I am having so much fun with my Baking Outside the Kitchen series! It gets my mind working, trying to think of the next treat I can bake outdoors, striving with each recipe to be more creative. I’m very excited, and even a little bit giddy, to share my third installment with you.
Chocolate Chip Cookies, baked on the dashboard of your car on a hot summer day.
I’ve seen this concept in a few places over the years and always wondered if it really worked. Last Sunday, when the temperature outside was near 100 degrees, I decided to find out.
I put an oven thermometer on the dash of my car and couldn’t believe how hot it got inside. I have a black car and I parked it in full sun. After only about thirty minutes it was almost 200 degrees inside.
Next I prepared my cookie dough. I kept the mounds of dough on the small side and chilled them in the fridge some before taking them out to my car. Starting with cold dough keeps the cookies from spreading too much as they bake.
I placed the cookie sheet directly on my dashboard, propping them up with a towel to make sure they stayed in place. Then I closed the car door and waited. Cookies typically bake in a 375 degree oven and since it was much cooler than that in my car, I knew they would be baking much more slowly.
I checked on them about every 20 minutes. You can see that the sun dipped behind a tree, so about halfway through I moved my car so that it stayed in the sun.
After an hour and a half I declared the cookies done. Without a hot oven, they didn’t turn that beautiful caramel color which typically indicates a properly baked cookie, but a few pokes established that they were firm and fully baked.
Of course, an hour and a half is a long time to wait for a batch of cookies. But here are a few reasons why you should try it yourself this summer:
1. While softer, and without the signature golden color, these cookies are just as delicious as ones baked in a traditional oven.
2. You can keep your kitchen cool by taking all of the hot baking outside.
3. Your car will have a lingering smell of chocolate chip cookies for days.
4. It’s fun!
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Park your car in full sun on a very hot day and place an oven thermometer on the dashboard. The temperature in your car should reach at least 150 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium high speed until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix on low until just combined. Add the chocolate chips.
Roll into rounded tablespoons and place on prepared baking sheet. Chill for thirty minutes.
Place baking sheet inside your car on the dashboard, using towels or hot pads to prop it up and hold it in place. Close the car door and try to keep all doors closed as much as possible. Check on cookies every twenty minutes, when they look done, use your finger to test for doneness. Cookies should be firm on the edges and mostly firm in the middle.
Cool on a wire rack.