I’ve never been to Texas, but even I know that it’s sweltering hot down there in summer. So hot, in fact, that baking cookies inside your car might not be such an outlandish idea. Houston Chronicle reporter Abigail Rosenthal and her colleague Jay Jordan decided to test the automotive baking method; lo and behold, it’s technically achievable.
Rosenthal and Jordan made a trip to the grocery store and picked up some pre-made Pillsbury cookie dough that’s designed to be safe to eat raw (to lessen the likelihood of salmonella poisoning). Lucky for them, temperatures were hot enough to warrant a local heat advisory. In most cases, a heat advisory would probably make me grumpy, but not if I was trying to bake cookies in my own 2009 Camry.
They then set up two aluminum pans with cookie dough: one on the rooftop of the Chronicle building, and one inside Rosenthal’s hatchback, which was in the parking lot. The pan sitting in the sun on the roof didn’t do much, other than form pools of cookie dough and melted chocolate. But by 4 p.m. (the article doesn’t mention how long they’d been in the car), the car cookies spread out, bubbled, and, after a taste test, were decidedly baked. Amazing.
There’s a TikTok video documenting the entire thing, so you can see for yourself. While the cookies aren’t exactly what I’d describe as ideal, Rosenthal did confirm they at least tasted cooked. Unfortunately, her car didn’t take on the delicious aroma of baking cookies, which is half the fun of making cookies. Since this was more of a fun experiment and less of a science-y one, there weren’t thermometers involved, so I’m wondering if you could technically consider the cookies baked by some objective standard. I’d call this a success anyway. Maybe I’ll try my hand at some risky Camry beef jerky.