Baking is considered by many to be far more of a science than an art.
In culinary school we are taught the more precise your measurements, methods and temperatures when baking the better your result will be and that deviating even the slightest bit from the chemical formula can render your hard work a tantrum-inducing waste.
As a result, many cooks despise baking and see it as a constrictive process that hinders creative flair. Cooks such as me see it as merely a challenge of precision and creative adaptability that produces satisfying results when done right. And boy, do I ever like to do it right.
I got the idea for blueberry boats on one of the good days working as a camp cook.
As usual what I baked for the boys was solely determined by the available stock at the time as well as my mood.
I had a hankering for blueberries and, as such, I arrogantly concluded that so did everyone else. With ample blueberry pie filling pre-made at my fingertips, I set out to do something creative.
My first instinct was to procure some blueberry squares similar to that of the date squares that the men gobbled up like they were on death row, but that seemed too generic.
I looked about the room for an epiphany and, lo and behold, upon the work schedule I saw a sailboat picture with the word HOME blazoned beneath it. Thus, I was inspired to make some cookie boats stuffed with blueberry filling. After assembling my army of ingredients for battle, I set out to make:
- 4 cups of blueberries
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 1 cup each of brown and white sugar
- 1 extra large egg
- 1 cup of butter or margarine
- 2 ½ cups of flour
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- In a large saucepan, combine all filling ingredients and cook over medium heat while stirring frequently for roughly 15 minutes and let cool.
- Next, cream together your sugars, egg, butter and vanilla until smooth. Add the remaining cookie ingredients and combine until smooth as well.
- Shape your cookie dough into triangular bowl shapes and spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and fill each boat with filling approximately three-quarters full to allow for expansion.
- Bake for roughly fifteen minutes or until cookies are golden brown in colour.
As usual, the blueberry boats were a hit with most but, of course, being at a unionized work camp meant that there needed to be something to complain about. And some of the men chose to express their hatred of blueberries and demanded that I never make them again (which perhaps explained my surplus of blueberry pie filling).
Ever accommodating, I agreed with a smile to never bake them again only to have this repealed later by those who did enjoy blueberries, typical of the cycle that often occurred over everything within the camp.
A cook that survives this type of environment should always adopt a carefree attitude to such politics and reply with a smile - “whatever floats your boat!”