Bonnie Eisenman bio photo

Bonnie Eisenman

Software engineer, author, knitter, Esperantist. Member of NYC Resistor and author of Learning React Native.
Email me: bonnie.eisenman@gmail.com.

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People typically use NYC Resistor’s laser cutter to cut things like wood or acrylic, but my roommate Brenda and I enjoy using it on tastier substances.

Last night we brought some chocolate squares and some colored sugar / sprinkles to test out with the laser with the goal of caramelizing the sugar and fusing it to the chocolate. We’re still experimenting with ideas, and wanted to do some research on what techniques and settings work best, especially with the new laser.

TLDR; it works, and it tastes delicious.

For those who want to replicate this on your own laser cutter: NYC Resistor has a 60W Epilog laser. We set the speed to 100, power to 30, and DPI to 300. (Don’t try to cut chocolate with the laser. It melts. Etching works great though.)

We begin by placing the chocolate and sugar in the laser bed. Don’t forget a layer of parchment paper or something similar beneath, if you’re planning on eating your tasty, tasty results.

Then – fire the laser! One pass was usually enough, depending on the thickness of the sugar layer. You can do two passes if you wish, which will caramelize the sugar more effectively. However, this will also dull the color.

After the laser finishes, let the chocolate sit for about 30 seconds before removing. When you lift the chocolate, the un-lasered sugar should slide off, leaving you with your design.

Large, less-detailed designs work better. This will depend on the size of your sugar “pixels” versus pixels in the design. In the future we will be trying more fine-grained colored sugar, and probably multiple colors too!

PS: even without sugar, etching chocolate is pretty fun. We did the NYCR logo, too, just because.