You've seen it in bar form. Probably devoured it as a truffle. What about that melted, oozing goodness? There have always been multiple ways to consume our favorite treat, but none of them can equate to the unique shape of chocolate that Malcolm Mackley has discovered.
Mackley, a professor of chemical engineering (and his PhD student Yu Wen Chen) of Cambridge University have discovered the use of "cold extrusion" for molding chocolate. Think about a Slinky, folks. Now you'll get the idea of what occurs when solid chocolate is pressed in a die to create flexible straws, a process which is routine for polymers, pasta and ice cream.
This technique is quite different than the status quo. Most chocolate goodies are made by melting and casting methods, but Mackley’s formation works at room temperature - below chocolate’s melt-in-the-mouth temperature of around 40 °C.
The straws of chocolate are flexible for a limited period of time, but remain so long enough to be shaped. They can even be tied into knots or coiled like a spring.
Chocolate is a complex semi-solid consisting of sugar crystals and milk and cocoa solids in a matrix of fat, some of it liquid. Mackley and Chen said that some of this liquid fat moves to the walls of the die, easing the chocolate’s flow in the extrusion process.
Now, our favorite dessert is both sweet to eat and fun to play with.
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