After a day spent outdoors, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as sitting around a campfire and watching the dancing flames. The fire’s warmth drives away the chill of the night. The crackle and pop of the wood is an oddly therapeutic sound. And to top it all off, someone usually cooks a delicious snack to share.
S’mores are one of the most common campfire snacks, and for good reason. Sandwiches of graham crackers, toasted marshmallows and chocolate, s’mores are easy to make and appeal to most. But what if you wanted to shake things up a bit?
Here are a few campfire desserts that are creative but not complicated, courtesy of BDN readers. The following recipes and suggestions are rewritten for clarity and to provide more details.
Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki
Campfire Banana Boats
Take a banana (with its peel still on) and cut it lengthwise along its concave side. Cut through the peel and most of the banana, but do not cut through the peel on the opposite side. Pull the peel and banana apart, creating a pocket of space to add some sweet ingredients. Stuff the banana with miniature marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap the banana in tin foil and place it on or near the campfire coals for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it cool a bit, then eat it with a spork.
-Todd J. Burgess of Dedham Pineapple upside-down cake
Mix chunked pound cake (or you can use a substitute of biscuits or bread) with a can of pineapple tidbits. Sprinkle the mixture with brown sugar and cook it over the fire for 10 to 15 minutes in a foil packet.
-Kristina Gonser Weaver of Orono Angels on Horseback
Cut pound cake into cubes that are about the size of a marshmallow. Dip the cubes in sweetened condensed milk, then skewer them on a stick. Hold the stick over the fire to roast all four sides until they’re golden brown. Remove the cubes and roll them in coconut flakes. Enjoy!
-Bethany Preble of Ellsworth
[How to make baked campfire apples] Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki
Wrap bread dough (such as Pillsbury Crescent Rolls dough) around a stick or long skewer. Create a pocket out of the dough and fill it with something sweet. Suggestions for filling include peanut butter, maple syrup, jelly and vanilla pudding with chocolate frosting. To cook, hold the creation over the fire as you would a marshmallow. You’ll know it’s done when the dough firms up so it’s no longer sticky to the touch. Also, many doughs will become golden or even brown up a bit when cooked through.
-A combination of suggestions by Kimberly Sholes of Swanville, Bethany Preble of Ellsworth and Donna Frost Ritchie of Ellsworth.
Tip: An easy way to make dough for this snack is to use Bisquick and just add water, said Stephen Bailey of Windham. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki
Orange Campfire Cupcakes
Slice a few oranges in half. Scoop out the innards and squeeze them to create fresh orange juice. Create batter out of white cupcake mix, but use the orange juice instead of water. (Many cupcake mixes require the addition of eggs, vegetable oil and water to create the batter. Do this too.) Pour the batter in the halved orange peels and wrap them in heavy duty foil. Keeping them upright and cook them on campfire coals for 25-40 minutes. The amount of time will depend on the temperature of the fire and coals. You’ll know it’s done when the batter has risen and turned slightly golden on top. Also, you can test if the cupcake is done by sticking a toothpick in it — if it comes out clean of batter, it’s done. Let the cupcakes cool a bit before adding frosting.
-Tammie Breen of Brewer
Tip: The cupcake easily pops right out of the orange peel. Just peel it down, away from the cake. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki
Dutch oven desserts
Baking in a Dutch oven over coals is a great way to get creative with campfire desserts.
A Dutch oven is a large, heavy cooking pot with a lid. They are made out of various materials, but for cooking in and around campfires, people generally use cast iron Dutch ovens with lids designed to hold coals (flat with a lip).
If you plan to cook with campfire coals, you’ll need to build your campfire a couple of hours before you plan to cook. This will ensure plenty of hot coals have formed that you can use.
Another option (one that is very common) is to purchase charcoal briquettes or hardwood briquettes, which heat up rapidly when burned. These can be placed under and on top of a Dutch oven just like campfire coals.
[Get creative with campfire meals this summer] Dutch Oven Fudge Squares
Recipe from Holly Hartranft Deshane of Rumford, adapted from the cookbook “Dutch Oven Cooking” by John G. Ragsdale
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 beaten eggs
1. Preheat your Dutch oven to about 350 degrees. One easy way to achieve this temperature is to place burning charcoal briquettes under the oven and on the lid of the oven. The number of briquettes you’ll use will depend on the size of your oven.
A helpful chart for calculating this is available at campingforfoodies.com. Also, to move the oven, you’ll need a pair of heat resistant oven gloves. And to open the lid, it’s safest to use a lid lifter designed specifically for the task.
2. In a pan, heat butter and cocoa on the outer edge of a fire until the butter melts and you can mix the two ingredients together.
3. In a large bowl, mix flour and sugar, then add vanilla and beaten eggs.
4. Add the butter-cocoa mixture to the flour, sugar, vanilla and egg mixture. Mix thoroughly.
5. Pour the batter directly into your Dutch oven or use a Dutch oven foil liner, which fits into your Dutch oven and is disposable. Whichever you choose, be sure to coat the oven or liner with oil first to reduce sticking.
6. Place the lid on your oven and return it to the charcoal briquettes or coals. Pile charcoal briquettes or coals on the lid. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.