When baking cookies in the Sun Oven there are three things to keep in mind: adjust the tilt of the Sun Oven before putting the cookies in the cooking chamber, use rimmed baking sheets, and set a timer. Due to the high fat content of cookies they can easily slide off the pans. Getting the leveling tray as flat as possible and a rimmed baking sheet (or the rim of the dehydrating racks) will stop that from happening. The cooking time is short enough that you won’t have to readjust the tilt while they’re baking. The fat content also make cookies one of the few foods that can burn in the Sun Oven. A timer will solve that problem. You don’t need the dehydrating rakes to bake drop cookies but they make it a lot easier.
Sun Oven Molasses Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Now that we live in the L.A. area long commutes are becoming a part of life. What should be a 20 minute trip can take an hour (on a good day) or more. Easy to eat, fun snacks like these oatmeal bars help make sitting in traffic a little more bearable. This recipe is pretty basic. It can be jazzed up with mix-ins such as chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried fruit.
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
Bar cookies are always a good choice for Sun Oven baking because the whole batch will easily fit in the cooking chamber in one go. Removing this batch was a little tricky. I was struggling to get a grip on the pan until I realized it was much easier to just remove the leveling tray and lift it out with the pan still on it.
Solar Apricot Squares
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup blanched almonds, finely ground
1/4 cup sugar
Sun Oven Maple-Glazed Bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
I can’t remember the last time I baked sugar cookies. I don’t have the patience, let alone the skill, for fancy decoration. Food coloring or decorating sugars are not things I keep on hand, and, at least until now, it was hard to fit very many cookies in the Sun Oven at one time, but after my recent cake calamity I was left with a craving for something sweet. When I saw a sugar cookie baking mix at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t resist.
The dehydrating racks took care of the space issue. The mix comes with frosting and sparkling sugar and, with a yield of only about two dozen, I managed to muster up the patience to frost them. Cookie cutters were not an issue. I pick them up at yard sales or thrift stores, and now have an extensive collection of them, so it was nice to get a chance to use a few.
We were among the thousands of Los Angeles area residents without power after the massive windstorm Thursday night so I finally got to use my Sun Oven in an emergency situation. What did I make? Cookies, of course. I thought, based on the estimate given to us by the power company, that the outage would be fixed by early evening. If I’d known we’d be without power until the following day I might have rustled together something for dinner instead, but cookies were on my schedule so that’s what I made. We had just enough sunshine to get the job done.
Big Sun Oven Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
I’m sure I’m not the only one that looked at the new dehydrating racks and thought “Could they be used for baking?” The answer is yes. Today I baked a full batch of drop cookies, over three dozen, in two Sun Oven loads. The same as it would have taken to bake them in a conventional oven. The top layer baked slightly faster, but by less than five minutes, pretty much the time it took to take the top layer inside and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
Sun Oven Muesli Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Refrigerator cookies are great for solar baking. The dough can be kept in the fridge several days or frozen up to six months. Just slice off the number of cookies you want to bake and pop them in the Sun Oven. The baking times are almost the same as in a conventional oven.
Chocolate and Vanilla Pinwheels
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
Last Sunday’s biscotti adventure was so much fun I wanted to give it another go; not to mention the fact that we polished off the last one days ago. But two batches of cookies that contain over a stick of butter in two weeks is a little too much for my monthly calorie budget. I had to find a different recipe. The literal translation of ‘biscotti’, by the way, is ‘cookies’. In Italy it could mean any kind of cookie, not just the kind we have come to know as ‘biscotti’ here in the U.S.
Last week’s biscotti would probably be called something like ‘Biscotti della Nonna’ (Grandma’s cookies) and the ones I made today would be called ‘Cantuccini’. Cantuccini, a Tuscan take on biscotti, are very dry and are traditionally served with a Port-like wine called ‘Vin Santo’ for dunking. They’re also good dunked in milk, coffee, or tea but, in my opinion, are too dry to eat on their own. I’m still undecided on whether I prefer last week’s butter laden biscotti or today’s leaner cantuccini but I do like how well they both come out in the Sun Oven.
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
1 cup sugar
Over the weekend I baked biscotti in my Sun Oven for the first time, actually it was the first time I’ve baked biscotti period; Sun Oven or no Sun Oven. It was a bit of a project and, as with most first time projects, there are a few things I’d do differently next time. Most of the changes I’d make are a matter of logistics. Biscotti are baked twice; first, the dough is shaped into two logs which are baked, cooled, and then sliced before baking the cookies a second time.
As with most cookie recipes the main issue was fitting them into the cooking chamber. I did manage to find two baking pans that would accommodate both logs and be cross-stacked to fit in the cooking chamber, however, next time I’d bake them in two separate batches. Here’s why; in my baking experience I’ve found that in the Sun Oven, the bottom pan always takes longer to bake, the total baking time was just over an hour.
Both logs need to cool at least 25 minutes before slicing, and there’s no way to fit all the sliced biscotti in the cooking chamber in one go. It would be better to bake one log at a time. They would bake faster and the first one would be cooling while the second one bakes. Then, the first batch of sliced biscotti would bake while the second log cools. By doing the first round of baking in two batches the overall cooking time should be considerably less, I’d say by at least an hour. The recipe itself needed no modification, apart from the cooking times; click here if you’d like to see it.
On a final note, if you make these biscotti, get the anise seed in the hispanic spice section of your supermarket where it cost only 99¢, the other stuff was over $7.00 a jar!