Car-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies, step by step

car cookies, pre-baking

Last week, I drew up some guidelines to follow if you wanted to try baking cookies in your car. This past weekend, since the temperatures were well over 100F out here, I decided to give the technique a try myself. I parked my car in full sunlight in the middle of the day, sliced up some cookie dough and started to bake.

I previously noted that most of the reporters and writers who tried this technique used refrigerated, slice-and-bake cookie dough. My guess would be that they chose to use that type of pre-fab dough because they might not be regular bakers and were looking for something that would be quick and easy, since the baking process using a car is not exactly fast. I went with a homemade dough, but decided that I, too, would use a slice-and-bake type of cookie  (the recipe is at the bottom of this article). This meant that my dough could be prepared well in advance and that I could control the thickness of each cookie with precise slicing. Drop cookies work, too, but this seems to be the best way to control spread and ensure even cooking.

car cookies, unsliced

I sliced my dough into 1/4-inch thick slices and placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet. I used potholders to support the baking sheet (and to prevent any damage to my dashboard from the hot metal) and placed both the cookies and an oven thermometer in my car. 30 minutes later, the cookies were beginning to spread slightly.

car cookies, 30 minutes in

The temperature inside my car reached over 180F during baking. Since my car is significantly larger than my oven, I didn’t want to open the car doors at any point during the baking. I recommend that you remove anything you think you’ll need before you begin. Here are the cookies after about 1 hour:

car cookies, halfway done

It took about 2 1/2 hours for the cookies to bake completely. I ended up opening the car door shortly before the end of the baking period to check for doneness. This check has to be done manually, as there are no color indicators (such as brownness) to judge by because the sugar in the car cookies does not caramelize and brown like that of oven-baked cookies. So, I gently pressed the edges of the cookies to feel that they were firm and even more gently touched the center of one of the cookies to see that it held together and was not gooey (the center of the cookie should not be entirely firm, unless you are shooting for a crispy cookie). Finally, I slid one of the cookies around on the parchment paper – a good test for this type of baking because a baked cookie will release easily from the paper, while an unbaked cookie will stick in place. If your cookies are not done, add more baking time in 15 or 30 minute increments, as opposed to the 30 second or 1 minute increments you might add to an oven-baked cookie.

car cookies, just about done

The finished cookies were very light in color, but smelled and tasted delicious. They were slightly crisp at the edges and chewy in the center. I think that they were best hot out of the car, and believe that my tasters did, too, since the whole batch was gone in under 5 minutes. My only regret is that I didn’t bake more at one time, since it’s a time-consuming process and not something I’m up for every day.

car cookies, finished and ready to eat
Car-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies
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.
Place dough on a large sheet of wax paper and roll into a log approximately 11-inches long by 2.5-inches wide. Freeze for 2-3 hours, or overnight.
When ready to bake, park your car in the sun on a 100F+ day. Slice cookies into 1/4-inch thick slices and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Place baking sheet on car dashboard (with protective towel underneath) and bake for 2 1/2-3 hours, until done.
If you have a big dashboard (or a friend with another car), you can do two batches at once, otherwise you can save half of the dough for another day.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

238 comments

  1. I LOVE THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIPS COOKIES

  2. HEY ROSEY SO HEARD YOU DOING DIS COOKING REALLY GOING WELL I TAKE ALL DA RECIPE DOWN THANX AILEEN

  3. My favorite mobile phone is the legendary Nokia N95 8gb :) I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  4. Made two batches of dough — one for tomorrow — one for friday

    Here in Houston, the Texas heat should be in high 90′s (even with the rain in the mornings) and a real-feel of 104-107

    I am sure they will cook nicely and turn out delicious — Thanks!

  5. That’s one expensive solar oven!

  6. doesnt cooking at such low temperatures leave you at risk of bacterial infestation?

  7. Congratulations on your fantastic recipe.. if everyone bakes cookies like this then lot of electricity will be saved… it’s surely a Greener, more eco-friendly way to bake cookies..he he I’m surely gonna give it a try..!:)

  8. This is excellent! So resourceful.

  9. It’s an interesting idea. I’m just concerned that there are chemicals that are released inside a car when it is very hot. It’s bad enough that we breathe it in when we first get into the car. If those chemicals were to get into the food that’s been cooking in the car… well you get the idea.

  10. I believe in Malaysia, I dun hv to wait for 2 1/2 hours for the cookies to bake. We have ‘summer’ all year long.
    Champion!!!

  11. I’m kind of relieved that it took as long as 2.5 hours — I live in Las Vegas and always feel like I’m loading my groceries into a crock pot for the drive home. Never thought to actually use it as an oven — great post!

  12. great time for getting salmonella,,,or however you spell it ,,,dont care,,,just dont eat till FULTY baked,,,, sounds like kinda a pardon the pun half nbaked idea,,lol

  13. crazy spelling,,,,,,i just ate one of those cookies above, made me nuts

  14. Added to my RSS, Thanks!

  15. This is THE coolest website i think ive ever been on lol its sooo interesting and its alot of stuff most people wouldnt realize they’d ever be able to do. i cannot wait to try the girl scout cookies and im thinking bout trying to car baked cookies too!

    thank you so much for the Awesome website!!!

  16. I’d suggest using pasteurized eggs for this, as the dough would be sitting around for a long time at low baking temperature. I WILL try it when it’s too hot to turn on the oven.

  17. WOW! And if anyone needs a reminder to NOT leave their dog in the car….

  18. This can’t be healthy. Think of all the dust and dirt that builds up in a car, even if you take extra caution in cleaning it out. Your car never could heat up enough to kill the bacteria that can/would get on the cookies for those 2 1/2 hours (the cookies need to reach 140 degrees, which is just not possible in a car).

    I can’t believe a cooking website would even think of posting this.

  19. people have been doing this at Burning Man for years… then again it gets a lot hotter there in the desert, so the cookies/brownies/spaghetti-os heat up much faster…

  20. The only difference between your solar cooker and my solar cooker is a few thousand pounds of steel and a/c. :)

    I am a serious advocate and practitioner of solar cooking. Your great article only serves to heighten awareness of this unique, green and totally hip alternative method of cooking.

    Good on you. Great article and an even greater site!

  21. Incredible site!,

  22. Give somebody the to a site about the,

  23. What template are you running on this site ? I really like it. Could you post where you got it from ?

  24. I want to say thanks!,

  25. nice foots, I love it, thank you for just sharing pictues.

  26. I like my legendary N96. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  27. Hello there buddy..This is awesome..Just really a nice idea to conserve energy.The use of the car as means of gathering solar energy to bake some cookies is really a good idea.

  28. good idea!!!

  29. Here’s a solution for all the nay-sayers talking about the egg whites not cooking thoroughly… Use pasteurized egg whites… They ought to be safer, as they are pasteurized. Also, they’ll cut some cholesterol out of your recipe (no yolks) and they cook just the same as regular egg.

  30. whoa! this just might work better in asia, where temperatures really soar at midday.

  31. This just might be a craziest idea I’ve ever read about.

  32. some very interesting points… but i think your research and bias leaves a lot to be desired… then of course, that’s just my opinion…
    have a great day… definitely a thought-provoking post!

  33. WOw…Unique Baking every time.They actually look halfway decent! Too bad the weather is getting cool and I can no longer bake them. Perhaps next year. You have a wonderful blog, by the way.

  34. Fantastic. care to share your sources :) ?

  35. Hello. And Bye.

  36. What a great idea. Not only do you get cookies, but your car smells good too!

  37. hello
    first of all i would like to say that u r genious :P these cookies looks so tasty . the way u describe them is fantastic .. my sister always try 2 bake something usually but she fails to bake properly ,and lose so much electricity , she always been scolded by mama ,, now i’ll recommend my sis as well to take a look on ur recipe . so she can make something tasty . and can save electricity as well thankyou :)

  38. I read your previous post about car baked cookies with interest and a bit of sceptism but I pleased you tried it out yourself.

  39. Oh my, great job people. Impressive work.. very creative too.. and sure looks tasty.

  40. Baking cookies in the car, really funny and amazing. Are cookies bake in car? I don’t know it but really it can bake eggs in car.

  41. Those just sound delicious…

  42. That is a very tasty treat indeed…

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