Solution to Bake Off

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by Chris Jones, Lillian McKinley, Jon Schneider

The instructions comprise a very detailed recipe for sugar cookies baked from scratch (to be shaped like the team’s emoji). The “simplified” recipe is:

Ingredients Instructions
1 stick butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
240 g flour
  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the vanilla and the egg.
  3. Mix the remaining dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then add to the wet.
  4. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Separate the dough and shape it on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 400º F for 10–12 minutes.

Most of the steps in the recipe go into producing the ingredients from their barest components. Here is a rough breakdown of the steps.

Steps Summary of steps End product
1 Preheat your oven.
2–4 Plant sugarcane. Sugar
5–9 Plant (winter) wheat. Flour
10–14 Make vanilla extract. Vanilla
15–18 Get a cow. Butter
19–21 Harvest wheat. Flour
22–24 Start raising chickens. Egg
25–32 Harvest sodium carbonate ore and refine it into sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Add it to the small bowl. Baking powder
33–36 Winnow the wheat and grind it into flour. Flour
37–43 Dry out some seawater to make salt, and combine it with the flour in the medium bowl. Salt
44–55 Harvest the sugarcane and refine it into sugar crystals Sugar
55–57 Acquire corn and set it out to dry. Baking powder
58–65 Milk the cow and churn it into butter. Note step 60 also tells us to make the final product look like the team emoji. Butter
66–68 Cream the butter and the sugar in the large bowl. Add vanilla extract.
69–71 Harvest an egg from your chicken coop. Consider using the extra eggs to make royal icing. Egg
72–73 Add an egg to the large bowl and mix the wet ingredients.
74–82 Refine cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) from a wine barrel and add it to the small bowl. Baking powder
83–93 Soak the corn kernels and then separate the starch from the protein. Then dry out the starch and add it to the small bowl. Baking powder
94–95 Add the baking powder to the other dry ingredients, and then mix them and add to the wet ingredients.
96 Form the cookies in the shape of your team emoji.
97 Bake the cookies.
98 Ice the cookies.

Calculations of the ingredient amounts that aren’t given:

Ingredient Calculation
Butter ½ gal milk = ⅙ to ¼ lb butter, a stick of butter weighs ¼ lb
Flour 240 g of wheat berries yields 240 g of flour (or a little less)
Salt Density of seawater = 1.027 g/ml
Density of table salt = approximately 1.4 g/ml
Fraction of mass of seawater that is salt = 0.035
Initial seawater = 2 tbsp
2 tbsp * 0.035 * (1.027/1.4) = 0.05 tbsp ≈ ⅛ tsp.
Baking powder 1/2 tsp cream of tartar + 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/4 tsp (approx.) cornstarch = 1 tsp baking powder.

The last step of the recipe asks us to call HQ once our bake is ready. During the hunt, teams that did this were asked to show off their cookies and then asked to identify the emoji from other teams’ cookies in the gallery. After completing this task, teams were given the answer, CILANTRO.

Authors’ Notes

Chilling your cookie dough will make them hold together better, but it’s not included here since we figured puzzlers will be in too much of a rush.