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People are baking cookies in their cars amid record-breaking heatwave

“I’m hoping that piece of information will help illustrate that temperatures like this are not to be taken lightly,” one Reddit user said.

It’s been unbearably hot out lately, with a summer heatwave currently pummeling the country and other parts of the world. It’s especially scorching in the South and Southwest, with temperatures reaching record highs.

It’s so hot, actually, that you can actually bake a batch of cookies inside a car. Yes, really.

On July 22, u/8andahalfby11, a Reddit user in the Phoenix, Arizona area shared an experience in subreddit r/baking that has heated up the entire forum. In the post, the Redditor shares their experience with baking a batch of cookies using not an oven, but their car.

“I live in Phoenix and baked cookies in my car,” the user wrote. To note, Phoenix is experiencing above-average heat, even for the desert city, marking 28 consecutive days as of July 27 hitting temperatures over 110 F.

Included in the post were several images of a Hyundai car’s interior showing the unconventional baking process. First, balls of cookie dough placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper get ready to cook in the summer sun. According to a thermometer in the image, the interior of the car started at 122.5 F.

Cookies baking in car
Cookies baking in a Hyundai's on a 113 F day.Courtesy u/8andahalfby11 via Reddit

The next image shows the cookies baking in the sweltering heat, with the interior temperature reaching 163.6 F. Although they don’t look like the typical golden-brown cookies we’re all used to (because browning occurs at above 280 F) another image of the cookies sitting in a bowl shows that they have finished their bake.

Reaction to the bake ranged from shock at the record temperatures in the OP’s area to other concerns and, obviously, astonishment, with users taking to the comments to share their thoughts.

“ooooh your car probably smells great now,” wrote one Reddit user, to which another added, “it’s got that new cookie smell.”

“My husband keeps joking about baking cookies in the car. But I don’t want to go outside long enough to put them in the car lol,” wrote another Reddit user.

“As a fellow Phoenix resident… I love the science but I hate that this is even possible,” commented another.

“This is amazing and well done! But also slightly horrifying?” wrote yet another — a sentiment shared by many in the thread.

Many Reddit users became concerned for the OP’s safety (and intestinal health) so they later shared a comment covering all the frequently asked questions they seemed to be getting, including if they were worried about salmonella.

“For this experiment I used a premade pillsbury cookie dough that is designed to be eaten raw,” the user wrote, further revealing that the weather outside the car reached 113 F at its hottest. “I deliberately did it this way because most scratch-made cookie batters use eggs or untreated flour, which when cooked this slowly presents a salmonella risk.”

The user also said that the whole cooking process took about four-and-a-half hours, and they took safety measures to ensure that they didn’t burn themselves or the car, placing the baking tray on a towel and using safety gloves to manage both the baking tray and the car.

“I took my temperature after bringing the cookies inside and was running 99.4F (37.4), which is much hotter than I like but just barely below concern levels,” the user wrote, adding that they would probably implement other cooling measures like a freeze-pack vest and a second person watching them, just in case. “Fortunately the car was not far from my door and I vented all the air in the car after confirming the cookies were ready. I don’t think I was outside longer than 20 minutes each time.”

For u/8andahalfby11, who talked to under the condition of anonymity, this experiment revealed to them once and for all that they live in a hot zone.

“I grew up in the Northeast, where 100-degree days are much less common,” u/8andahalfby11 tells in a Reddit direct message. “On those rare days, I was used to the joke of it ‘being hot enough to bake cookies in a car/on the sidewalk’, and sometimes I would see TV stations try it and return with half-cooked dough.”

The user said they moved to Phoenix late last year, so this year is their very first experience with such temperatures. “After the second week of 110-degree Phoenix temperatures and no end in the forecast, I began toying with the idea of trying it. So I spent a few days researching how to do it safely and coming up with a plan, and then I tried it out,” they said.

As for how the cookies came out, the user noted that while the flavor is about the same as when you make it in an oven, it was a very different consistency.

The Redditor says that this is one of the car cookies cooked properly in an oven, to show the difference in color from when baked in a car.
The Redditor says that this is one of the car cookies cooked properly in an oven, to show the difference in color from when baked in a car.Courtesy u/8andahalfby11 via Reddit

“I’m used to these cookies being a bit softer in the center when done in an oven with the package instructions,” they said, adding that after the almost-five-hour bake, the cookies were “firm” all the way through. “If you’ve bitten into a Nutter Butter or the cookie part of an Oreo, it was closer to that experience.”

And they’re not the only person to take baking in their car for a spin during record highs. Elsewhere in Arizona, the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management baked cookies and a pizza inside a car during the same heat wave. Its experiment was meant to highlight just how hot it can get inside of a car, which can heat up by 20 Fin just 10 minutes.

“A doctor had pointed out to me a few weeks earlier that just standing outside in this heat was enough to raise my body temperature,” the Reddit user noted. “I’m hoping that piece of information will help illustrate that temperatures like this are not to be taken lightly, both inside and outside a car.”

In Midland Texas, the U.S. National Weather Service made “mostly baked” cookies after placing dough for about four-and-a-half hours in a car that reached a temperature of nearly 190 F.

“Even though ours weren’t golden brown cooked, this heat is still INCREDIBLY dangerous to anyone left in a hot car,” they wrote on Facebook. “LOOK before you LOCK!”