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A Hiker’s Dozen

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cookie2I never saw the bright side of climbing into a hot car, especially after a workout or a long day on the job.

But my perspective changed when I discovered Baking Bites‘ recipe and instructions for baking a pan of chocolate chip cookies in your car on a hot day. I wondered what it would be like to come back to my car after a sunny hike and have freshly baked chocolate chip cookies waiting for me.

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Here’s how to make it happen:

The cookies: Buy the pre-made cookie dough or make your own. Baking Bites has a modified recipe that works better for the car-oven (and yields two-and-a-half dozen cookies). Slice the dough into quarter-inch pieces, and lay them on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet. Put a towel on the dash for protection, then place the baking sheet on the towel, and let them cook for two-and-a-half to three hours.

The hike: I asked 5280‘s own Natasha Gardner to recommend a nice hike with a sunny parking lot. She suggests the Mount Vernon Village Walk/Red Rock and Morrison Slide trails. The parking area is “hot, hot, hot,” and with virtually no shade it will be hard to pick a bad baking/parking spot.

The Mount Vernon Village walk is short but comes with a lot of history. Mount Vernon was one of Colorado’s early gold-mining settlements, and you’ll see grave markers dating back to 1860. The village walk connects with the Red Rock trail, which leads to the Morrison Slide trail, all of which can get you almost five more miles of hiking (as well as give your cookies a little longer to bake).

Gardner says both hikes are beautiful—“think Red Rocks views without the people”—and there are good places to stop at the top for a break or an afternoon beer.

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The rewards: Finally, when you get back, there will—hopefully—be dozens of freshly baked cookies waiting for you. Please note: Because your car is not a traditional oven, Baking Bites warns that the sugar will not caramelize and brown. Make sure the edges of your cookies are firmer and that the middle is not too gooey. BB also recommends that if the cookie is easily removed from the parchment paper, it’s ready.

Find yourself a picnic table, crack open your post-hike beer, and reap the benefits of baking in the warm Colorado sunshine.

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