3D Printed Cookies, Sort Of

Are there any cookies that taste better than the ones you make yourself? Well, maybe, but there’s a certain exquisite flavoring to effort. Just ask [jformulate], who created these custom chocolate-topped butter cookies using a mixture of 3D printing, silicone, and of course, baking and tempering.

[jformulate] did this project along with a makerspace group, and the first thing they did was decide on some images for the cookies. Once a hexagon-shaped mold was created in Fusion360, the images were added in. Some had to be height-adjusted in order for the detail to come out.

Once these positives were printed, it was time to make the food-safe silicone molds that would form the custom chocolate toppers. If you don’t have a vacuum de-gasser, [jformulate] recommends pouring a thin stream from a high place to avoid air bubbles. You can always tap the mold several times on a flat surface as well to bring trapped air to the top.

Finally, it’s time to make cookies. [jformulate] has good instructions for tempering chocolate, as well as a recipe for the butter cookies that support the designs. As a bonus, [jformulate] shows how to make a fish-shaped hot chocolate bomb, and made Jolly Rancher (sadly not Wrencher) medallions using the silicone molds and a microwave.

For the semi-disappointed, directly 3D printing cookies is definitely a thing.

The Chocolate Must Flow This Holiday Season

After a long December of hand-coating chocolates for relatives last year, [Chaz] decided that enough was enough and built a chocolate enrobing machine to do the dirty work for him. As a side project, he built a rotary tumbler to chocolate-coat things like wasabi peas, which we assume are designated for [Chaz]’s enemies.

This build started with an off-the-shelf chocolate fountain for which [Chaz] designed and printed a new nozzle in PLA. He also knocked off the flutes that make it fountain on the band saw and removed the rest of the material on the lathe.

The conveying bit comes from a conveyor toaster oven that [Chaz] had lying around — he removed the conveyor and hooked it up to a motor from his collection using a slightly modified flex coupler.

With the chocolate enrober complete, [Chaz] moved on building to the rotary tumbler, which is made from two thrift store pans hammered together at the edges and connects up to the front of a KitchenAid mixer. The final verdict was that this did not work as well as the enrober, but it wasn’t a complete bust — wasabi peas (and most of the kitchen) got coated in chocolate.

While we’re not sure we’d use that PLA chocolate pump more than once, we sure would like to enrobe some things in chocolate, and this seems like a good way to get it done. Check out the build video after the break.

Chocolate is good for more than coating everything in sight. Speaking of sight, check out these chocolate optics.

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several chocolate figurines of various sizes

Cast Your Own Holiday Chocolate Bunny, Or Rather Mouse

The art of forming and using a mold is, well, an art. The already tricky process would be made even harder by using a fickle material, like chocolate. This is exactly where [Alexandre Chappel] found himself as he tried to cast his own chocolate figurines.

The starting point was a 3D low-poly model of everyone’s favorite fictional electric mouse. He tweaked the model to add offsets so that after the model was vacuum formed, there would be something to clamp onto. [Alexandre] was left with four different pieces, and he vacuum-formed them with 1 mm PETG plastic. Electing for white chocolate to add coloring, he started heating the chocolate. Adding too much colorant resulted in a seized mess, so the process was a bit of trial and error. Finally, he poured in chocolate and spun it around to form an even layer of chocolate as a shell. The flashing lines were easy to trim with a utility knife.

The last thing to add was a little splash of color via airbrush and food-grade paint. The results are stunning, and even though the techniques are simple, the results came together nicely. The files are available on his website if you’re curious about making your own. If you’re curious about more clever casting techniques with chocolate, take a look at the creative use of diffraction grating to get iridescent chocolate.

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Iridescent Rainbow Chocolate, Just Add Diffraction Grating!

Chocolate plus diffraction grating equals rainbow chocolate

Here’s a great picture from [Jelly & Marshmallows] that shows off the wild effects of melted chocolate poured onto a diffraction grating. A diffraction grating is a kind of optical component whose micro-features act to disperse and scatter light. Diffraction gratings are available as thin plastic film with one side that is chock full of microscopic ridges, and the way light interacts with these ridges results in an iridescent, rainbow effect not unlike that seen on a CD or laserdisc.

It turns out that these micro-ridges can act as a mold, and pouring chocolate over a diffraction grating yields holo-chocolate. These photos from [Jelly & Marshmallows] show this effect off very nicely, but as cool as it is, we do notice that some of the letters seem a wee bit hit-or-miss in how well they picked up the diffraction grating pattern.

Fortunately, we know just what to suggest to take things to the next level. If you want to know more about how exactly this effect can be reliably accomplished, you’ll want to check out our earlier coverage of such delicious optics, which goes into all the nitty-gritty detail one could ever want about getting the best results with either melted sugar, or dark chocolate.

Tunes You Can Eat

This week retro-gadget collector and video blogger [Techmoan] featured perhaps the most delicious audio recording format that we know of — a chocolate gramophone record. (Video, embedded below.) Compared to his typical media format explorations, the chocolate record is of quite recent vintage. He first heard of them back in 2015 when Tasmanian artist [Julia Drouhin] offered chocolate recordings as part of her art project. The one┬áthat [Techmoan] finally obtained was from a UK chocolatier who offers them with custom labelling and your choice of two songs. There are some pointers in the video about how to playback your chocolate disk without ruining it (use the lightest stylus tracking force as possible). These disks are recorded at 45 RPM on one side only, and are about the same size as a standard single. But being about five times thicker, they pack a lot more calories than your typical phonograph disk.

No reflection on the Tewkesbury Town Band, but this is probably the lowest fidelity recording media ever, but at least you can eat it when you’re done listening — label and all. We hope the Mission Impossible movie producers are paying attention so we can see the secret audio briefing being eaten instead of going up in smoke next film.

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Binary Advent Calendar Does More With Fewer Doors

[John] sent this one in to us a little bit after Christmas, but we’ll give him a pass because it’s so beautiful. Think of it this way: now you have almost a full year to make a binary advent calendar of your own before December 1st rolls around again.

Normal advent calendars are pretty cool, especially when there is chocolate behind all 24 doors. But is it really a representational ramp-up if you never get more than one chocolate each day? [John] doesn’t think so. The economics of his binary advent calendar are a bit magical, much like the holiday season itself. Most days you’ll get two pieces of chocolate instead of one, and many days you’ll get three. That is, as long as you opened the right doors.

A momentary switch hidden behind the hinge of each door tells the Arduino clone when it’s been opened. The Arduino checks your binary counting abilities, and if you’re right, a servo moves a gate forward and dispenses one chocolate ball per opened door. We love the simplicity of the dispensing mechanism — the doors are designed with a ceiling that keeps non-qualifying chocolates in their channels until their flag comes up.

[John] is working out the kinks before he releases this into the wild. For now, you can get a taste in the demo video featuring a bite-sized explanation. If you don’t like chocolate, maybe this blinky advent calendar will light you up inside.

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Watch This LEGO Pantograph Carve Chocolate Messages

[Matthias Wandel] is best known for his deeply interesting woodworking projects, so you might be forgiven for not expecting this lovely chocolate-engraving pantograph made from LEGO. With it, he carves a delightful valentine’s message into a square of chocolate, but doesn’t stop there. He goes the extra mile to cut the chocolate carefully into a heart, and a quick hit with a heat gun takes the rough edges off for a crisp and polished end result.

The cutting end is a small blade stuck inside a LEGO piece, but that’s the only non-LEGO part in the whole assembly. A key to getting a good carve was to cool the chocolate before engraving, and you can see the whole process in the video embedded below.

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