When it comes to food-related mysteries, one of the most pressing—beyond, even, how many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop—is how long to dunk an Oreo into a glass of milk. As someone with roughly 25 years of Oreo-dunking experience, I've had my share of successes and failures in this realm. Leave an Oreo in a glass of milk for too long, and the whole thing falls apart. Dunk for too short of a time, and you might as well be licking chocolate sandpaper. But fortunately for us, the good people at Utah State University's Splash Lab—which sounds fake but I swear it's not—have discovered the correct amount of time to leave an Oreo dunked in milk.
According to Salt Lake City local news site KSL.com, scientists spent two weeks solving this mystery. They started their research after it kept coming up in conversation. "Everybody kind of argued about it," researcher Dr. Tadd Truscott said. To answer the question once and for all, the lab dunked an assortment of different cookies—from Nutter Butters to graham crackers to Oreos—in milk "for several hours a day" over two weeks. They found that each cookie absorbed liquid at roughly the same rate. For Oreos, this meant that after one second, the cookie had already absorbed 50 percent of fluids possible. Therefore, assuming that the cookie eater is looking for a thoroughly dunked, but not just damp Oreo, the ideal Oreo dunking time is four seconds, as it will have reached maximum absorption, but not overstepped it. Beyond this, the researchers say, sugars and proteins break down and leave the dunker with more mess than cookie.
I'm going to be honest with you: I like a little more integrity to my dunked Oreo, so I may stick with—I don't know—a three-second dip? But more tests are needed. Excuse me while I go outfit my own Splash Lab.