Monday, August 22, 2011

Week Four -- Car Cookies

It has been a HOT summer here in Texas. Of course my son and I just returned from six weeks in Maine, inviting much ridicule and dirty looks from friends and family. I decided not to mention that we were wearing fleece coats on a couple of particularly chilly evenings. I’m pretty sure that might have sent them over the edge. But in homage to the heat, we’ve decided to embrace it for this week’s project. The weather forecast for Saturday here in Tyler is 107 degrees. I’ve lived in the Mohave Desert, where it can reach 125 degrees and up on a summer day, but 107 is plenty hot. We are attempting to bake cookies in our car. The USDA website states that eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees for safety. So, in addition to checking the temperature of the car, I’m going to check the temperature of the cookies themselves. I’ve elected to use a mix. (I know – hush), but I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on fresh ingredients if ultimately we can’t even eat them. If we’re successful, perhaps we’ll try again with real cookies.

What You’ll Need:

• One package of cookie mix. (We are using Betty Crocker Peanut Butter.)
• The ingredients for your cookie mix. (In our case: one egg, 3T of cooking oil, and 1T of water.)
• One pack of Reese’s peanut butter cups. (A last minute addition).
• A car
• A wicked hot day.
• A thermometer – we are using a regular inside/outside thermometer and a candy thermometer. Make sure your thermometers go up past 120 degrees. Many don’t.
• A cookie sheet.
• Parchment (optional)


· Park your car in the sun approximately 30 minutes before you plan to bake your cookies. This is the preheating of the oven phase. Try and angle your car so that the dashboard is completely in the sun.
· Place your thermometer on the dashboard. Then seal up the car. No cracked windows here.
· Prepare cookie dough following the package directions.
· Place mounds of cookie dough on your lined baking sheet. We then flattened the cookies. I thought this might help them bake more evenly.
Wait until your car temperature reaches at least 130 degrees. Then place the cookie sheet on the dashboard of the car, angling them to get the most sunlight.
· Check on your cookies after 45 minutes and then every fifteen minutes or so. Use a hot pad. The pan will be much hotter than you think. We topped out our thermometer which reaches 160 degrees. Our candy thermometer showed that it was well past 170 by the time our cookies were baked. At that temperature, it took about 90 minutes to fully bake the cookies.
· Take them out, let them cool, and eat them.
· A surprise bonus…. Your car now smells invitingly of fresh-baked cookies.

Just for fun we fried an egg on the pavement. It took seven minutes.

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