Bulb ban forces Easy-Bake Oven redesign
TAMPA - When the traditional 100-watt light bulb disappears in January, at least one item will have to evolve: a toy that has been close to the heart of millions of young Americans for decades. The Easy-Bake Oven. Since 1963, the petite, plastic oven that kids use to bake cookies and muffins has used a 100-watt bulb as the heat source. But those bulbs will be banned in January by new energy rules meant to encourage Americans to adopt more-efficient bulbs such as compact fluorescents and LEDs. Unfortunately for young bakers, those bulbs run cool. Far too cool to bake cakes.Officials with the Easy Bake Oven's maker, Hasbro, say company engineers have the cooking crisis well in hand. "Beginning this August, the Easy-Bake brand will be launching the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, which introduces a new way to bake for the next generation of chefs," Hasbro said in a statement. The new oven will use an internal heating element, not a light bulb. Other enhancements include slots on the left and right sides rather than the front-door design of previous models, and a larger heating chamber to cook an extended menu that's "reflective of the hottest baking trends for today." That includes Rockin' Pizza with marinara, garlic herb sauce and dough shaped like guitars; Party Pretzel Dippers, with cheese dip; Checker Cake kits to make double-decker vanilla and chocolate layers; and designer brownie Dessert Dippers. As with many consumer goods, the price is also rising. Instead of the $39.99 price of previous models that came with baking kits, the Ultimate oven will retail for a suggested $49.99.
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