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The Hungry Scientist Handbook

Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies

by Patrick Buckley and Lily Binns

Paperback, 205 pages, Harpercollins, List Price: $16.99 |


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The Hungry Scientist Handbook
Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies
Patrick Buckley and Lily Binns

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Book Summary

A collection of do-it-yourself projects features an array of unusual or edible gadgets, from glowing lollipops and cryogenic martinis to a portable iPod boom-box made from a Tupperware container. Original. 20,000 first printing.

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Excerpt: The Hungry Scientist Handbook

The Hungry Scientist Handbook

Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2008 Patrick Buckley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061238680

Chapter One

Edible Undies

* Lace-Up caramel lingerie

We had purely scientific intentions when we went into development for an edible lingerie prototype. Seriously—haven't you ever wondered how a chocolate thong works? We asked our fashionista-inventor friend Jenna Phillips if she knew how to go about designing undergarments suitable for salivation and mastication. Needless to say, we were very pleased by her invention.

Caramel candy is formed by caramelizing sugar, or heating it until the sucrose molecules break down into different compounds, which become darker in color and toastier in flavor the longer they're cooked. The more you heat, let cool, and reheat the caramel, the stronger it will become—though you probably shouldn't count on this lace holding up all night. Then again, it's not really meant to last.


10-inch plastic-coated icing bag
A variety of small-opening decorating tips for icing
Wax paper or silicone mats
Lingerie, to use as template
Felt-tip pen


1 stick butter
11⁄8 cups light brown sugar
½ cup dark Karo syrup
½ cup condensed milk
¾ tsp vanilla extract

1. To create a template, stretch a piece of lingerie out over a sheet of wax paper and trace its outline with the felt-tip pen. Fold the paper in half to check that its shape is symmetrical. Attach the smallest tip to the nonstick icing bag and set aside.

2. To concoct the caramel, combine the butter and sugar in a double boiler or a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the Karo syrup and evaporated milk. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Test the thickness by spooning threads of it onto a piece of wax paper. After it cools for 5 minutes, the caramel should be pliable, but not too liquid; runny enough to pass through the small tip of the icing bag but thick enough to hold its shape.

3. Holding the icing bag in a dish towel to prevent it from burning your hands, spoon about 1⁄2 cup of hot caramel into the bag. Fold down the top of the bag to close it, and, squeezing from the top down, drizzle the caramel in a lacy pattern within your template.

4. The caramel will quickly start to cool in the bag. When it becomes too viscous to pass through the tip, scrape it back out with a spoon into the pot on the stove, and reheat it until it's runny again. You will need to reheat the caramel several times. This may seem like a pain, but the reheating becomes important later in the process of creating the lingerie.

5. To attach the different pieces of lacework once the templates have been sufficiently filled out, you will need stronger pieces of caramel to act as connectors. Scrape the caramel that has been reheated several times into the icing bag. Attach a larger decorating tip and squeeze out three long ropes of caramel. Lay them next to one another on the wax paper and braid them.

6. As the braids cool and stiffen, attach them to the top of the lace with dabs of hot caramel. Keep a few longer strips to go around the back. (You will attach these pieces to one another when putting the lingerie on a person.)

7. Now that the lingerie is close to completion, set it in your freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to let it cool and harden. When you remove it from the freezer, it should not feel sticky, and will easily peel off the wax paper.

8. Place the entire piece of lingerie on a mannequin or willing human subject. With small dabs of hot caramel, attach the final connectors. As the lingerie warms to body temperature, it will become pliable, and very sticky. If sticky isn't your style, cook the caramel longer at the beginning. The more it has been cooked, the harder it is, and the slower it melts. Either way, the result is delicious.See the Appendix for a source for more information on candy making and supplies.

See the Appendix for a source for more information on candy making and supplies.

* No lingerie models ­were harmed during the undertaking of this experiment.