Monday, 19 January 2015

I Conduct An Experiment

In the interests of science, and of my son's soon to be birthday, I want to find out whether cookies baked from frozen dough taste as good as those baked from fresh dough.  In order to know this, I am conducting a controlled experiment.

According to Wikipedia (a source I use when my students aren't looking): "a controlled experiment often compares the results obtained from experimental samples against control samples, which are practically identical to the experimental sample except for the one aspect whose effect is being tested (the independent variable)".

This evening, I have made a batch of cookie dough - chocolate chip - and so far I have baked 12 and I am waiting for a further 6 to be ready. That makes 18 cookies which I hope is enough for a few to make it through to tomorrow evening.  I have frozen the remaining dough - enough for six cookies - which I will unfreeze tomorrow, roll into balls, press with a fork and bake.  The independent variable in my experiment will be the frozen nature of the dough.  Or rather, the unfrozen nature of the dough. Or rather the once frozen nature of the dough.

On my return from work tomorrow, and before badminton, I'll make a pot of tea, sit down and compare the cookies baked from freshly baked dough with the cookies baked from once frozen dough.  I will do this by eating one, then another, being careful not to muddle them up.

The problem is, because the cookies baked from fresh dough will be a day old by tomorrow, another independent variable (one-day-oldness) will have been introduced.   The other problem is, I have to eat one first, and then the other, introducing another variable (order-in-which-cookies-are-eaten).  It will also be a Tuesday.  And I might fancy Earl Grey.  And we will be a couple of minutes of light nearer the equinox.

I seem to have backed myself into an uncontrolled cookie-filled corner of multiple independent variables.  Ah well.

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