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.
At 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:
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”
It didn’t use lasers, but we mustn’t forget the impact of EMSL’s CandyFab (RIP) on the development of computer-generated confectionery.
Given what else has gone into that laser cutter, hopefully they didn’t deem these still food safe?
As you can see in the pic above, they are using a paper sheet as a separator, so nothing left on the laser cutter table will affect the food in any way. I’d eat those in a heartbeat.
appropriate username is appropriate
You have no idea just how true that is.
Still the best nickname I’ve seen in years. XD
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.
I’d be concerned about all the bad stuff that could have been made by exposing food to very high temperatures. Then again, it’s no different from what happens in a BBQ…
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.
our laser did creme brulee
Seriously I am a safety guy but you nancy queens need to relax. This is a good idea now make a lazer sintering candy 3d printer.
Why does gender play a role in this discussion? To be fair, a popular hackerspace’s laser is more than a bit unsanitary.
But if you use a Laser to etch the mold, which is then filled with chocolate you get cool stuff: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/holographic-chocolate-forever
Next: making dice out of sugarcubes.
You can do that with food colouring.
That’s a fun idea.
Already done that, a LONG while ago:
I don’t think that’s “caramelized” For one, it’s still red….
It would have been better if they had used processed white cane (or beet) sugar so we could see the color change.
Didn’t write it up but we did something similar a few years ago to 3D print letters from sugar: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mcknut/7408626124/in/photolist-
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