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When I came across this product on this year’s Christmas gift guide I knew immediately it was a product I MUST try. I was a little girl when the Easy Bake Oven was all the rage but I distinctly remember telling my mother I didn’t want one when she asked me about it. That decision has haunted me for years. This was my chance for a do over. And we aren’t talking about those warmed up, low flavored brownies. We are talking those, eat the whole box in one afternoon, girl scout cookies. Yahtzee! Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven.
Here are the product details provided by the company:
- Real-working Girl Scout Cookie Oven where young bakers can actually SEE cookies bake in the oven window
- Kids can control the cookie in and out of the heating element with a self-guided slider for safe entry and removal
- There’s a warming station to heat and melt delicious cookie coating, get started with the Thin Mint mix included
- Patent Pending heating technology actually bakes cookies vs. warming them up, and pre-heats up to 4x faster than leading toy ovens, in just 5 minutes
- Mix, measure and bake your favorite Girl Scout Cookie inspired treats. The oven comes complete with baking pan, spatula, measuring tool, and a Thin Mint starter mix to bake cookies that remind you of the real thing.
- Recommended for ages 8+
Although the recommended age is for 8+, I enlisted my five-year-old sous-chef, who loves to help me cook, for this product review. My first impression of the product upon opening the box and removing it was that it was very light weight and sleek. My son was very excited to test out all the tools that came with it while I read over the ENTIRE set of directions. I am emphasizing the directions because they are pretty long for a plastic oven that an eight-year-old should be able to use. But I’m a “follow the directions” kind of gal, so I dove in.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the important stuff. I’m not going to repeat the step by step instructions:
- First you must hand wash all the tools and accessories that come with it as they are pretty light weight plastic. Go ahead and start pre-heating the oven while you’re doing this. It really does only take five minutes!
- When making the cookies, we had to add more water than the recipe called for to get the correct consistency of the cookies. Also, our mL measuring tool that you’re supposed to use to add the water was broken. Luckily I had a child’s Tylenol liquid syringe that we could substitute. However, if you don’t have one of these on hand and your measuring tool doesn’t work too, it would be difficult to measure the exact amount of water.
- In the directions it shows a picture of the young girls placing these perfect looking 6 cookies on a tray. In real life the tray is about 4 inches wide by 6 inches long. The included package is supposed to make 6-1inch Thin Mints. My chef skills are not on par with the girls pictured in the directions because my cookies were misshapen blobs all over this little tray. The good news was that my son could have cared less. He thought the cookies were so cool and he was very excited to get to slide them in the oven himself.
- Initially, I was concerned with the heating element and letting my son put the cookies I the oven. Upon further examination though, I discovered that the genius toy makers had already addressed this concern. I guess they don’t want to get sued by a plethora of parents dealing with tiny burned hands. The heating element is all the way on the right side of the oven and you can only slide the cookies in on the left side. You slide the tray in and over all the way to the right using the exterior cookie control. Then you can see the cookies baking in the oven window. When they’re done you slide them back to left again using the exterior cookie control. Then you use the pan grabber end of the spatula to remove the tray from the oven. The tray will be hot so be careful.
- The next thing worth noting is melting the cookie coating. The top of the oven has a warmer. This is where you will place the tray once you remove the cookies and melt the mint chips that you will coat the top of your cookies with. The directions state that it will take 5-10 minutes for the chips to melt and stirring the mixture will help them melt faster. In reality, it took somewhere between 15-20 minutes for ours to melt enough to be spread on to the cookies. Again, my son could have cared less. This just gave him more time to conspicuously steal and eat mint chocolate chips.
- When we were all said and done, the cookies didn’t look near as pretty as the real Thin Mints but I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. I didn’t have high expectations but they were actually a pretty good substitute for the real thing. My son was so proud of his cookies he had made and he loved them. I guess that’s the point, right?
So here is my pros and cons list after using this oven a couple of times:
- Child Friendly- From mixing the cookie batch, to placing them in the oven, and then icing the cookies, most of it is something that even a small child can help you with. The only caveat would be, that while the heating element that bakes the cookies isn’t accessible, the warming station on top of the oven is accessible and it’s on the whole time the oven is on. It didn’t get too hot to the touch but it was definitely warm and something that you would need to make sure you were supervising, especially with a smaller child.
- The cookies actually taste good. The texture and consistency is a little different than the real thing but the flavor is there.
- Light weight
- Easy clean up- If you follow the directions, at the end all you should have to do is hand wash the tray, spatula, and mL measuring tool along with one bowl you used for mixing. This was maybe the most pleasant surprise for me. Usually after making cookies with my son the kitchen in wrecked but this was a five minute clean up.
- My son loved that he got to make cookies himself from beginning to end and he loved the finished product.
- It comes with one package to make Thin Mints but it only makes 6-1inch cookies. I would recommend buying the refill packs to start with.
- My mL measuring tool wouldn’t work. All the accessories seem to be made of pretty light weight plastic, although I didn’t have any problems with any of the other accessories.
- There’s quite a bit of directions to read through to make one small batch of cookies. However, I will say they are easy to follow and once you read it once you won’t need to read them again.
When evaluating kid’s toys, I usually factor in how my child enjoyed it and then how much of a pain it is to me. This isn’t one of those toys you can just give your child that requires no work on your part. This is a product that requires parental supervision the whole time it’s being used. So no, it’s not going to be an easy toy for you. With that being said, my son loved it. If you have a little sous-chef like me, who always wants to be helping in the kitchen then this is a perfect gift for them. They can actually help with the entire cooking making process from beginning to end. It was a fun experience for both of us and I’m glad I had the opportunity to share it with my son.