Was it hot enough today to bake chocolate chip cookies in my car?

July 24, 2023
With temperatures soaring into the upper 90s, you would think it was hot enough to bake cookies
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 11:00 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Temperatures this afternoon here in Hasting soared into the upper 90s. The thermometer jumped to 90 degrees by noon time and progressed upward to 97 degrees by 4pm. It hopped another few degrees to 96 degrees at 5pm, the time at which I place the baking sheet with unbaked cookie dough on the dash of my car with the windows up. I compared the dashboard of my car to an Easy Bake oven. The only difference, instead of two 100 watt incandescent light bulbs creating convective heat, I used the sun’s direct sunlight along with the green house effect of the windshield and car windows. The temperature in the car at the height of the daytime heating reached around 124 degrees. The dashboard, however, was sizzling at 144 degrees.

Aside from baking chocolate chip cookies in my car, I did another experiment beforehand. I wanted to see how quickly my car would heat up in direct sunlight, with the engine off and windows completely up. I began the test at 3pm with an inside car temperature of 96 degrees. After just one minute, the temperature inside the car jumped 7 degrees to 103. Two minutes later, it was a sweltering 110 degrees. It took no longer than 10 minutes for the the temperature to rise 20 degrees. This is why it’s emphasized time and time again that heat can escalate quickly. It is super important to never, ever leave people or pets alone in a closed car. As you saw from my experiment, it only takes three minutes for temperatures to reach 110 degrees. Other heat safety tips for when you are out in the heat include drinking plenty of water, wearing loose-fitting, light colored clothing and spending time in air conditioned building or shade to take a break from direct sunlight. Because it’s okay to bake cookies, not your body.

By the way, it looks like I have some work to do when I get home as it wasn’t hot enough to bake the cookies in my car today.