Schrödinger’s cat paradox is easily one of quantum mechanics most notable thought experiments. It may feature a dead cat or one that is very much alive, and can also be applied to a brownie…or not. We’ll get to that.
I’ll explain the thought experiment: Someone puts a cat in a bomb-proofed room with, say, a grenade that has a 50% chance of blowing up and 50% chance of doing nothing. We have no idea if that cat is dead or alive or if the grenade has exploded. When we actually look in the room, the cat is either dead or alive. Before we look in the room and before we know if the cat is dead or alive, it is in a state of superposition. Rather, the cat is both dead AND alive from our perspective. The cat in the room, however, might see things differently if it sees the grenade explode or not. There are two options: the grenade exploded and the cat saw the explosion OR the grenade did not explode and the cat did not see an explosion. That’s it. There is no option that the grenade exploded and the cat did not see the explosion.
Our observation of this entire scenario and its possibilities leads us to the idea of entanglement. In other words, the cat’s state and our observation of the cat’s state dovetail. They are entwined and may exist in parallel, and each outcome of the cat’s fate does not interact with another. We are forced to pick one option, ergo collapse our frame of view. The cat dies and we see it dead OR the cat lives and we see it alive. Or, both can happen simultaneously, in some alternative universe, some suggest. Our choice also entangles us with the cat, as no one state can be explained independently from other.
There are many offshoots and variations, from how the cat dies to where it is. I propose Schrödinger’s paradox applies to these brownies. Kind of.
Someone puts a foil-covered dessert in front of you that has a 50% chance of being a raw vegan brownie and 50% chance of not being a raw vegan brownie. We have no idea if the dessert will taste bad or good. When we actually peel off the foil and taste it, and it is, in fact, just simply a brownie, the brownie tastes good or bad. Before we take off the foil and before we know if the brownie tastes good or bad, it is in a state of superposition, just like the cat. Here’s where things break down a bit: I will not anthropomorphize the brownie. It cannot know if it is a brownie or not, nor if it is good or bad.
However, just like the cat experiment, our observation of this entire brownie scenario and its possibilities leads us to entanglement and we are expected to collapse our frame of view. Here again is where things deviate from the original thought experiment: today’s recipe may never be a brownie to you, but it is always good. I argue that there is a corollary state of chocolate superposition, given that this chocolatey creation is brownie-like, and good and healthy, and free of traditional brownie preparation in the oven. There is no baking. There is no processed sugar, just caramel-like dates. There are loads of nuts. Cacao powder just seems dusty and flat, but it has rich, deep flavor. There is no animal fat. It looks like a brownie and smells like a brownie. It is a not-brownie, but it *is* a brownie, and it is good. It is Schrödinger’s brownie. And it’s vegan — don’t let that scare you out of thinking about this brownie paradox.
See what I’m saying? Try it for yourself and let me know. Quantum mechanics’ thought experiments of brownies are not as complicated as superpositioned dead-alive cats. Verschränkung.
One year ago: tawa naan
Three years ago: crisp flatbread with za’atar
From the lovely My New Roots foodblog.
- 2 cups whole walnuts
- 2½ to 3 cups Medjool dates, pitted*
- 1 cup raw cacao (the "cooked" cocoa powder is also okay here)
- 1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Place walnuts in food processor and blend on high for a few minutes until the nuts are finely ground.
- Add the cacao and salt. Pulse to combine.
- Add the dates one at a time through the feed tube of the food processor while it is running. If you have especially large dates, cute them in half before adding. Sarah explains that your mixture looks like cake crumbs, but that when pressed, will easily stick together (if the mixture does not hold together well, add more dates). When I add more dates, the mixture balls up in the food processor.
- Combine the walnut-cacao mix with the chopped almonds, pulsing quickly in the food processor or mixing with a spoon.
- Press into a parchment-lined cake pan or mold. I use an 8x8-inch pan with good luck. Place in freezer or fridge until ready to serve, as they cut better when cold. They taste better if at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.