a peek inside the fishbowl

13 Jul, 2012

Liveblogging: Our car is an oven (a.k.a. the great cookie experiment)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Challenge me, challenge you|Ottawa

FYI: The most recent updates are at the bottom of this post.

How many times have you climbed into your car and thought: IT FEELS LIKE AN OVEN IN HERE? Our car is parked outside in full sun, and this is something that runs through my mind every day.

Last summer we fried an egg on the driveway, and this summer I thought it’d be neat to bake cookies in the car. You know, to see if our car really IS an oven.

I didn’t want to waste precious eggs, flour and butter on this experiment so yesterday we dropped by Bulk Barn to buy a just-add-water cookie mix. This morning I made drop cookies on a single non-stick cookie sheet.

7:58 a.m. – I’m already thinking this experiment would have had better odds of success if I’d chilled the dough and rolled it out to make thinner cookies. But we’re going with something close to drop cookies here instead:


8:05 a.m. – The girls and I brought the cookies downstairs and put them on the dashboard. I hope my neighbours weren’t watching.



I will be monitoring the interior temperature of the car with our weather sensor. One half is in the car’s cup holder, the other is upstairs for easy access.


Here’s the first shot (it’s warmer inside the apartment right now. HA HA.):


8:26 a.m. – Here is the weather forecast for today. Think I’ll have baked cookies by five o’clock?

Weather prediction for Friday July 13

10:30 a.m. – I’m thinking that if this doesn’t work out it’s no big loss. I’ll just mix the semi-baked cookies into vanilla ice cream. Temperature update: it’s 40C in the car right now.

11:20 a.m. – It’s 45C in the car right now. Mark thinks I should have put the weather sensor on the dashboard in the full sun. Thoughts?


12:10 p.m. We’re up to 51°C in the car. Here’s what it looks like from our apartment window right now:


1:20 p.m. – Oh boy it’s hot out there. And in the apartment too. :(

1:20 pm

Temperature updat

1:21 p.m. – A thought: this isn’t going to damage our car, is it?!

1:45 p.m. – 63°C in the car right now. (!!) It’s getting really hot, really fast.

2:10 p.m. – 66°C !

2:36 p.m. – 67°C !

3:10 p.m. – 68°C ! I think they’re close to being done but I don’t want to let all the heat out of the “oven” just yet.  What do you think?



3:15 p.m. – This has all been very fun but we cannot forget that every summer we hear all kinds of news stories of people leaving children and pets in the car. This shouldn’t be news. A vehicle is TRULY an oven. The air inside just gets hotter and hotter, even if it’s cloudy or the window is cracked a little bit. Under no circumstances should a child or a pet be left in a car … even for just a minute.

Ok? Back to the usual tomfoolery. Next update to come at 4:00. I think I’ll do a taste test.

4:15 p.m. – We have decided the cookies are done! They are a little on the soft side but they taste great, the car smells fabulous, and there was no damage to the dashboard. Yay! Final temperature in there was 68°C in case you were wondering.


The cookies are done

I might actually do this again sometime. The cookies were good, and this saves me from having to turn the oven on!

Thanks to everyone who cheered us on today. Happy Friday! :)

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24 Responses to "Liveblogging: Our car is an oven (a.k.a. the great cookie experiment)"

1 | Renee

July 13th, 2012 at 7:32 am


How fun!!! Love experiments like this! I did a false advertisement science project in junior high where I tested the rose in Pepto Bismol. Rememberthe commercial? Can’t wait to check back later and see the results!

2 | Lorrie Douthwright

July 13th, 2012 at 7:32 am


Looking forward to your results!

3 | JennyB

July 13th, 2012 at 7:48 am


That is awesome! Thanks for the Friday fun!

4 | TatianaDokuchic

July 13th, 2012 at 8:20 am


Cool! or perhaps I should say Hot!!

I’ll keep checking to see how it goes :)

5 | Wendy [mapsgirl]

July 13th, 2012 at 8:38 am


Fun!! I can’t wait to see what happens :)

6 | Mary @ Parenthood

July 13th, 2012 at 8:50 am


Heh. I don’t think this will be successful. If I recall correctly, when Mythbusters did their exploding dough myth the interior temperature was somewhere between 60 and 80 degrees celcius. Your recipe likely calls for 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you get more than 150 Fahrenheit I’ll be surprised. Even leaving for so long I’m skeptical.

But now I am wondering about car baking using a recipe that calls for low temperatures… Like fruit leather. That might work…

7 | Molly

July 13th, 2012 at 9:14 am


This hysterical! Will be sharing this one with my kids!

8 | andrea

July 13th, 2012 at 9:28 am


Mary: I should have made meringues!

9 | Erica

July 13th, 2012 at 9:56 am


Baking Bites tried this back in 2007. The cookies definitely baked (in around 2.5 hours for that batch), and they were apparently delicious, but because they don’t brown you’ll need to gauge their doneness by feel!

Those results are here, if you’re curious: http://bakingbites.com/2007/09/car-baked-chocolate-chip-cookies-step-by-step/

Best of luck! Can’t wait to see the final product.

10 | andrea

July 13th, 2012 at 10:17 am


Thanks all. And thanks for the link Erica. I will check that out. :)

11 | binki

July 13th, 2012 at 12:03 pm


Hoooweee, it’s hot out.

12 | Lorrie Douthwright

July 13th, 2012 at 12:16 pm


I wonder if my kale chips would work this way?

13 | Brenda A.

July 13th, 2012 at 12:21 pm


This is so funny! Now I want cookies!

14 | Melissa

July 13th, 2012 at 12:28 pm


Can’t wait to see the result!

15 | TatianaDokuchic

July 13th, 2012 at 3:13 pm


Why do I suddenly have this image of Cookie Monster breaking into your car while chanting “cookies, cookies, cookies”. Thanks for the fun!

16 | Nolie

July 13th, 2012 at 3:20 pm


That is awesome that they turned out. I hope this fun experiment wakes up those who don’t get it and leave their animals and kids in cars in this weather.

17 | Sara

July 13th, 2012 at 7:18 pm


So much fun!! My car definitely does not smell like cookies today but I wish it did :)

18 | Mary @ Parenthood

July 13th, 2012 at 8:41 pm


Well, I stand corrected!! Who knew!

19 | Nicki (@NickiLynnM)

July 14th, 2012 at 9:20 am


What a cool idea! And a fun summer experiment! You should send this post to the OHS, it might be an interesting way to educate people not to leave pets in their vehicles in the heat!

20 | pat cook

July 14th, 2012 at 2:12 pm


Hmmm, what about dehydrating? Cardried tomatoes? Shortbread cookies? What about heating (or at least warming) enough water to shampoo your hair or your pet’s fur? We laugh but I’ve always wondered about using that trapped heat-energy somehow, like maybe to keep my airconditioner going in this weather? Or running a treadmill indoors so the dogs can get some exercise without going into heatstroke….

21 | Saskboy

July 18th, 2012 at 11:56 am


What a great experiment!
70 degrees C. is hot enough to cook quite a bit, and is enough to keep hot foods hot enough to avoid bacterial growth.
The car was a really primitive solar oven. The real deal has a smaller airtight space, with solar reflecting surfaces that shine more IR light into the space that heats up.

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August 2nd, 2012 at 5:07 am


[…] My experience baking cookies in the car. […]

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[…] of it, so did the Moments of Bliss, the Sugar Fast, Couch-to-5K, the Trust Experiment, and even the cookies we baked in the car a couple of weeks ago. I don’t do it for the clicks, I do it for the kicks. And I guess I […]

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[…] We baked cookies! Not in the oven, are you crazy? We used our car. […]

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