Editors' note, November 29, 2016: Looks like people really love their cookies. The Chip Smart Cookie Oven reached its $100,000 crowdfunding goal six days before its Kickstarter campaign's scheduled end date. As of 12:20 p.m. ET today, 592 people have pledged about $105,580 to bring this project to fruition.
Baking cookies for Santa could get a little easier next Christmas Eve. SideChef, the company behind the recipe app of the same name, just launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for a Wi-Fi-connected cookie oven.
The Chip Smart Cookie Oven is kind of like a Keurig for cookies -- the countertop appliance is designed to bake just enough cookies for one (or more if you're feeling generous). SideChef's goal is to raise $100,000 to make the Chip a reality, and the company has until Dec. 2 to do so. We've seen smart-home gadget companies flourish and flounder when they depend on crowdfunding campaigns, so it's too early to see where the Chip will land.
Here's how the smart cookie oven will work: SideChef will sell cookie dough pods that each contain enough for one cookie. You use the Chip's app to scan the QR code on the package of dough, and the app will send baking instructions to the Chip via Wi-Fi. Pop the dough out of the pods and into the Chip, which contains a 4-inch convection fan that circulates hot air to bake the cookie. Less than 10 minutes later, SideChef promises you'll have a perfect cookie, and the app will send you a notification when it's done. You can also use the app to send CookieGrams, videos of you eating cookies that I can only assume is a cruel way to strike revenge on your hungriest enemies.
This product sounds like the Jetsons' version of an Easy-Bake Oven, and the price reflects that. SideChef estimates that the retail price for the Chip will be $249 (roughly £200 in the UK or AU$325). However, 500 folks who want to get in early can preorder the oven for $99 (£80 or AU$130) during the Kickstarter campaign (if you miss that deal, you can still preorder a unit for $129/£105/AU$170). And don't forget those pods: SideChef will sell subscriptions for its cookie dough pods with prices ranging from 88 cents to $2 a pod.
This is all running under the assumption that SideChef will raise all the money they need to bring Chip to life. As with other crowdfunding campaigns, nothing is guaranteed.
I love a freshly baked cookie as much as the next gal with a sweet tooth. But that's a steep price when you consider that you can buy a tub of cookie dough that will make three dozen cookies for about $4 in the US. Fortunately, you'll be able to use manual settings on the Chip if you want to use your own cookie dough. Just remember that you'll still only be able to make a maximum of four cookies at a time, which wouldn't even get me through the first leg of a decent Netflix binge.
Machines like the Chip that are designed to cook one type of food are a questionable use of valuable kitchen countertop real estate, especially if you don't have daily hankerings for freshly baked goods. But the Chip could go the way of the Flatev, single-serve, pod-based tortilla maker that raised nearly $136,200 during the product's fully funded Kickstarter campaign. SideChef will just have to prove that the Chip can bake cookies well enough to make folks ignore the value of multiuse toaster ovens and store-bought dough in favor of a specialty product.