Hack Makes Microwave Cookies Fast And Not Terrible

Making a chocolate chip cookie is easy. Making a good chocolate chip cookie is a little harder. Making a good chocolate chip cookie quickly is a pretty tall order, but if you cobble together a microwave and a conventional oven, you just might get delicious and fast to get together.

The goal of this Frankenstein-esque project is to build a vending machine that can whip up a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie on demand and make [Chaz] wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. We’re guessing at that last part; for all we know his goal is world peace through instant cookies. We’re fine with the idea either way, and his previous work on the project resulted in a semi-automatic cookie gun to splooge the dough out in suitable dollops.

The current work is turning those into something edible, for which a microwave seems a logical choice. Experience tells us otherwise, so off to the thrift store went [Chaz], returning with a used air fryer. He ripped the guts out of a small microwave, slapped the magnetron onto the side of the air fryer, and discovered that this was officially A Bad Idea™ via a microwave leakage tester. Round 2 went the other way — adding a conventional heating element to a large microwave. That worked much better, especially after close-up video revealed the dynamics of microwave cookery and the best way to combine the two cooking modalities. The result is a contraption that makes a pretty tasty-looking two-minute cookie. World peace, here we come!

Of course there’s plenty to say about the safety of all this, much of which [Chaz] himself cops to in the video. It’s important to remember that he’s just prototyping here; we’re sure the final machine will be a little more sophisticated than a heat gun duct-taped to the side of a microwave. Those cookies aren’t going to bake themselves, though, so you’ve got to start somewhere.

35 thoughts on “Hack Makes Microwave Cookies Fast And Not Terrible

      1. The issue with microwave cooking is that the rapid heating and steaming up water from the inside out gelatinizes the starches and leaves you with a “rubber” texture on the inside. Instead of a cookie, you get a dog’s chew toy. If the combo oven is built for re-heating food rapidly like a normal microwave oven, that effect will still take place with the high pulsed microwave power.

      2. Yeah we’ve got a Sage (Breville) CombiWave, and honestly its our most used kitchen appliance besides the tea kettle, incredibly handy. Finding the right program that does grilling / air frying / microwaving isn’t always straightforward though.

      1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that doesn’t. Around here (netherlands), it’s very common. Maybe you’re in 115V-land where an outlet can’t provide enough power to run both at the same time?

        1. Yeah, they’re pretty damn common over here. Though, I know (old) Samsungs got that feature hidden under “crisp” functions. Not very intuitive imo :P

          (also, obligatory: G E K O L O N I S E E R D)

        2. I always hear that, but 120v-land seems like it’s not really making the most of its existing wiring anyway. The standard connector is for up to 15 amps, but you might find the circuit is already wired for 20 because they expected you to use multiple devices. My voltage has always been the full 120V on each leg, meaning regular outlets have always been able to supply 1800W and the circuits are often wired for 2400W.

          I can’t confidently name a common device I have that exceeds 1500W, which matches the 80% rule meant for continuous loads. The rule may be used more generally out of caution, or perhaps continuous is a very wide term. I think it’s just kettles and heaters that usually hit those limits, and kettles aren’t that popular unfortunately. Microwaves start around half that power, IIRC. As for the outlets, if it’s for an intermittent load and you already have a 20 amp circuit it would just need a slightly different plug and outlet to give 20A to a single device.

          By comparison, I’ve heard that in various other systems, like the Canadian or UK systems, the feed voltage may be 208 or 220, **sometimes with significant sag under load**, and the amperage of older circuits may often be 10 with newer ones being often about 13. So not all of them are that far ahead.

          1. UK is 230V, never seen significant sag. All sockets are 13A – lighting circuits are lower ampage – but because it’s a ring you could really draw 26A (but don’t!). I hear there’s some phase lag and cycles get dropped but that has basically no impact on homes.

          2. Circuits (in the US) are not supposed to be loaded past 80% of the breaker’s nameplate rating; at 120V, that’s 1400W. 15A is the safety limit, not the “load up to here” point.

            At 110V / 15A, you get 1650W, and 80% of that is 1320W. Hence why you don’t see residential microwave ovens past 1200W.

          3. Dan, thanks for the info. That makes more sense anyway, if the exceptions are more rare.

            dfhgfgdrs, I could still be wrong, but I don’t think that’s quite right.

            As far as math goes, if 80% of 15A were 1400W it would be at 116.6 volts. (1440 is 120) A rating at 125V is often written on some devices – I haven’t checked, but I would not be surprised to see devices that are rated 1500W at 125V tend to draw less when used at the usual 120 in order to still fall in line, but they could also fudge things a bit.
            As for microwaves, I actually do see various microwaves rated above 1200 – not always at every store, admittedly. I searched Target a moment ago and saw 1350W maximum for a pure microwave but 1800 when looking at the convection kind. Other places have sold 1500W, and I believe I bought one at one point, not sure if it’s my current one.
            As for breakers, it comes back to intermittent loads. My microwave usually runs for minutes, not hours, and doesn’t stay at maximum power the whole time. A kettle boils water and then shuts off (or lowers its draw if it’s fancy enough to maintain a temperature).

  1. I’ve found that a pressure oven makes for the most reproducible and best quality for baking anything that doesn’t have a crust. (And some that do, depending on the style.) Unlike a pure pressure cooker, you get a mallard reaction browning the surface of the baked good, and unlike a pure oven, you don’t get burnt or dried out edges. It would be a little more difficult to build into an automated system than a pure oven, but not any more difficult than a microwave oven.

    1. My guess would be yes, people have deep-fried things you would not expect to exist:
      “Deep-fried Mars bar”
      “Deep-fried Twinkie”
      “Deep-fried pizza”
      “Fried ice cream”

    1. I was going to disagree with you on it not being cheap, assuming that per-unit costs would come down if 100 or so vending ovens were built. But now I really would like someone to find out the KWH per-cookie it costs to bake a given amount of cookie dough via this method vs. one of those small convection ovens meant for restaurant baking.

      TBH, my rectocognitive estimate is that a recipe for something akin to those soft-baked cookies you can buy in the store that’s flash-heated by a combo of microwaves and focused IR light would be cheaper long-term and give good tasting results. You could even maintain the advertising illusion of the cookies being “fresh baked” if the route owner is required to purchase pre-formed dough pucks and bake them before deploying them to the route, as well as discarding any unsold stock over 2-3 days of age.

  2. If I can cook a pot-pie from freezer to ready in 90 seconds (1100 Watts) then cooking a cookie fast with microwaves should be easy.
    My guess is a preformed cookie partially cooked and frozen would be wrapped in a microwavable packaging consisting of a susceptor layer to assist with heat absorption and even distribution.

    Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susceptor

  3. “The goal of this Frankenstein-esque project is to build a vending machine that can whip up a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie on demand and make ”

    It sounds like you’re only 2/3 of the way there then. Where is the refrigerator part?

    I could see something like this for fairs etc, but those places tend to already have food warmers.

    I love kitchen gadgets, so I wish the best for you!

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