The heat wave is finally breaking here in Minnesota, but it has been scorching hot here for well over a week prior to this. When it’s over 100 degrees no one wants to turn on their oven…so how about using some of that solar energy to bake cookies?
Tony thought it would be a fun family project to bake cookies in a solar oven on the 4th of July. We were inspired by tutorials at Playsational and Home Science Tools as we built our very own pizza box solar cooker.
It only take a few simple items to make a solar oven: pizza boxes or other cardboard boxes, black construction paper, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap or a plastic baggie. You’ll need some tape and/or glue to hold things in place as well.
Here’s Tony and the kids assembling one of the reflectors. (I didn’t take step-by-step photos, so check out those tutorial links above if you want to know exactly how to do it!)
I made a batch of cookie dough, and we took our ovens outside:
I also decided to see how it would work to put some of the dough in our hot, enclosed van:
Here’s how our dough looked after about 30 minutes:
We left the cookies in the ovens/car for at least three hours, though after about two hours I’m not sure they got any more done.
Here are the final cookies…after hungry kids (and grown ups) devoured
some many of them:
All in all, the cookies were tasty, yet still somewhat doughy. Our not-very-easy-to-read oven thermometer indicated that the solar ovens did not get much above 80 degrees C. The car-baked cookies were a bit better done than the cardboard box cookies (I wish we would have had a thermometer in there too!). Perhaps we need better-insulated boxes next time!
Solar ovens aren’t just for cookies — Solar S’mores are a tasty treat with no fire required. And I even found this entire page filled with solar oven dessert recipes (and links to many other recipes for non-dessert solar oven cooking too).
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