Agriculture News

December 20, 2017

Purdue student team hopes cookie stacks up at national baking competition

Baking competition Sarah Gafter, Anbuhkani (Connie) Muniandy and Collin Felten comprise a Purdue University team competing in the finals of the American Society of Baking’s Product Development Competition. (Purdue Agriculture Communication photo/Tom Campbell) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A team of Purdue University food science students has developed a crispy, buttery, crunchy, chocolatey and gooey-in-the-middle cookie, and members hope it will delight the senses of judges in this year’s American Society of Baking (ASB) Product Development Competition.

Graduate students Collin Felten, Sarah Gafter and Anbuhkani (Connie) Muniandy are in the finals of the competition this year, pitting their cookie against baked goods from students at Kansas State University, The Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Judges will select a winner at BakingTech 2018, ASB’s annual technology conference and marketplace exposition, held Feb. 25-27 in Chicago.

Students were tasked with developing a new bakery food product under the theme “futuristic sweet goods.” They’ll be judged on potential success of the product in the market and problem-solving skills used in product development. Winners receive scholarships, from $2,000 per team member for first place to $500 each for fourth.

“A lot of food science programs are strong in product development,” Felten said. “This was really student-driven. It’s exciting to experience some success and getting Purdue recognition in competitions like this.”

The Purdue team wanted to create a product with an international flavor profile and appealing textures. The cookie was created based on Turkish flavors, a combination of apricot, pistachios and cardamom, a spice from south and southeast Asia known for its herbal and citrus characteristics.

“Definitely, there’s a crunch from the butter cookies themselves and then from the pistachios,” Muniandy said. “There’s a hint of cardamom and sweetness from apricot. Every time I take a bite, it’s so delicious.”

When judges take bites, it will be the first time someone outside of Purdue has tried the cookie creation. The finalists were chosen based on descriptions of their flavor profiles and production techniques.

Lisa Mauer, professor of food science and the team’s advisor, said the competition entry was completely student-driven. She’s happy to see students taking what they learn in classes and labs and putting it to the test.

“It’s really exciting to see students trying new things and entering new competitions,” Mauer said. “They’re finding new ways to learn through these types of competitions and each other.”

Writer: Brian Wallheimer, 765-532-0233,

Source: Collin Felten, 401-280-6364,

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Shari Finnell, Manager/Media Relations and Public Information,  
Agriculture News Page

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