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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.

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239 Comments
  • whimsy
    July 26, 2009

    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…

  • the rural independent
    July 28, 2009

    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!

  • name
    July 29, 2009

    Thank You,

  • name
    July 29, 2009

    Perfect work,

  • name
    July 29, 2009

    Incredible site!,

  • name
    July 29, 2009

    Give somebody the to a site about the,

  • name
    July 29, 2009

    Best Wishes!,

  • decorators store
    July 29, 2009

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

  • name
    July 30, 2009

    I want to say thanks!,

  • jmacheljordan
    August 1, 2009

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

  • Symbian Software
    August 13, 2009

    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.

  • auto parts
    August 27, 2009

    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.

  • KOOKKOO
    September 14, 2009

    good idea!!!

  • straw handbags
    September 27, 2009

    look delicious

  • Emmy
    October 11, 2009

    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.

  • Sleepless In KL
    October 27, 2009

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

  • Business in slovakia
    November 6, 2009

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

  • free keno
    November 12, 2009

    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!

  • identity theft protection
    November 12, 2009

    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.

  • mor
    November 16, 2009

    it’s looks tasty 🙂

  • headlight restoration
    November 30, 2009

    Fantastic. care to share your sources 🙂 ?

  • XRumerTest
    January 3, 2010

    Hello. And Bye.

  • internet filter
    January 22, 2010

    nice post bro

  • Stefan Petersen
    February 5, 2010

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

  • Giant Fortune Cookies
    February 21, 2010

    hello
    first of all i would like to say that u r genious 😛 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 🙂

  • Cargo pants women
    March 2, 2010

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

  • Moti Peretz
    March 10, 2010

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

  • cooking games
    April 29, 2010

    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.

  • Deena Kred
    April 29, 2010

    Those just sound delicious…

  • grendell
    April 29, 2010

    That is a very tasty treat indeed…

  • Drew
    May 6, 2010

    How I would love to have the time to give cookie making a go. Though I think I’m now feeling inspired endough to give it a go.

    Cheers for the recipe and I look forward to reading more on your blog about baking. Keep up the good work.

    many thanks

    Drew.

  • Thank you for this information. You have done a great job. Thank you for highlighting this, keep up your good work.

  • breast success
    May 16, 2010

    These are so delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  • 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.

  • How I would love to have the time to give cookie making a go. Though I think I’m now feeling inspired endough to give it a go.

  • Cat @ ButteryBakery
    July 6, 2010

    This is incredibly creative!!! I ought to give it a try since I have so much time on my hands now.

  • Peter
    July 16, 2010

    I spent a summer in Arizona a few years back and tried cooking a steak in my car. I figured 4 hours would be good, but it ended up being well done!

  • sean
    July 23, 2010

    This an awesome idea!I love cookies and I am inspired to try this one now!:)

  • Darcy
    July 27, 2010

    Thanks so much for posting this. I have blogged it to a bunch of my friends and already have a batch on my dash….should be ready in T minus 2 hours 57 minutes!

  • Brandy
    July 30, 2010

    I have never heard of such a thing! I am adding this to my ideas for camping. I am thinking a day spent at the beach while the cookies bake in the car. Now I am off to make Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Frog cookbook you posted about. Yum, Cookies!

  • app103
    August 10, 2010

    I am wondering if a meringue type cookie might be a better option for car baking, as they are normally baked at much lower temperatures and for a longer time than regular cookies, and browning is not something you need to concern yourself with.

    They might even bake faster in a car than the usual 8 hours they take in a traditional oven, since the car will be somewhat hotter than your oven is, once you have turned it off for a few hours.

    If baking them all the way through is a concern, you could always put a Hershey kiss in the middle of each one, instead of it being solid cookie dough all the way through. The chocolate doesn’t have to cook…just get melted.

  • Jean
    September 2, 2010

    thanks for the creative idea! never thought this will work hahahh! now you got me thinking…

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