Printer Dots and Baking Snickerdoodles

I love baking. So, when I was baking my first batch of snickerdoodles, I had an ah-ha moment about our print head technology. Let me explain.

You see, I usually make chocolate chip cookies. With this kind of dough, I’d roll a cookie dough ball, place it on a cookie sheet, and it would melt down into a flat shape. I quickly learned that snickerdoodles don’t do that—they hold their form in the oven. If I wanted a good snickerdoodle, I actually had to shape the cookie dough just the right way. And that got me thinking about dots, shaping dots, and how Epson printers create droplets and dots. Before I knew it, I had a post about print head technology and an excuse to publish my snickerdoodle recipe. Nice.

When I rolled my first batch of snickerdoodles into balls and flattened them slightly between my palms, the edges of the cookies cracked, and I tried to smooth out the edges (with marginal success).

The first set of snickerdoodles...  not precisely shaped.

The first set of snickerdoodles… not precisely shaped.

The cookies from the not-so-precisely shaped cookie dough.

The cookies from the not-so-precisely shaped cookie dough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So with the next batch, I shaped them carefully into discs using my thumb and forefinger. They turned out great. Just like our printers’ droplets.

The carefully and precisely shaped snickerdoodle cookie dough.

The carefully and precisely shaped snickerdoodle cookie dough.

The great looking (and tasting) snickerdoodles!

The great looking (and tasting) snickerdoodles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The precisely shaped dots from from Epson printhead technology:  PrecisionCoreTM and MicroPiezo® techonologies

The precisely shaped dots from from Epson printheads: PrecisionCoreTM and MicroPiezo® techonologies.

Our printers use micropiezo technology, which is the same principle behind most digital watches. You see, when you apply electricity to quartz, it vibrates. So, using the same principle that a watch uses to keep time, our print heads have a little plate that deforms when electricity is applied, then returns to normal when the electricity stops. These micropiezo heads control the size and shape of an ink droplet by the amount of voltage applied. The larger the voltage, the bigger the drop. By varying the voltage, we can create precise round dots, just like my second batch of snickerdoodles. It’s a very controlled process.

Another type of inkjet technology, called thermal, isn’t as controlled. It uses an element to super heat the ink, creating a little bubble that explodes onto the page. It’s just not as precise as shaping them carefully.

What does this all mean? Well, the ability to create a precisely round droplet in a controlled manner means you get much better image quality. I don’t know if it makes snickerdoodles taste any better (although they do look better), but try the recipe (in the sidebar) and see for yourself.

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