When I first started this challenge, I was using my crock pot indoors often, and I thought a solar cooker would be a good way to take that cooking outside. And, for the most part, it was.
Today, however, I had to experience in reverse. You see, I had already made the batter for oat bread when I realized that it was raining. No sun for us, but I needed the bread. My oven is still stinky, so I decided to see if a crock pot could sub for a solar cooker.
I spread the batter thin on parchment lined bread pans and cooked them on high for about 1-2 hours.
It worked well! I had to use all morning to make the three loaves, but they came out cooked and tasty.
Rating: good. Check out the recipe here!
Today was my first shot at baking in the solar oven. I bought a small muffin tin at Goodwill and whipped up a batch of the kids’ favorite pumpkin muffins. I was a little nervous about baking such small quantities (6) at a time, but I think I should have been nervous about more than just that.
It sounds so stupid, but every time I use the solar cooker I am reminded how important the sun is. For a solar cooker. Duh. I know. But having a good angle and getting the correct cookware makes all the difference.
My first tray of muffins was in the cooker for three hours and still mush, even though the sun was out. I was so frustrated. I though maybe I was just a poor baker. Then I did a little reading and found out that reflective metals (like my shiny muffin tin) reflect the sunlight back out of the cooker. No wonder it didn’t get up to temperature!
The solution is equally as easy. If you cover the pan with a black cotton dishtowel, your problem is completely solved. I put the tray in for 40 minutes with the towel, and the muffins cooked up nicely. After that, it only took about an hour per pan of muffins. It still took all day to cook up all of he batter, but at least they turned out well!
Gluten–free Pumpkin Muffins
(Another Rip Esselstyn recipe modification)
14 oz pumpkin puree
2 ripe bananas
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup raisins
Mix the first three ingredients together until the banana is well blended. Add in the other ingredients and mix by hand. Drop into silicone baking cups in a muffin tin. Solar cook for approximately one hour.
Makes 20 muffins.
My kids love these muffins, by the way, and they are gluten-free and vegan!
Rating: eventual success! I’m definitely learning a lot here!