- June 30th, 2011
- in Yachting
All my friends know that I’m an avid baker who likes to share what I bake. I arrive at parties, barbeques and offices toting desserts, usually cookies. Nowhere are freshly baked treats more appreciated than on a boat. After a long day of racing or cruising, the crew is always excited when my home-baked goodies appear.
When I lived on Tortola, I often ventured out on a sailboat for a few days at a time. Before departing, I’d bake onshore in my reasonably spacious kitchen with its accurate oven. In my luggage I would stow perfectly baked and neatly packaged cookies to enjoy with friends.
My days of perfect cookies vanished the first time I tried baking after moving aboard the 40’ sailboat my husband and I purchased. After finding my baking ingredients–stored in various lockers–and mixing dough, I realized the oven temperature dial had a few markings, but lacked numbers. There was no manual for the oven, so I could only guess the temperature. My cookie sheets wouldn’t fit in the oven and when I opened the door, the gimballing oven became lopsided and nearly deposited the cookies onto the cabin floor. Welcome to the world of baking on boats. Fortunately, a little trial and error, combined with an oven thermometer, eventually produced delicious results.
I’ve since learned some tricks for successful baking on a boat. First, choose recipes that are forgiving and have a margin for error. Butter and eggs keep baked goods moist and flavourful, so avoid “light” baked goods that reduce those key components. Also, look for recipes with easy-to-find ingredients. Although BVI supermarkets are well stocked with basic baking items, it can be difficult to consistently find specialty ingredients. (I buy groceries while traveling, and have had more than one customs agent laugh at my suitcase filled with foodstuffs such as toffee pieces, dried tart cherries and macadamia nuts.) Lastly, opt for recipes with simple techniques. Bar cookies or brownies are great, as you bake an entire batch in one pan. In contrast, only make fussy cookies, such as a holiday cutout with icing, in a spacious kitchen onshore.
“Snickerdoodles” are an easy boat cookie and my friends’ most requested cookie in my repertoire. I have baked this cookie since my childhood, when I received my first of many cookbooks. Though my culinary tastes have matured beyond most of the book’s recipes, I still consult my kiddie cookbook for reliable cookie recipes, including snickerdoodles. For my fellow sailors with a sweet tooth, cinnamon-scented snickerdoodles are a delicious addition to a day on the water.
Recipe – Snickerdoodles
These cookies are as fun to eat as their whimsical name is to say.
¾ c sugar
½ c butter
¾ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ c white flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cream of tartar
3 Tbl sugar
2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1.Preheat oven to 375F. Grease one or two cookie sheets.
2.In a large bowl, cream the ¾ cup sugar and the butter with a spoon. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
3.In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Stir into butter mixture until well mixed. Chill dough for 45 minutes.
4.In the same small bowl, combine the remaining sugar and the cinnamon.
5.Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each in cinnamon-sugar mixture and place balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten dough balls slightly.
6.Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens’ New Junior Cookbook.