The World’s Biggest Cookie
We Baked The World’s Biggest Cookie!
No joke – it was 102 feet wide and over 40,000 pounds!
On May 17, 2003, we baked the World’s Biggest Cookie right here next to our bakery in Flat Rock, NC. At 102 feet wide and over 40,000 pounds, we turned the previous 80 foot record on its head!
What on earth were we thinking?
Well, it all started with this great idea — to build a museum for the Folk Artist’s Foundation (FAF), which provides encouragement, support and exposure to artists working in the folk art tradition. The museum would be FAF’s permanent home next to the bakery, be a gallery for the massive FAF art collection, and have an artist-in-residence space with a classroom for creative workshops.
But what about a little thing called “funding” for the museum?
Yes, there was that one little snag: money. One day inspiration struck Scott. Why not bake the World’s Biggest Cookie?! That should get people interested and raise a little money! The funniest part was Scott spread the word before he had the faintest clue just how big the current biggest cookie was. When a quick search revealed that Cookie Time in New Zealand had baked an 81-footer just a few years before, we were shocked initially. But that wore off and we decided to press on. Our goal would be 100 feet!
Eight months later…
After months of designing, testing and building the Big Oven, gathering 40,000 pounds of ingredients, mixing thousands of batches of dough, and calling members of the press from near and far, the big day arrived…and so did torrential rain and thunderstorms. We waited out the storm, laying dough on the pan just after midnight. We covered the cookie just before dawn and fired up the oven. As the morning wore on, the masses came to witness the landmark event.
The BIG reveal
Though rain moved in again, the crowd stayed on, and around 1 PM, we began to unveil the World’s Biggest Chocolate Chip Cookie. The escape of warm, delicious, chocolaty-scented air sent the oven cover soaring over 50 feet in the sky — quite the spectacle!
Officially the BIGGEST!
David Huntley, local land surveyor, took the official measurements of our record-breaking cookie. We then loaded Scott in the crane which placed him in the center of the cookie, while Louis Psihoyos, famed National Geographic photographer, took the crane to its highest point to capture the aerial photo above. We cut and sold cookie slices in a special commemorative box for $10 each to the waiting crowd, who were eager to get a taste of the World’s Biggest Chocolate Chip cookie. We raised nearly $20,000 towards the museum fund that day!
The Big Oven: How We Baked the World’s Biggest Cookie
How did we bake the World’s Biggest Cookie?
With a little ingenuity, a lot of experimentation, and one ENORMOUS oven.
How We Built The Big Oven
We had a few harebrained ideas of our own (including building half of a geodesic dome and creating a record-player style oven that would spin while an infrared heater slowly cooked it section by section), but we soon sought expert consultation. Luckily, we found a corporation just down the road that makes ceramics for high-powered ovens.
They quickly created this simple design for a structureless oven made from materials we could purchase at our local hardware store:
1st Create a layered base with gravel, pearlite (the white stuff in potting soil), and aluminum sheets on top to serve as a pan.
2nd Cover the oven with layers of polyester film (the material helium balloons are made of) to keep the heat trapped inside.
3rd Surround the pan with heaters, more than 20, that together could raise the oven temperature to well over 350 degrees.
Not really, because it took…
- Six more months of experimentation with the perfect levels of heat and circulation in our 10 foot test-oven,
- A new, super special Chocobilly recipe that would bake faster under the odd conditions inside our Big Oven, and
- 40,000 lbs of chocolate chip cookie dough mixed in 80 pound batches and expelled in 1/2″ thick slabs measuring about 1 square foot, boxed, stacked and placed on a pallet in a huge freezer to await the big day.