Yes, You Can Actually Bake Cookies In A Hot Car

During an oppressive heat wave, my cooking ranges from iced tea pops to cold pasta salads. But the fine folks at ThinkGeek and the Cedar Rapids Gazette are not me, and they combined heat and deliciousness in the pursuit of culinary science. They decided to find out whether you really can bake cookies by leaving them on the dashboard of a car. Verdict: Yes. And they are delicious.

The temperature inside the car ThinkGeek staffers used was at least 160 degrees (their thermometer failed) and cookies took five hours to become, as they put it, “tasty and scary.

The Gazette provided hourly progress photos, and cooked a sheet of cookies from packaged dough in four hours. They did not measure the interior temperature of the car. What was the end result? “Chewy, nicely crisp on the top and bottom and gooey inside,” features editor Carly Weber wrote. “The perfect chocolate chip cookie.”

Take note, struggling newspaper industry: this is the kind of news we can actually use.

Let this experiment also serve as a reminder: if you can actually cook food in a hot car, you shouldn’t be leaving your pets or your kids unattended in one. Go ahead and leave your blobs of cookie dough, though. They’ll be more than fine.

Heatwave Experiment #42: Dashboard cookies. [Google+]
It’s hot. Why not bake? [The Gazette]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    “…this is the kind of news we can actually use. ”

    I kind of doubt it.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Never mind. I missed Laura’s snark.

      • nugatory says:

        but it is useful! leave a tray of cookies in your car at the end of lunch and have a nice batch ready when you leave for the day.

        ok maybe not, considering all the wonderful insects and animals this would attract if done regularly.

  2. Hi_Hello says:

    I’ll be more impress if someone made ribs in their cook with the heat wave.

  3. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Finally a practical, cost effective use for solar energy.

  4. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    Oh, sure, you can do it. But don’t be surprised if the Keebler elves cut your brake lines soon after.

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    Mmmmm, Dashboard Cookies.

    Runs to patent office.

    • lostdisk says:

      But we already coined the name dashboard cookies last week when we did this!!!

      • Blueskylaw says:

        First to the patent office wins. Besides, I
        filed my claim in the Sa-cra-men-to office.

        • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

          That’s why we remember Bell invented the telephone. First to the office.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          They already make this product. They’ve also had dashboard hot-dogs and dashboard corn-dogs for like 20 years. Most of the products are TECHNICALLY designed to be cooked on top of the engine after you stop the car, though.

  6. mentok1982 says:

    That is my home town newspaper! Oh Cedar Rapids, how do I miss thine Quakery Oats stench.

    • fatediesel says:

      When I was looking at colleges I visited Coe and one of the main reasons I didn’t go there was because of the stench of the Quaker Oats plant.

  7. Outrun1986 says:

    That car must have smelled very delicious on the inside..

    • chefboyardee says:

      I did this on the first 100 degree day we had this summer (I live outside of Philly) and I can confirm that the ride home smelled AMAZING.

  8. weathergirl says:

    I did this as well in central Illinois. Mine didn’t take nearly five hours, though, it was about half of that at a temperature of 175°F. And I made my own dough. They were amazing.

  9. Coffee says:

    Just make sure you also leave your children in the car to ensure that the cookies are removed from the dashboard when they’re finished cooking.

  10. The Beer Baron says:

    I am distressed, my dear Miss Northrup, that you have the audacity to mention a treat as teasingly tantalizing as Iced Tea pops and then refuse to elaborate or post a connect-a-link to a recipe! I must request that you remedy this forthwith, if you please.

    • norska says:


    • Chuft-Captain says:

      Surely, old chap, an educated fellow such as yourself can deduce that one need simply prepare iced tea and place it in popsicle molds in the freezer?

    • Laura Northrup says:

      Step 1. Purchase or make iced tea
      Step 2. Purchase freezer pop tray
      Step 3. Pour #1 in #2
      Step 4. Freeze

  11. lostdisk says:

    We did this at my work last week, and it worked rather well. The cookies didn’t brown like you would expect them too in the oven, but that didn’t make them any less yummy!

  12. Sunshine1970 says:

    My hometown newspaper did this experiment a few years ago. Said the car smelled wonderful for days after the cookies were baked (Took about 4-5 hours they said)

    I’ve always wanted to try this…but am afraid I’d screw something up. Either in the car or the cookies…

    • Kate Blue says:

      It’s not hard. Get premade cookie dough – put chunks of it on cookie sheet – leave in car on dash


  13. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    WTF what is that yellow-orange goo under the cookie?!?!

  14. iesika says:

    Not if the idea has been aired in a public forum before you get there.

  15. nilesisniles says:

    Umm. Please do not do this.

    There are some far out toxins that leach into the air while the interior of an automobile is abnormally hot. Some cars are rated lower in potential toxicity, however my guess is most cars on the road are susceptible.

  16. econobiker says:

    Years back, I heated up a pack of frozen baby milk (yes the pumped and repacked from source natural kind) on the dashboard of my ex’s car when she was having snit about not being able to heat up the milk and not wanting to heat it up in a gross quick mart microwave. Less than 10 minutes of gGently turning the milk pack over and over took it from frozen with a little liquid to entirely liquid and warm to happy baby temperature for baby econobiker, jr to drink from his bottle. This was during the summer in the US South with the car a/c on…

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      I bet she still didn’t admit to you being right…

  17. Rhinoguy says:

    This is very old news but we have new PEOPLE every year. I did this in the seventies in NJ. The interior of the car got to 180. To modernize a bit, use an aluminum pan that has a clear plastic cover like a used takeout tin. They get even hotter in the sun with the lid holding the heat. Brownies are awesome. There is also a book called “Manifold Destiny” that talks about the art of cooking on an engine. Any engine built after 1990 runs so hot compared to previous engines that you have to shorten cooking times. Enjoy!

  18. Starfury says:

    This makes me want cookies. I think I’ll bake some today.

  19. karlmarx says:

    I would imagine it took a little longer to cook, but I believe that it really worked.

  20. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Mine came out really crispy. I used the generic dough. Maybe if I’d used the name brand, they would have been more moist.

    I didn’t eat them because I was too upset over the breakup. I just tossed them.

  21. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    And every year we STILL get stories of people letting children and dogs in cars, with the windows rolled up or just cracked, in blazing 100+ heat. It really makes me sick to my stomach just to hear about it.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      I like the stories about local fire departments and police that do substantial damage to the car getting the kid or animal out, then even *MORE* damage once they’re out.

  22. JayOfAllTrades says:

    I’ve actually cooked on a hot engine. It does work! Its no different than a radiant heat stovetop, really. First time we lost power in the middle of winter when I was a kid, I tried it, worked pretty good. Cooked fast, since I was using the turbocharger heat shield as my “stove”. The baking cookies is no joke either. As a car mechanic, it sounds yummy, but I can tell you, it has a really bad potential to gunk up your electronics as they bake. Steam=water, and electronics don’t like water/oil/ other fatty acids condensing on your interior electronics! Now where is the story about the person that fried eggs on a pan on the hood of their car in the heat? Add some bacon, and now that sounds promising!!

  23. wazmo says:

    Then again, there’s the ever classic “Manifold Destiny”-but I think in today’s cars with their lack of accessible space those who pine to venture down that path….