Caramelizing Sugar With A Laser

Laser Food

If you happen to have access to a laser cutter, you’re bound to try cutting or engraving something it wasn’t designed for. We know we have. [Bonnie] and her friend [Brenda] decided to try something new — caramelizing sugar with a laser.

Laser SugarAt their local hackerspace, NYC Resistor, they brought in some chocolate squares and colored sugar and started tinkering with the laser. It’s a 60W CO2 laser by Epilog. After testing a few different options they ended up with the following setting for optimum sugar caramelizing with only one pass:

Speed 100
Power 30
DPI 300

By spreading a thin layer of sugar over top of the chocolate, you can effectively melt and bond the sugar to the chocolate — we suspect playing with the laser focus will also help you fine tune the process for your own confections.

You could just etch the chocolate with the laser as well — but that’s not quite as cool. Perhaps try to up your sushi game, why not laser engrave seaweed before rolling? Or make the perfect laser-cut gingerbread house thanks to designing it in CAD?

20 thoughts on “Caramelizing Sugar With A Laser

    1. I don’t see a problem either. It’s not like a toaster oven used for PCB reflow, where the entire thing gets hot, and volatile toxins that might have condensed on the walls could be re-volatilized. In this case, the laser doesn’t even hit the honeycomb material or whatnot at the bottom, since you’re not cutting the chocolate. So just air it out well and you’re good to go.

    2. As you may or may not be aware, that is a new laser. We replaced the older Legend with a Fusion system in January. So it’s seen less insanity than our first one did. =P We’ve also learned a hell of a lot over the years about what does and does not work in those things.

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