Introduction: Laser Engraved Trader Joe's Meringues
It turns out that due to the way that they are produced, Trader Joe's Meringues have flat bottoms, and are relatively uniform in the diameter of the bottoms and the height / shape of the swirl.
I wanted to make a unique gift and thought that laser engraving the bottom of the Meringues would be cool.
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Step 1: Select Photo and Prepare for Laser Engraving
After I bought the meringues, I searched the web for a photo that I wanted to use. I copied it and and launched Corel Paint. I did a paste from clipboard. I selected the oval mask tool and cut it out of the original photo.
I then eliminated the dark area from the oval. The trick is to make the size of the photo about 70% the width of the meringues. This way, if you are not exactly accurate -- which is tough since you are dealing with food and not metal, you will make sure that you have a finished product that is mostly centered.
Next, in Corel, convert the color photo to black and white. The last step is to push the contrast to 100.
Step 2: Purchase a Votive Candle Holder From Target
The biggest challenge in laser engraving is to hold the work securely. I bought a $1.00 votive candle holder at Target. It is the perfect size to hold the meringues upside down.
I aimed the red dot of the visible laser at the upper left corner of the meringues to align it for the engraving.
Step 3: Get Your Power Settings Right
When you engrave the meringues, you are essentially caramelizing the sugar on the bottom surface. ie: burning it!
The meringue is so sweet, you don't taste burned sugar.
You want the power to be 100, the velocity to be 90, and the frequency to be 1000. Note, this is done on a TroTec Laser -- your settings may be different.
You also need to check the "Invert" check box. This makes it work really well.
That's all there is to it. Run the job 20 times, and repack the box. Put a bow on it and you have a great gift that's unique!
That's all there is to it!
I made it at TechShop!
If you want to mass produce your engraved meringues -- This will show you how to make a jig to do 12 at a time.