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Experiment 1: March 3, 2009


Approximately 3 cups potting soil
1 t baking powder
1 T salt
2 T sugar
2 T oil
3/4 c water

Mix, form into cookies, bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Results: Unsuccessful. None of the ingredients served to bind the soil together, and cookies fell apart immediately.

Ways to improve: The soil in Haiti appears to have some clay content, and is very fine, probably ground or somehow "milled" beyond its natural state. When the weather dries out a bit, I'll try to use soil with clay content. I would also prefer using soil that has not been "enriched" with chicken poop, bat guano, etc.

Experiment 2, March 23, 2009


1/4 cup sodium bentonite
3/4 cup very hot water
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 cup powdered sugar

Mix, adding more bentonite if necessary. Form cookies using two teaspoons. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Results: More successful than previous attempt, with cookies holding their shape, cooking evenly, and even rising slightly from the baking powder (or bentonite's own capcity for absorbing water).

These cookies are technically edible, although they have a rubbery texture. Their taste is not at all unpleasant, with the sugar and salt giving them a sweet, tangy taste. I found the cookie I ate to be have a comforting slow dissolve that tasted how geophagists describe their earth, like the ground after a hard rain. Small pieces of the bentonite refuse to dissolve and crunch around between the teeth, though not in an unpleasant way.

Experiment 3, April 16, 2009



1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Calcium Bentonite Dry Powder Clay
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup 3-Minute Oatmeal

Cream butter, adding sugar gradually and mix well. Mix soda, flour and clay and add to creamed mixture. Next add oats. Form into small balls and bake at 375º F. for 10-15 minutes. Makes 2 doz.

This time, I am making a more conventional cookie. I have changed the recipe from the one posted on the aboutclay website, halving it, but also doubling the amount of bentonite clay to give the cookies a more clay-like taste and color.

Previous experiments with mud and straight clay have taught me that baking without any binding agents, starches, or flours is very difficult! I would like to present cookies that are actually edible, if not during the entire installation, at least at the opening. I think these oatmeal-based clay cookies are the best option.

They are definitely the best of the three cookies I've tried so far. They're sweet and edible, but the extra clay makes them just gritty enough to taste different from regular oatmeal cookies.