Arm Injury -- Beware of Flying Flotsam - More Live Aboard News From the Northeaster
Boston Globe Article About Living Aboard Focuses on Cheap

Chocolate Bark - A Live Aboard "Cooks" During a Storm

As mentioned in my previous posts about the Nor'easter of February 25, at one point fairly early in the evening I did a bit of cooking. We had eaten a meal of small foods at a neighborhood mixer and were sitting on the boat between 8 and 9 - I think -  when EW asked, "Is any of that chocolate left?"

Very silly question from a man who used to legitimately hide snack food from me so he would be able to have some. That was in the house, on the boat there aren't as many hiding options. (Truth time: I was so desperate for the potato chips I knew were in the house that I did search for them. And I did search his bureau drawers. I just didn't paw through them and could not believe he put them under his t-shirts!) 

Anyway, the chocolate in question - or the late chocolate in question - had last been viewed by EW almost two weeks prior to his inquiry. No, it was not still on board.

I did feel guilty and I did have baking chocolate and I had recently read a boat article about making chocolate bark so told him I would make us some chocolate. He protested (weakly) that I shouldn't go to any trouble, but I am Boat Woman after all and immediately gathered the materials. Four squares of baking chocolate, canned milk, sugar, raisins, chopped walnuts, and the double boiler. Also three cookbooks - none of which had a recipe for making chocolate bark from scratch.

Let me remind you, Gentle Reader, that this was all during a nor-easter (ENE) with winds gusting at 50 MPH at least at that point and some bouncy seas. We don't have the mast in and tend to roll more because of that. The article I had read had used large dark chocolate candy bars to make bark -- all that boating woman did was melt chocolate, put it in a plate and sprinkle nuts and dried fruit on it. I had to add sugar to this concoction and am not a chef.

I successfully melted the chocolate and sugar and milk together, tasted for flavor -- added vanilla and a pinch of salt and was pleased. I poured this onto a dinner plate covered with parchment paper, sprinkled the nuts and raisins and let her sit.

In my imagination I saw myself lovingly offering this brilliant creation to EW and packing some in zip lock bags to share with our neighbors during the storm. (During other, less severe storms I have made ginger cookies and tossed a bag of them into everyone's cockpit. The operative phrase is "Cookies in the Cockpit!")

Of course the bark didn't harden, in fact it moved on the plate with each wave. It was really mesmerizing. The nuts and raisins were mired (or moored) in the chocolate goo and all moved together from one side of the plate to the other and back again and to.. and fro ..  and .. well you get the idea.

EW suggested I place it on the gimbaled stove to lessen the motion and give it a chance to cure. I did and at that point we were called out to help with Charlie's lines (or that was the first time our line broke -- whatever). When we came back it was clear that the now cool "bark" was forever to be a soft bark. I dished it up into small bowls and provide each of us with a spoon.  It was not suitable for sharing with neighbors but tasted great and would have been perfect with ice cream underneath. 

I've since found on-line that folks make bark from semi-sweet morsels. That could work. I've also read (in a 10 year old sailing cookbook) that chocolate morsels are hard to find in some provisioning stops around the world. I see myself packing a whole lot of chocolate morsels in vacuum bags and storing them all over the boat. 

When we want chocolate. We. Want. Chocolate.


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Monkey Fist


awww! bark it was not, but maybe a mousse?

a friend invited some people over to her 175' vintage tanker to make paella, but the wakes of passing ferries would splash more stock over the low rimmed pan than stay in, so, I think the experiment will not be repeated.

Barbara Hart

I've thought about trying Paella but have heard sailors do it in a Wok -- higher sides! I make enough mess when I cook in no seas!

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