The machine, which is awaiting patent approval, can make cookies by totally enclosing the dough on a module attached to a standard wirecut machine. Up until now manufacturers needed a separate unit to do this.
Chocolate, caramel, cream
The cookies can have any fillings which are low enough in viscosity, including chocolate, caramel, cream, peanut butter or jam.
Keith Graham, marketing manager, Baker Perkins, said it took 15 months from the start of the feasibility study to finalizing the design and filing the patent application.
“The patent application was made at the end of August and it normally takes a year for them to be assessed,” he said.
“The encapsulating system has generated a lot of enquiries and we are working closely with a number of customers but we can’t disclose who they are at the moment.”
Graham added customers can now make both standard and encapsulated cookies on the same machine with minimal changeover time and it is not restricted to clients who buy a wirecut machine as it works on existing models as well.
“There is a growing market for filled cookies and this is part of a developing niche for more luxury and indulgence in this category,” said Graham.
"This is going hand in hand with cleaner labeling. Consumers are increasingly happy to accept cookies for what they are - an indulgent treat – but are looking for ingredient lists that are shorter and contain only things they recognize.
“In the future, we expect to see more ‘Free-from’ products – particularly gluten-free – as they are rapidly becoming mainstream and there is no reason to believe this will not transfer to the cookie market at some point.”
Iris-die cutters crimp the dough
Depending on which model the encapsulating system and iris cutter is being installed on, it can take a couple of days to install the machine on a new machine and longer on older models.
The machine works by pumping a stream of filling into the centre of the dough cylinder at the wirecut die. A set of iris-die cutters then crimp the dough and filling, forcing the dough to enclose the filling.
Once the encapsulated cookies are on the conveyor they pass under a tamping or gauging roll to flatten them. This removes any machine marks caused by the iris die and ensures the same thickness on all cookies before packaging.
Graham said Baker Perkins is now working on a number of products to be launched at Interpack next year in the confectionery, cereal and snack industries and is continuing to improve the hygienic design of its range of biscuit, cookie and cracker equipment.
Interpack will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, from May 4-10, 2017.