Monday, July 25, 2011

Baking in my car

So as you know, Thursday was the hottest day on record in Toronto.  Ever.  But not only in Toronto; in Golden Valley, Minnesota, it was so hot that a woman successfully baked cookies in her car.  Cool, huh?

Well, seeing that I have no job to go to until September, no children until August, and it was clearly too hot to run, or do anything else for that matter, I felt I had no choice but to see if this would really work.

I started by taking my favorite basic chocolate chip cookie recipe from the Clueless in the Kitchen and reducing it down to a single cookie. It was pretty easy, just basic grade 7 fractions (good thing I teach grade 7 fractions).  I hit a snag when I got to the egg; I only needed 1/2 a teaspoon.  How do you get half a teaspoon of egg?  Well, since I'm already experimenting to find out if its hot enough to bake cookies in my car, I might as well also try the other hot weather favorite question: Is it hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk?  So I cracked my egg, extracted my 1/2 teaspoon, and put the rest on my sidewalk.

With my final tricky ingredient ready, I mixed my batter, rolled my cookie, and let 'er bake.  I knew it would take longer than the typical 10 minutes but after 45 minutes, while the butter had started to seep out, the rest of it had just barely started to soften and melt.  Unfortunately, I had to use my car to get to an appointment.  At this point, I had two choices:
1.  Abandon the experiment.  If I were to turn on the air conditioning or open the windows, the baking of the cookie would cease to occur.
2.  Continue with the experiment.  By leaving the windows shut and not turning on the a/c, I still had a chance of finding out if, in fact, it was hot enough to bake cookies in my car.

What do you think I did?

Um, based on the title of this post, if you did not chose option #2, I would seriously put your inference skills into question. However, I did spend a few minutes considering my options.  I'm not completely insane, you know.

This is me driving.  Those of you who know me can verify that this me, using the tattoos as proof.  Notice the beads of sweat that have formed on my arm from doing nothing more than signalling for a right.
Fast forward to me speeding towards my appointment which I am now late for with the a/c off and all the windows completely shut at the exact moment that the radio announcer declares this day the hottest in Toronto history.  Within 2 minutes, I started perspiring.  Within 5 minutes, my shirt is sticking to my body and beads of sweat are running down my back, legs, face and arms.  By the time I arrive at my destination, 10 minutes after leaving my house, shortness of breath means that I can no longer talk on my cell phone (hands-free blue tooth, don't worry).  But its all worth it; the cookie is really beginning to melt.  I choose the sunniest spot to park my car, lock it tight, and skip away, anxious for the results.

And here they are:

 As you can see, the cookie baked…sort of.  It definitely flattened out and hardened enough to pick up once it cooled but it didn't really bake enough to get golden brown or to get rid of that raw flour taste.

It is clear that I baked in my car on Thursday, but did my cookie?  The verdict is still in.  What do you think?

Either way, there is one successful outcome from this experiment: I know how the recipe for a single chocolate chip cookie!

"Why would anyone want this?" you may ask.  Why wouldn't they?  First of all, you can eat the whole batch of this recipe GUILT FREE!  You know those nights when you really feel liked fresh baked cookies but don't want the kids to find out?  Well, wait to they go to sleep, bake your cookie (smell is the only one of the 5 sense that will not arouse you from sleep; a strange but true fact), and enjoy without any evidence leftover.  You need another reason?  You can be that mom; the one that bakes a fresh one-of-a-kind cookie every day for her child after school instead of a stale ole, store-bought clone of a cookie.  I could go on an one but I'm sensing that instead of hearing more reasons why you would need a recipe for a single, perfect cookie, you would just like the recipe, right?

One Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
1.  Cream together 1 tbsp softened butter with 2 tsp each white and brown sugar.  Add in 1/2 tsp egg (I'm sure you're smart enough to figure out what to do with the rest of the egg) and literally one drop of vanilla extract.
2.  Mix in 2 tbsp flour, a few grains of salt, and a TINY pinch of baking soda.
3.  Add in about 8 chocolate chips or whatever other random number you like.
4.  Form into a ball and flatten slightly.  Your cookie should now resemble the planet Earth, which, in case you didn't know, is also flattened slightly at each pole.  I don't know how that happened, but it just did.
5.  Bake at 350 until the edges are a caramel brown…about 8 minutes or so.  But keep an eye on it,  every cookie and every oven is different.

There it is: the single, perfect chocolate chip cookie.  How will you use this recipe?

PS. In case you're still wondering about the egg-on-the-sidewalk thing?  It doesn't work.  It just evaporates and a million flies and ants get in it and it looks really gross.


  1. You are by far my favorite person in the whole world right now.

  2. It would be really amazing if someone comes up with something creative like adding an oven in a car's trunk, or something. You sure did a great job going through with that experiment. Hmm... Will try that out soon.

  3. This is why your so cool!