Thursday, June 18, 2009

hot as an oven

So yeah, we baked cookies today.
In the car.

We decided to take advantage of the heat, so I parked out in the driveway with the dashboard in full sun and turned my vehicle into a bakery...

Ryan didn't think it would work.
I was sure it would get to close to 200° inside a parked car on a day like today; 95+° with a heat index of 107°.
200° is warm enough to bake cookies, right?
(It is scary to think about though... pets or children who are trapped in a car in this heat. It's like literally putting them in an oven. Our little project today eerily drove home that point.)

So after we got home from bible study at noon, I parked the car in the driveway and let it soak in the sun for about an hour before we got the cookies out. I took some chocolate chip cookie dough out of the freezer, sliced it up and put it on parchment paper on my cookie sheets.

I used this recipe from Baking Bites by the way, which may be the simplest, best chocolate chip cookie dough I've had. Yet.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in egg, followed by flour mixture and chocolate chips.

!!!I actually just made this cookie dough last night, and while I was making it I kept thinking it seemed a little soft... almost on the runny side. That's why I decided to freeze it. Still, when the cookies "baked" they were spreading super thin and looked more like puddles than fluffy cookies. I was thinking it was just something to do with the non-oven baking. Now that I copied the recipe on here I realized that for some reason (it was late, I was tired and distracted) I'm thinking I only put in 1/2 cup of flour instead of the One And 1/2 cups. Yeah, that could make a difference!!!

Anyway, other than me messing up the recipe, the cookies turned out perfectly! I cut the dough very thin and quite small, thinking that would help keep the cookie "baking" time on the shorter side. They were Yum. Eee. If you've ever had those little thin and tiny vanilla-ish mini chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joes?.... just like those.

The kids were super excited about our experiment. Savannah's been bugging me about doing experiments (side note: the first week of summer vacation we made up a "chart" of sorts for activities -I'm sure I'll do a post on at some point- and one of my brilliant brainstorms under one of the headings was 'do an experiment' and Savannah's been stuck on that ever since) so this was quite timely.

As we left the church this morning I set the stage and we talked about how hot the inside of the car was on such a hot day and I led them into talking about "do you think it's as hot as an oven?", etc, etc, etc. So when we got home we set it all up to try out the experiment.

I set up the cookies (two trays) on the dashboard and used one of Ryan's old scientific thermometers to gauge the temp inside the car just because I was curious. When I took the thermometer out of the garage it read 92. When I put it in the car, on the pan of cookies, it climbed up to 114 in less than a minute. Wow.

According to our local temp reporting, I never saw anything above 93° right here in our area. I don't know how hot it really got or what the heat index got to be. The highest reading I saw on my thermometer inside the car on my random checks was 191.8°. When I would open the door, the temp would drop down to 160-140 pretty quickly. One pan I used was an older, dark cookie sheet; the other was a light colored airbake pan. When I put the thermometer on the dark pan it would read 190. When I transferred the thermometer over to the light pan for awhile, it would go down to 170. That was interesting.

Through my windshield.
Mmm... bugs with your cookies??

I put towels under my cookie sheets to make sure we weren't burning the dashboard with the hot metal.
The cookies on the dark pan were done in about 2, maybe 2 1/2 hours. The lighter pan took almost 3 1/2 hrs. I left them alone for almost two hours and then checked every 30 minutes or so. I figured they weren't really going to burn... :)

Again, these would actually look like normal cookies if I had actually been awake enough to follow the recipe!

So the kids were anxious to eat them:

I have to say, they were pretty yummy. It's been a little while since I've baked plain ol' fresh chocolate chip cookies in my oven, but I'm tempted to say these might be better than the last time I did. That's probably silly, because they're the same cookie, but they seemed extra good.

Thumbs up from Savannah!

We gobbled up a lot of them (it's a good thing they were little!).

Savannah asked "Mom, can we make those car cookies every day that it's hot?"
And I overheard her later on with Sawyer, "Sawyer, those car cookies were really good weren't they?!"

I think we just might do them again if we have a few days of really hot weather this summer. It sure is easy and kinda fun and doesn't cost a penny in electricity or heat up my kitchen.
Plus, it's a great air freshener for the car!! :)


Misti said...

What a fun idea! I would have never thought to do something like that. I'll have to remember this when my DS is older. We live in GA so it certainly gets hot enough.

Mom said...

You guys are S-I-L-L-Y !!!!XOXOXOX

Ryan said...

i was wrong, your were right...
but now that i know how hot the car gets i am going to need you to always start the car with the air on high for me.

Steph said...

What a great idea!! I can't believe it worked!!!

Anonymous said...

That's really awesome Heather. You're such a cool mom.

jenny said...

i would have never ever though to do that - just for fun. COOL er, should i say HOT? haha! that is insane but awesome all at the same time. :)

ALISON said...

You should look into building a solar oven - they're apparently cheap and easy to construct - and can get as hot as 350 degrees (from what I read.) Then you could yard bake to your heart's content in the hot weather :)

anne said...

Whoa, I can't believe you tried that!! The kids must have loved it!

deals hunt said...

sound good!!What a great idea!!

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