TECH
12/21/2014 09:11 am ET Updated Dec 21, 2014

Want Your Cookies To Look Really Fancy? Try This 3D Printer

Behind on your holiday baking? Maybe a 3D printer would help.

Natural Machines, a Barcelona-based startup, has created a 3D printer for food, called the "Foodini." It won't do all the work necessary to make a batch of cookies, but it at least helps with assembly, giving non-experts a way to make intricate food creations.

Here's how it works, with some help from a video put together by Reuters. In the video, the machine is a large prototype, but the consumer product appears to be fully enclosed and designed not unlike a microwave.

First, start with a recipe -- one of your own, or you can choose from an online database put together by the Foodini makers and in the future, other Foodini owners. The printer can help prepare pasta, pizza, quiches, cookies, brownies, chicken nuggets, burgers and really whatever you want to shove in there. Gather your ingredients, mix them up and then pack them into a capsule that will snap into the device to dispense your food.

Put the capsule in the Foodini.

Use a touchscreen to tell the machine what you want to make, and it will dispense your batch accordingly -- in a few minutes you can have the base for a beautiful cookie.

Then you can add toppings. That's easy when its icing or sauce, but if you're looking for something else -- chopped mushrooms, say, you'll have to do some more prep without the machine. The device doesn't bake or cook whatever you make, but that may be an addition for the future.

Is this even edible? This guy proved it was, after the cookie was baked separately.

So there'd still be some work involved in making cookies and other stuff with a Foodini, but maybe not as much as there would normally be. Owning a "Foodini" is like having your own food-processing plant, except you can control what goes in and see what comes out, cofounder Lynette Kucsma wrote in a LinkedIn post.

Kucsma told Reuters that she hopes the machine will make people buy fewer pre-processed foods.

The company launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign in April 2014, failing to meet a goal to raise $100,000. But it is scheduled to make a small number of Foodinis early in 2015. The device should cost about $1,300.

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