Don’t let the name freak you out – Molecular Gastronomy is just the scientific exploration of food preparation.
What You Need:
Measuring cups and spoons
Droppers or syringes
Sieve or slotted spoon
Dessert Topping (we used chocolate, but most kinds will work)
Food grade sodium alginate (available at several websites like this one)
Food grade calcium chloride (available at several websites like this one)
What To Do:
Blend ½ tsp. food grade sodium alginate with 1 cup of water until powder is dissolved.
Add 4 tbs. of flavoring (in this case chocolate syrup) and blend again.
Pour into bowl and set aside. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes until the bubbles have subsided.
Pour 2¼ cups of warm water into a second bowl.
Add ¾ tsp. of food grade calcium chloride to warm water. Stir until dissolved.
Fill a third bowl with clean water.
Place a sieve into the calcium chloride solution.
Use a syringe or dropper to drip the chocolate solution into the calcium chloride solution, letting the sieve catch the capsules. If you don’t have a sieve, you can use a slotted spoon to retrieve them, but it is harder.
Lift the sieve from the calcium chloride solution and put into the plain water for a rinse.
Drop onto your ice cream! (or dessert of choice)
The little capsules that are forming are being created by self-assembly. Self-assembly is just what it sounds like – when structures form automatically when provided the correct conditions. Snowflakes self-assemble as do other crystals and, in fact, all living things, too! The key is provide the right conditions. In this case, the sodium alginate reacts with the calcium chloride, causing the alginate to self-assemble a gel-like shell around the flavoring, creating a flavor-filled casing!