As a kid, I spent summers on a small lake near our home in Michigan. And when the local sailing club offered a class for kids when I was 12, I quickly signed up. At the end of the six-week session, our instructor handed out certificates . . . and these wonderful cookies.
While I’ve long since forgotten his name, both the sailing lessons and the explanation of why these are “boat cookies” have stuck with me. His mother, he said, would make these cookies when they took their bigger boat out on Lake Michigan – ginger was a natural remedy for quesy tummies, the cookies were easy to make without an electric mixer and everybody loved them.
A few years later, when my Explorer Scout Post spent a weekend aboard a sailboat on Lake Huron, I suggested these cookies as an afternoon snack. It was my first experience baking in a moving kitchen and I quickly appreciated how easy they were to mix up. They were an instant hit!
Fast forward twenty years to our first charter trip, in the British Virgin Islands with our best friends. Once again, these cookies made an appearance – and having made them once, I had to make them several more times over the course of the week.
Four years later, it was our first night anchored out on our own boat. Want to guess what we munched on as we watched the most amazing display of stars?
(There’s a glitch in how nutrition facts are calculated — divide by 12 to get the amounts per cookie.)
- 2/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or additional white sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour (can use up to half whole wheat flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Extra sugar to sprinkle over top
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Mix oil, sugars, molasses, egg and vanilla.
- Mix dry ingredients separately in small bowl so that soda and spices are evenly distributed, then mix dry ingredients into sugar mix.
- Make into 1” balls (mixture will be soft) and place 3” apart on greased cookie sheet (as they bake, cookies will become 3” flat circles). Sprinkle sugar over each cookie.
- Bake 9 minutes at 375° F. Cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before moving to a wire rack or plate.