Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baking in the Van - experiment 1

I came across a blog earlier in the week that gave directions on how to bake cookies in the car.  With the high heat index I knew we were supposed to have at the end of the week, I had plans to give it a try.  However, I didn't really 'plan ahead' with supplies and I believe that worked against me.

Here's the link to which I based my experiment:

It turns out I had NO pre-made dough in the freezer AND I was out of chocolate chips. (I know...can you imagine?!  I'm still shaking my head at the travesty of the situation).  :D  I was in a hurry to get them in the van and didn't want to make it from scratch..  So I went to my pantry and found a box to make sugar cookies and brownies.  It would have to do!  I wanted to make the most of the experiment so I attempted brownies as well....had to get the chocolate in somehow! 

The kids decorated the sugar cookies and I put the brownie batter into bite-size-easier-to-cook sections.

When I put them in the van the temp initially read 106.1 and that was with all the windows rolled down all morning!  Notice that I used a digital thermometer.  If you are really interested to see how hot it gets, I don't suggest using this kind as they turn off automatically...making it too much of a temptation to open the door and check it (yes, I speak from experience ;)).  Again...I didn't plan ahead and could NOT find my oven thermometer anywhere.

I put them in shortly before noon.

By the time I walked away from putting them in it was already 126.3!!

 About 2.5 hrs into the baking the thermometer read over 150, however, I believe the heat of the sun prevented it from showing the true temperature.  You can see the black on the left side of the numbers quickly growing across to the right not enabling an accurate reading.  When I went inside to reset the thermometer it was a literal sauna in there...the sweat was just dripping.

During the last hour I put tin foil over the sides (forgot to take a pic) at the suggestion of a friend. I finally had to take them inside about 4:30pm because I had to run a couple errands.  As the previous bloggers directions explained, I was not expecting a browned or crispy product. 

They were mostly done...just a tad still moist throughout the middle. :(

I had made white chili in the crockpot and was CRAVING homemade cornbread to go with I finally turned on the oven when I got home and finished off the experiment with the cornbread. :D

So.....would I do it again you ask?
YES, in a heartbeat!  My kids thought it was cool.
Ok, so did I. :D

Would I plan ahead better?
Why would I not? :D

What would I do differently?
1. Either have pre-made dough or make the dough a day ahead so it's fresh and not from some old box.
2. I would make sure I had chocolate chips. :D :D
3. I would find my oven thermometer if I really have to know exactly how hot it is in the van (and of course I want to know).
4. I would not open the door for at least 2.5 hours!! Not even ONCE!  It's not like they're going to burn. :D
5.  I would make a miniature "oven" over each pan using tin a "foil packet."
6.  Because it's at a "low oven" temperature, I think a fruit leather would be perfect, especially if you can put it in in the morning and let it be in there until dinner at the latest.  THAT's what I'm going to try next.....with yummy strawberries!

Let me know if you give a try and how it turned out!!

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