Experiment: Baking Cookies on a Dashboard
Can it be done? One intrepid woman tries to find out.
The prospect of baking cookies on the dashboard of a car, even in oppressive heat and sunny conditions, just seems a bit implausible. Yes, the dashboard of a car can reach temperatures of as high as 200 degrees when left in the sun on say a 95-degree day, like Wednesday, but surely that's not hot enough to bake a cookie, is it?
Boonie Brookes, Shrewsbury's deputy clerk, attempted to find out.
Before she started work at the borough's municipal hall Wednesday morning, Brookes sliced off cookie-sized pieces of refrigerated cookie dough and put them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. She put the sheet on top of the dash directly under the windshield and set off for the start of her work day, coming back to check on the results after every hour.
"At least if it doesn't work," she said a couple hours into her experiment. "My car will smell great at the end of the day."
Now, before we tell you the results, the internet is littered with examples of people who have attempted to bake cookies on their dashboard. There are even pages offering detailed instructions - though how detailed do instructions have to be when it comes to putting cookie dough on a pan in the sun - on how to bake dashboard cookies.
The problem with baking cookies in your car is that your vehicle's internal temperature will never reach high enough to be an optimal baking temperature. Even with foil, which is great at reflecting sunlight and, theoretically, adding a bit of convection to the baking process, the car's temperature isn't getting much higher than 200 degrees. Most cookies bake in an oven at 350 degrees.
Add to that the spread of common misconceptions as truth, like the idea that you can fry an egg on a sidewalk during a really hot day. Sorry to say, but sidewalk pavement, even in the hottest conditions, doesn't get hot enough to fry an egg without assistance from sidewalk egg-frying aids like mirrors or metal.
But, dashboard cookie baking success does seem to exist out there. By noon Wednesday, however, things weren't looking good. Though the dough had started to spread out, the butter had separated from the cookies. It looked as though the great dashboard cookie experiment had failed, until we got this in an email.
"Bring over your milk! It only took 6 hours to bake but they are cooked," Brookes wrote.
Of course we had to ask: how does it taste? Well, the results may be what you expect of a slow-baked, dashboard cookie.
"A co-worker did try one and said that it was missing something, probably that butter that pooled on the pan, and I took a tiny taste." Brookes wrote. "Edible, yes. Good for human consumption, probably not."
There you have it. Dashboard cookies.