Two weeks ago my daughter and I baked chocolate chip cookies in our car.
We found the recipe on Sybil and Kristi’s Qatar Adventures, compared temperatures in Qatar and Djibouti and Djibouti was hotter. So what could we do? We had to have our own Djibouti Adventure.
Let me say it again: we baked cookies in our car.
In May. It is still spring, the temperature is high but not so high. The humidity is what kills us at this time of year. Come August the humidity will plummet and the temperature will shoot up another twenty to thirty degrees. Hot enough to make our skin dry and crack open. Maybe in August I can bake bread or lasagna in the car?
But since this year we won’t be here in August, we did it in May and…it worked.
Here’s what you need:
The day we did it, the temperature was 98F with the ‘real feel’ registering at 108, a reasonably cool Djibouti day. We had direct sunlight all day in the street in front of our house.
We wanted to use our Jeep because how cool, but the dashboard was too small. Luckily we had borrowed a friend’s car and still had it in our yard, so we used their Land Cruiser.
A willingness to be seen as crazy.
Since it was a Friday there weren’t any school kids around and the only people watching us put a tray of cookies into the car and take pictures of it all afternoon were the neighborhood guards who tend to hang out in front of our place. But since they already know we are strange (I run, my husband slack lines, my daughter climbs trees), it was just one more thing for them to talk about.
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (we left it on the counter for about sixty seconds and then had to work quickly before it melted)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg (which in Djibouti means two small eggs)
chocolate chips (which in Djibouti means chopped up bars of chocolate, again you have to move quickly or you end up with chocolate swirl cookies instead of chocolate chip cookies)
A lot of time without needing the car.
This is a slow bake process so if my husband or I had needed to go somewhere, it wouldn’t have worked. Because it was a Friday (the weekend), we had no plans until late afternoon.
Mix up the dough, put it on a cookie sheet, place on the dashboard. Wait. Wait. Wait. Don’t open the door to check on them, that would let out all that built up heat. Just wait.
We peeked through the windows after two hours and they were spreading beautifully but not ready to come out yet.
Another two hours later, voila, car-baked cookies.
Be careful when you take out the tray, it will be hot. I didn’t have any hot pads and put the tray, quick, on the ground while I relocked the car. But a big brown goat almost managed to snatch away my cookies before I could pick them up again. The guards shooed the goat away. Then our guard, Abdo, saw that the tray was burning my hands and grabbed four leaves from a bush out front for me to use as protection. We were both laughing. Like I said, he already thinks we’re strange.
The cookies were yummy (though not the best I’ve ever tasted) – not browned like in an oven, but gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside.
Okay, truth-be-told, my husband made me take them out a bit early because he was worried about the car getting dirty. We added too much butter (we measure by sight around here) and so some was starting to drip off the pan onto the dashboard and since it wasn’t our car…I took them out (at that stage they were firm and crispy on the outside but not quite done in the middle) and did about sixty seconds in the oven.
They would have finished in the car just fine if I had spread out paper towels under the pan (which was tilted a bit, hence the dripping).
What can I say? When life gives you heat, make chocolate chip cookies.