First chocolate chip cookies baked in space have to be vetted for safety

ISS astronauts could smell the cookies baking.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Who says you can't make chocolate chip cookies on the International Space Station? 


Cookie monsters, rejoice: Chocolate chip cookies can be baked in space, but they'll take a lot longer to make there than the ones you whip up at home in your Earth oven. The first batch of cookies baked on the International Space Station are back on Earth now, and if you need some really, really high-altitude baking instructions, the recipe tweaks have been revealed.

Five cookies were baked in December by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano in a prototype oven on the ISS, with dough supplied by DoubleTree by Hilton, the lodging chain that offers fresh cookies nightly to its guests. As we wrote back in June , Hilton partnered with space appliance maker Zero G Kitchen on the project, and gained commercial access to space through provider NanoRacks.

Hilton says their cookie dough takes 16-18 minutes to bake on Earth at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius). But that's not long enough in the wilds of space, unless you really like raw dough. The first cookie was left in the oven for 25 minutes at 300 Fahrenheit and was underbaked, so Parmitano kept upping the time. The fourth and fifth cookies, baked for 120 and 130 minutes respectively, finally showed browning as a normal Earth cookie would and were declared done. The oven was turned up to its max 325 Fahrenheit (163 Celsius) for the last cookie. 

Astronauts report they were able to smell the three final cookies baking. So far, the cookies remain in an Earth freezer, as they must be tested to determine if they're safe to eat. One of the cookies has been offered to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum -- but for display, not a snack.

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Originally published Jan. 23.