When I was thinking about what to do to create my new cookie, I spent a lot of time thinking about the ingredients. Maybe I should try to make it low-fat? Or maybe try a different variation of chocolate? After coming up with about 10 ideas, I stopped. I knew that everyone in class would be thinking about ingredients. They would be trying to come up with novel ways to make the cookie taste different. I realized that I was more than satisfied with the way a chocolate chip cookie tasted; I wasn’t, however, satisfied with the experience. Anyone can make a new cookie but not anyone can make the experience more enjoyable. With this in mind, I started to ideate different ways to make the cookie more fun. To me, fun is going to the State Fair so that’s where the majority of my ideas came from.
And thus, the Cookie Cube was born!
My final idea was the Cookie Cube. This cookie is not different because of the ingredients; it is unique because of the experience. While I did not have enough time to perfect my idea, the main notion is this: The Cookie Cube allows the user to walk around comfortably and enjoy ice cold milk and cookies in the same bite. This solves the problem of walking around on a hot day, waiting to get a cold glass of milk.
Through the iteration process I learned about adding cornstarch, salt and a new protein called BsIA. Also, while the ingredients for making the Cookie Cube exist in many kitchens, I believe I am the first to combine them in this way to create a new experience.
To make 12 cookies, here is what you will need:
1. ½ cup of all purpose flour
2. ¼ teaspoon baking soda
3. 3/4 teaspoon salt
4. 1 stick of butter (after softening it in the microwave)
5. ¼ cup granulated sugar
6. ¼ cup brown sugar
7. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8. 1 large egg
9. ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
10. ½ cup 2% milk
To make the cookies,
· Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl
· Beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until it’s super creamy (don’t wimp out and use an egg beater; hand beat these ingredients like a champ)
· Add the egg and imitate the MJ song ( ♫ Beat it. Just beat it♩)
· Gradually add the flour mixture into the egg mixture
· Stir in the chocolate chips
· Drop the combined mixture onto un-greased baking sheets
· Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown
· Wait for them to cool
· Try not to eat all of them
· Lose control and eat a few
· Hand-crumble the remaining cookies into bite-size chucks and place them into ice cube tray
· Add additional chocolate chips for flavor (not because you just want more chocolate chips)
· Pour in the milk over the cookie chunks in the tray
· Freeze in freezer until fully frozen (what a redundant statement) The time will vary but roughly 4–5 hours for cube consistency
· Pull out of tray and enjoy!
Idea Generation is the process of coming up with original ideas. Unique ideas are at the heart of innovation. Innovation as defined in the PDES 3701 class by Barry Kudrowitz is an idea that is “novel + value + feasible.” When thinking of these 3 things, I wanted to keep value and feasibility in mind and use ingredients that a normal chef would find in their kitchen. But the “novel” portion would come from using these common ingredients in a new way.
As I was brainstorming in my head on the bus (bus windows = the ultimate place to ponder), I drifted back to my summer, I specifically remembered eating cookies at Sweet Martha’s. An immensely popular cookie stand at the Minnesota State Fair, they are expertly created and the best reason to cheat on your diet. Unfortunately, the State Fair is held during the ending days of summer, where like the heat, the laziness runs high. The nearest place to buy milk is a good 10 minutes away. While that is not a long distance to traverse, it does become a challenge with the thousands of people, the unfathomable heat and the lack of milk on your Sweet Martha’s cookie.
As I started to get hungry on the bus, I was thinking about how I wanted to have milk and cookies as I walked around. God forbid I suffer the 10 minutes to get a cool glass of milk to dunk my sweet treat in. This is America, damn it. I want it now.
With thoughts of instant gratification on my mind, I ideated until I struck upon what I think to the best way to beat the heat: ice cubes. (or anything iced, really)
From adding ice cubes to your lemonade or making ice cream, anything good in the summer is iced. The easiest way to combine milk is obviously make cookie dough ice cream. But this is not novel (and plus it violates the rule that the cookie has to in fact, be a cookie.) I then realized that ice cubes were my best bet for my Cookie Cubes!
For my next idea, I wanted to focus on the consumer’s experience. Not just the taste but how they felt when they ate my cookie. And for some reason the only thing that came to my mind was explosions.
And just like the horrible nickname in high school, the idea stuck. And wouldn’t go away. Now I thought about how I would simulate an explosion in a cookie… and as I walked off the bus, I saw a person drinking Coca-Cola. Never mind the fact that it was 9 am and that person’s teeth probably weren’t too healthy, something clicked into place.
The only way to create an explosion with food is obviously a simple formula that millions of people have recreated:
Coca-Cola + Mentos = Boom goes the dynamite.
The first cookie I wanted to test was the Cookie Cubes. I had all of the ingredients in the kitchen so it was the easiest to try first. After “borrowing” the ingredients, I got down to business.
My mother’s recipe actually makes around 60 cookies to I had to really decrease the recipe for this assignment. After measuring everything out, it was time to bake.
I let the cookies bake for 9 minutes and pulled them out when they were brown. While they smelled delicious, I only had 2 instead of my usual 50. Self-control was never my strength…
After burning my hand (and mouth), I broke up the cookies into smaller chunks. This was far harder than I suspected because a cookie doesn’t break evenly. I didn’t want to just put cookie crumbs in there so this process took some time.
I got out the ice cube tray that my family never uses. I must have forgot what it looked like because the tray was in the shape of snowmen. Well I didn’t have time to waste so I went with it.
I placed the cookie chunks in the middle, added some extra chocolate chips to fill in the gap and poured the milk over them. Lastly I placed the Cookie Cubes in to the freezer and went on with my day.
I waited about 4 hours and pulled the Cookie Cubes out. While they weren’t perfectly hard, they were frozen enough. I took a bite and was surprised. While some bits tasted like ice (to be expected), the other portion had the cookie chunks. Slightly watered down, the chocolate was not bad and the milk cube was savory!
While I wouldn’t call this a perfect success, it wasn’t a bad start. Onwards to test 2.
After ideating that the experience, not the taste, would help create an innovative cookie, I focused on my new idea: Mento Burst Cookies! (Patent Pending of course)
Obviously, just putting Mentos into Coca-Cola wouldn’t qualify as a cookie; I need to imbed it in something. I chose to use the milk as the base again.
After buying some Mentos (a dollar twenty-five well spent!) as well as a can of Coke, I started to prep the ingredients. I placed a single Mento into the snowman ice cube tray and poured the Milk over it. I knew that the combination of milk and the Mento might taste bad but this is was still only a test.
With high hopes, I placed my concoction into the fridge, I needed to prepare the sauce that the consumer would dip the Mento Cube into. This took all of 3 seconds because I just placed the Coke into a cup. The main idea of putting Mentos into Coke was not unique; the novel idea was having the consumer dip the Mentos into the Coke and then having the fizzy explosion happen in their mouth.
From prior knowledge, I knew that the reaction was quite quick and very messy. The Mento was placed inside the milk to the milk would act as a buffer. I chose not to use water because it didn’t seem strong enough to delay the reaction time.
In a perfect world, the consumer would buy the Mento Cube, dip it into the Coke and take a bite, wait for the Coke to seep into the Mento and have the “explosion” happen in their mouth.
In reality, what happened to me was: nothing.
Well, not exactly nothing. When the Coke soaked into the Mento, there was a slight fizz but not much else. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t let down. Taste wise, the milk was not very noticeable when compared to the flavorful Mento. I also added some chocolate chips in there to try those flavors together…..it didn’t work well together.
After trying a few more of the Mento Burst cookies, I realized my problem. The ice cold milk was too strong of a buffer. The Coke was being neutralized too much before it even reached the Mento. Plus, the frozen Mento had a thin layer of ice so the already weak Coke had no chance of starting a reaction.
I would definitely call this one a work in progress. If time allowed, I would have switched the milk out for water or baked plain cookies with Mento bits imbedded. I am not sure if cooking a Mento will alter the chemical composition enough for the reaction not to work but it’s worth a shot!
After deciding that the Cookie Cube had more promise than the Mento Burst cookie, I looked at the problems. While the Cookie Cube tasted pretty good, there were some key flaws:
· The milk had an “Icy” taste to it
· The cube itself was sticky
· The cookie flavors seemed dull
I went back to the drawing board and came up with some options. I tackled each problem one by one.
To get rid of the icy taste, I went online. Several ice cream makers suggested adding cornstarch to improve the consistency. Some food chemists wrote that adding salt will lower the specific heat so the ice melt slower. Lastly, I read online about a protein called BsIA that was created roughly 2 weeks ago. BsIA is a protein that when added to ice cream would make it melt a lot slower than conventional methods. Plus, BsIA gets rid of the “gritty” consistency in ice cream, which is caused by miniature ice crystals.
While BsIA would have been the miracle cure, it won’t be available until 3 years from now. Also, I didn’t have cornstarch in the kitchen so I decided to use the salt. I added roughly 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
As for the sticky cube program, BsIA would have helped solve that problem too. In the meantime, I added a thin layer of water on the top, to give the user a surface to pick up from.
Lastly, the dull cookie flavor was easily solved: Chips on chips on chips. Chocolate chips to be exact. Now that I tackled these problems, it was time to freeze the Cookie Cubes again.
After 5 hours, I pulled out my Cookie Cubes and sampled them. Immediately I could taste the cookie flavor more and the surface wasn’t as sticky. Unfortunately, the milk was still slightly icy. If only I could use BsIA!
The final idea was to add the salt and the thin layer of water but only freeze for 4 hours. I combined all of these ideas to create the Unique Cookie Cube!