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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.

Share this article

  • John
    August 3, 2008

    I’m impressed. But where I live, the days of 100 degrees, are seldom, one after another. But it happens.

  • Nicole
    August 4, 2008

    I have been saving this website page forever so that I could make these cookies! I am so excited, it’s reaching 103+ this week and I am going to cook these cookies while I am in band camp, and when I come out, I will have freshly baked cookies! I am sooooo excited, thanks for this awesome idea!

  • lionheart
    August 12, 2008

    Car baked cookies! I can’t believe it worked …

  • One Mom, Five Kids
    August 13, 2008

    This is very interesting – who would have thought a car would get hot enough to bake some cookies! Great article and great pictures!

  • maggy
    November 10, 2008

    haha they luk gud!♥

  • Games Car
    December 5, 2008

    What Kinda of Car do you drive?

  • Anonymous
    February 19, 2009

    weird or wat i just want to now how to make some stupid biscuits!!!!!!!!!

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  • This is great, I can’t wait to try this;)

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    April 13, 2009

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  • we buy properties
    May 23, 2009

    Useful post, great read anyway very interesting.

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    May 24, 2009


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    June 13, 2009

    amazing stuff thanx 🙂

    July 4, 2009


  • Symbian Software
    July 7, 2009

    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.

  • David
    July 8, 2009

    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!

  • sharkbytes
    July 14, 2009

    That’s one expensive solar oven!

  • Matt
    July 15, 2009

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

  • Deep
    July 15, 2009

    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..!:)

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