Sea Scout Cookies

Updated 04/07/2003 11:46

Yorkshire Brand Hard Tack Sea Biscuits

YORKSHIRE Brand Hard Tack Biscuits - that's one tough cookie!

If Girl Scouts can sell Girl Scout Cookies, why can't Sea Scouts sell Sea Scout Cookies?

Good question, you say.  Well, let's turn to and get with the program.  Here's the recipe for an old S.S.S. YORKSHIRE favorite:  YORKSHIRE Brand Hard Tack Sea Biscuits.  Get your crew geared up and start cranking out these little babies by the bucket full.



Water (salt water works well if your fresh water has gone stale, or already been consumed)


Sift the flour through an old rusty screen to remove weevils.  Set the weevils aside for later use.  Mix flour and water in an old wooden bucket.  Stir with a marline spike.  Scoop out a monkey-fist sized gob of this glop and plop down on a sheet of old tin.  Form into the shape of a small brick.  Perforate with holes as shown on the above diagram.  Be sure to only use 16 holes, or you won't have the real McCoy.  Bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for four turnings of the half-hour glass, and voila!  Yorkshire Brand  Hard Tack Sea Biscuits.  Garnish with weevils as desired.


Unlike the puny little Girl Scout cookies which are good only for eating, these handy-dandy Sea Scout cookies have a variety of uses onboard ship and on shore, too.  Here's the Yorkshire list of Top Ten favorite uses:

    10.   Replacement for lost ballast stones.

    9.   In case of Pirate attack, throw sea biscuits at the enemy to repel boarders.

    8.  Door stops.

    7.  Sack weights for burial-at-sea shrouds (if no 3" shell available).

    6.  Supplementary rations for the ship's lifeboat (these little wonders stay fresh forever).

    5.  Use as a wedge to prop up uneven table legs.

    4.  Stack a few and use as bookends.

    3.  Attach to your fishing line as a substitute sinker.

    2.  Thow YORKSHIRE Brand Sea Biscuits at sea gulls - if you are lucky enough to down a gull, you can add protein to your diet.

    1.  In case of dire necessity, eat the Sea Biscuit! (mash first with a durable mallet and/or soak for several hours in liquid - coffee works fine, grog works better)

Yes sir-ee, folks.  Your unit can have a secure financial future selling Yorkshire Brand Sea Scout Cookies.  Don't delay - act today.  Dial 1-800-HARD-TAC for more details.  Operators are standing by for your call.  Or, email  

Remember:  Yorkshire Brand Sea Scout Biscuits - the're one tough cookie!

Alternate Recipes for hardtack vary from extremely simple to more elaborate. 

The simplest is: 

6 parts flour to 1 part water, mix, knead, roll out thin, and bake until hard.

A more elaborate version: 

For about 10 crackers (1 ration): 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 or so tsp baking soda, and 1 1/2 tsp salt water to form to a workable dough. Kneed the dough. Crackers should be cut to about 3"x3" (although some contractors made 'em 5x5, even 7x7). When you cut the dough, it should not "pull away" - if it does, it is still too wet. With a nail, or similar object, punch about 16 holes in each cracker (4x4 pattern - although this was not the only way to do it). Put in oven at about 375F for about 50 minutes - different ovens may act differently. In any event, it should be brownish on the bottom. You are not "baking" cookies here: you are essentially trying to heat all the water out of the cracker. Take out and cool. - they should get hard. 

Evidence" indicates that hardtack was made with "self-rising" flour. ... Some recipes call for oil, but this has no effect on the final product. In any event, experiment with kneeding, time to bake, etc., to get a final product which is a nice hard slab of flour. 

Recipe Version #3: 

2 cups flour, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 tbsp baking soda, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, salt to taste, water to consistency. Mix up well, (dry ingredients first, then wet) roll out thin, bake at 450 degrees about 15 minutes, or to tooth-breaking quality.

Super Deluxe Recipe:

A Living History programs makes hard tack as follows: 3 cups milk, 8 cups plain flour, 8 tbl spoons shortening (crisco), 6 tea spoon brown sugar (opt), 3 tea spoon salt.  Mix, roll on floured board, to 1/2" thickness. cut into 3" squares, punch holes (3 rows of 3 with ice pick). Lightly grease baking pan. Bake in oven 400 deg for 45 min or till golden brown, cool in open air. Don't store in plastic (no plastic in 1800's) because of moisture. This recipe is the same they used except the sugar. A good dose of cinnamon, and not cooking it as long, is good eatin'. 

  "Ouch!  I think I just broke a tooth!"'s since 7 April 2003
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