Instructables
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On a hot summer day, can you bake on the dashboard of your car? Yes, you can!!

With the car doors and windows shut, and the summer sun shining, the car can act like an oven. During a particularly hot afternoon while I was travelling in Texas I thought I'd give this idea a try. I've experimented with cooking in cars before with the car-b-que, cooking savory dinner on the engine manifold and muffler, and now I've successfully made tasty desserts on the hot dashboard!

Making dashboard cookies is actually very easy, needing only to cook the egg in the cookie dough mix to be safe to eat. According to eggsafety.org:

It is important to cook eggs thoroughly to destroy bacteria... For eggs, the white will coagulate (set) between 144 and 149° F, the yolk between 149 and 158° F, and whole egg between 144 and 158° F.

With temperatures reaching 107°F (41°C) outside, I knew the dashboard of my rental car would be hotter, and be perfect to make freshly baked goodies while I was seeking shelter somewhere there was air conditioning (and possibly a frosty beverage).

Let's bake!

 
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Step 1: Supplies

  • summer heat like the fire of a thousand suns (or, Texas in summer)
  • non-stick cookie sheets
  • parchment paper
  • spatula
  • thermometer
  • packaged cookie dough

Step 2: Lay out cookies

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Even though you've got a non-stick cookie sheet I find it's easiest to line it with parchment paper. Cookie removal and cleanup is much easier.

Lay out cookie dough onto parchment lined sheet, allowing space between cookies for them to expand when cooking.

Step 3: Place on dashboard

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The car I used had a large dashboard with plenty of sunlight coming through the windshield. Your car may vary. Find a place where you get the most sunlight in your car, and that has a level surface. If you have a slanted surface (or if you are parked on a slope) your cookies can slide on the parchment and become squished, and squished cookies are no good.

Make sure to place your thermometer pointing outwards to you can monitor the internal temperature of the car from outside.

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thecapper1 month ago

I'm inspired by the idea--and the shirt! Good job, Mike.

melliott111 month ago

I love this idea. I am sure it makes the car smell incredible. I would park in a secure location....petty thieves might be unable to resist freshly baked cookies. Can you imagine the police report?

DIYbabe1 month ago

Love this! Yummy.

Look fantastic!! Wouldn't be very good where we live, but we can make frozen fruity-drinks in the car 7 months a year!!

revdrmarsh1 month ago

Also being a Texas resident, I have made dashboard cookies a couple of times. They never really get brown, but when you let them cool off, they are no longer soft and become just a bit crunchy/hard! And you don't have to use the energy to heat the oven.

pfunk2371 month ago

If only you could do this with BACON!!!

What a fun idea! I'll have to try this!!
steinie441 month ago

And this my friends, is why you don't leave kids or pets in a car!

mommyhen421 month ago

Several years ago I wrote an article titled "How to bake cookies in your car" that has since been rewritten many times over by others, it was designed to point out just how hot the inside of a car can get and that you should never leave pets or children inside a car alone on a hot day.

Your article is well done, and I am glad to see someone else writing the same way about a serious subject such as inside car temperatures on hot summer days.

Good Work

Brilliant!!!!

Zclip1 month ago

Brilliant!!! I was born & raised in Central Texas, and have often bought extra food at breakfast and used the dash on a hot day to keep it hot (or warm if it's sunny in winter) but it just never occurred to me to actually bake on the dash. Now it just sounds like it should be intuitively obvious to even the most casual of observers. *Palm-Forehead* Thanks for the "wake-up"!

elicitone1 month ago

Just dropped a batch in 30 min ago... Time will tell. :) The car is already up over 198 degrees!

My little Miata Oven lol

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here's an idea. If you have a dutch oven ( they are black and cast iron) load it with veg and some soup stock. Get a cheep picture frame (one with real glass not plastic...) take out the glass, lay it flat on the filled pot. Cook a nice veggie stew. I'd put a pot holder under it just to make sure it's doesn't damage the dash if it gets really hot. The same can be done with any casserole that has pre cooked meat so long as it's hot enough. You just turn your whole car into a solar oven.

Awesome!

Thanks.. they came out great... Might have to make another batch tomorrow.... better than running the oven at 375 degrees when the AC is giving all its got to keep the house cool... lol

elicitone made it!1 month ago

With about 104 degree temps, my car got to a max temp of 198 degrees... and sugar cookies coulnd't have turned out better... Thin crunchy outer layer... Soft but not doughy centers, and not the slightest bit burnt... gotta love it


Thanks for the Afternoon snack!!!!!

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willowspain1 month ago

use toothpicks to hold s;mores together...

BrianJewett1 month ago

BTW, using parchment or aluminum foil actually dramatically reduces the amount of solar heat collected because the light color and reflective surface actually bounce the radiation back out through the windshield. Dark colors will absorb the radiation and convert it into heat which then does not pass back through the glass. With a nice older darkly patinated baking sheet you won't need 107° temps to bake cookies.

mikeasaurus (author)  BrianJewett1 month ago

We actually did a few batches using different methods. Lined and unlined pans, covered and uncovered with foil, and even some outside the car. Somehow the uncovered, parchment lined cookies inside the car came out the best.

The science is sound, but the results were different. I can't explain it, so I just showed the process that worked best for me.

I can tell you why from the cooking perspective. When you cover something in the oven, the steam traps back to the food. So it's really more "steaming" than baking. Why baking should be done uncovered.

They were talking about foil or parchment lining the pan, not covering it.
I'm sure the results do mesh with the science somehow. I'm sure the 107° temps had something to do with it. Did you get any burned cookies? I'm curious how the bare pan cookies came out compared to the parchment batch. I'll never see 107° here in Vermont. ;-)
Novina1 month ago

Not hot enough here. If I ever go anywhere near Texas or the Saudi, I'll give it a try. ;p

It's hot enough here in Michigan!
kbc21 month ago
this is AWESOME!!!! I have done many engine block cooking.... steaks, taters, chicken (caught fire), and warmed many MREs, but never thought about sweet stuff.
mikeasaurus (author)  kbc21 month ago

Maybe a steak on the manifold and a few cookies on the dashboard...dinner and dessert!

SoHa SMART1 month ago

I was born and raised in Texas and I can attest to this idea working very well I bet! FUN instructable!

mikeasaurus (author)  SoHa SMART1 month ago

Thanks! It was a really hot trip there :)

Also works with frozen burritos!

mikeasaurus (author)  Aaron Porterfield1 month ago

Ooh, good idea!

BrianJewett1 month ago

Wrong! Squished cookies are the best! Since they look damaged, you don't really want to share them and can eat them all yourself! ;-)

mikeasaurus (author)  BrianJewett1 month ago

True!

Hahahahaha
.Jak1 month ago

They actually had a small segment on the news about baking cookies in summer hot cars.You`re famous!

Ciege6661 month ago

You should test if you can increase the heat by placing a sun reflector behind the dash to the top of the windshield, use the sun blockers at the top to hold it in place.

Or you could call this one "Best car air freshener ever"

Omnomnom :p

JON-A-TRON1 month ago

Good on you for being so thorough- researching safe cooking temperatures! Also, way to make the worst thing about living in South Central USA more fun.

sabu.dawdy1 month ago
Lol this is an amazing ~ible. I am sooo trying it.
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