie

Ever since Ruth Graves Wakefield invented the toll house chocolate chip cookie in the 1930’s, people have been on the hunt for that elusive creature: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. Although it has been found and captured on occasion by some, somehow it doesn’t seem to reproduce reliably in captivity, and back to the field we go, armed for another search-and-retrieve mission.

So, what is it exactly that goes into the perfect chocolate chip cookie? Maybe it’s adding just a bit more brown sugar.  Perhaps a little less butter. Whatever it is, since most people only try out chocolate chip cookie recipe variations occasionally, you may never come to know just what the answer is.

The solution to this pressing problem is a cookie prototyping machine that mixes one cookie at a time, using a unique recipe for each one.  The result is a cookie sheet that has multiple variations that all go into the oven and bake together, allowing you to try them all at the same time for a direct comparison.

This prototyping machine is a carousel set-up, with each station housing just one of the ingredients. These ingredients are dispensed onto a scale to accurately weigh them (because baking is chemistry) and the entire system is controlled by a computer program. It’s simply a matter of specifying the amount of any given ingredient, pressing dispense, and voila! The machine rotates and dispenses exactly what you asked for directly into a mixing bowl. The current prototype does not have a mixer, but, for the time being, it’s easy enough to just stir up the mix with a spoon.

For now, the machine is being refined to ensure it runs smoothly and is user-friendly. On the plus side? Mistakes are a whole lot of fun to eat.

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