in Family Time, RECIPES: Or, we're basically a food truck

From My RV Kitchen: Half a Dozen Steps to Dozens of Cookies

The problem: our RV oven contains one rack, which can hold only one 9″ x 13″ pan at a time. (By comparison, “we still live in a house” cookie sheets are 11″ x 17″. Those don’t fit here.)

The solution: I silenced my inner Grinch and figured that shit out.

Not only is it tiny, but it runs on propane, with a typically recalcitrant pilot light.

Step 1: Grant the request of a person you can’t refuse

Our younger son is visiting us on his holiday break from the University of Texas. On day 2, I got, “Mom? Can we bake Christmas cookies?”

D’awwwww. Now how am I gonna turn that down?

Step 2: Choose no more than 2 recipes

You’re gonna be moving that cookie sheet in and out of the oven a lot. I counted 8 times for our 9 dozen cookies.

When we downsized to the RV, I got rid of an entire shelf of cookbooks.
Now I do this.

Step 3: Organize the effort with designated areas for everything

I placed utensils, bowls and pans on one part of the countertop, ingredients on another, and kept my prep area right next to the sink and garbage can. Putting items away as you go is an essential! You’ll know at a glance when you’re done with an ingredient, and it won’t continue to clutter up your space — you know, the space where you’re gonna have to put the actual cookies when they’re done?

I knew you’d see things my way.

Ingredients on my left… (This area later became the Cookie Cooling surface, because by then all this stuff had been used and put back in the pantry.)

Bowls, pans and utensils behind me…

… and prep area in front of me.
I like to leave out a paper plate for used measuring cups and spoons, to help keep the countertop clean. Anything I’ve used for dry ingredients gets placed upright. Cups and spoons used for liquid ingredients go face down. Reduces the chance I’ll stick an oil-covered spoon into a canister full of flour, doncha know?

Step 4: Block off your afternoon

It took me just shy of three hours to make two batches of cookies, from the time I started setting up to the time I pulled the last round out of the oven. Since I’d been cleaning as I went along, it took only another five minutes to wash off the spatula and the last cookie sheet.

Step 5: Share your cookies and your recipes

There are three of us in here. We do not need 9 dozen cookies sitting around. We have neither the kitchen space nor the waistband capacity. One plate went to RV park neighbors; another will go to the front office.

… and Snickerdoodles.
(Hint: Chill the dough longer than recommended. I went with the specified 15 minutes, and my cookies spread all the hell over the place. The first two batches were christened fuckerdoodles.)

Step 6: If you really, really don’t want to mess with your RV oven…

Parks with a clubhouse may have an oven (the standard household size! electric!) available for guest use. Mix up your dough at home, chill it if required, and call the office to make sure nobody’s using the oven before you schlep over there with your dough, pans, pot holders, cooling racks, plastic containers, etc. Clean up after yourself, and don’t forget to leave a plate of your delicious homemade cookies for the office staff!

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