Lessons Learned Baking Christmas Cookies (On a Boat)

Baking aboard a boat is no easy feat, but what's Christmas with the cookies?

December 22, 2011

Baking Aboard

Peanut butter blossoms! They don’t look right, but they taste right! Brittany & Scott on s/v Rasmus

As many of you who follow us on Facebook know, I entered the world of Christmas cookie baking a few days ago…

To be honest, I actually don’t think I’ve ever baked Christmas cookies before (my best friend will tell you I have the worst memory though, which is why I started writing in the first place so maybe I just blocked it out?) and now I know why.

I learned many, many things during this foray into Christmas-cookieness, but the three biggest lessons I learned were the following:


1) I now understand why people throw parties to make these things.
2) I also know why I have not been invited to said parties.
3) As much as I love Christmas, I do not really enjoy Christmas cookie making.


Christmas spirit beat out my lack of enthusiasm for baking, and I decided that I was going to surprise Scott and the passengers and crew of Diamant when they returned to port with a bounty of holiday delectables. Yay, me! Eight hours later (that’s right, eight) I had the following: 24 Mexican wedding cookies, 36 peanut butter blossoms, 36 chocolate-oatmeal-coconut cookies, a burned tongue, three small burns on my hands, one discarded pile of burned/melted chocolatey-marshmallow poo, a very sore back, a chocolate stain on the carpet, chocolate in my hair, flour in places there should not be flour and three beautiful gift tins of cookies to give away! It should also be noted that I used an entire roll of paper towel in the process. Don’t ask me how that’s possible, but I did it.


_Mexican wedding cookies are YUMMY. These also don’t look right, but they taste right.

_This is what the boat looked like during the mayhem.
Other lessons I learned:

1\. Shopping for christmas cookie supplies before you know what you are going to make does not make a whole lot of sense.  
2\. You can actually make your own powdered sugar by putting sugar in a food processor (this was the highlight of my day, btw)!  
3\. "One batch" in a normal oven is equal to two or three batches in a boat oven, which is only slightly larger than the Easy Bake oven you used when you were six.  

4. The time to make “one batch” is actually doubled or tripled due to the above.
5. A boat gets really hot really, really fast when an oven is on for hours at a time.
6. It helps a lot to know for sure if your oven temperature is measured in Celsius or Fahrenheit (I still do not know, experimentation will continue).
7. You can’t melt chocolate over an open flame. Apparently it needs to be in something called a “water bath”, whatever the hell that is.
8. Adding vegetable oil to melting chocolate while trying to heat it over an open flam does not make it more “melty”.
9. Adding marshmallows to the clumpy, grainy, non-melty chocolate won’t turn it into something edible after all.
10. Chocolate that has been heated over an open flame is as hot as molten lava and you should not “taste” it. It will burn your tongue and make you scream expletives.
11. Chocolate that has been improperly melted and then dries is like cement and a major pain in the ass to clean from your cooking utensils.
12. A mellon-baller (why or how we have one I have no idea) makes a great cookie scooping/shaping mechanism.
13. Peanut Butter blossoms are really messy to make and cleaning peanut butter and shortening from your cooking utensils is about as easy as rinsing vaseline out of your hair with a trickle of water.
14. Hershey’s kisses do not hold up to the tropical heat and the minute you try to “press” them into the cookie, they melt like Frosty on a black tarmac road in the middle of summer. Chocolate will get everywhere.
15. Cooking three different types of cookies (plus one failed attempt at chocolate-dipped marshmallows) will take about eight hours if you are as incompetent as I am in a kitchen.
16. You people with things like “counters”, “pantries”, “electric mixers” and “human-sized sinks” really have it made in the shade. I mean, honestly.
17. It’s best to use two oven mits when handling scalding hot trays of cookies (we only have one, the other we accidentally donated to Poseidon).
18. When you touch scalding hot trays of cookies, you will burn and it will hurt.
19. Despite all the follies, foibles and frustration – cookies made on a boat (with love, of course) actually taste really, really good!!


I realize most of these things are nothing new, but they are all lessons I learned.

A tray of holiday delectables!

In the end, I got three wonderful trays of cookies to give away as gifts. One went to Scott and the crew over on the boat, one will go to the wonderful staff at the marina and the other…well, I might just keep it. Everyone keeps telling me I don’t look pregnant anyway!


Brittany & Scott


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