August 14, 2011 in Outdoors

Sweet treats made easily at campsite

Jeffrey P. Mayor Tacoma News Tribune
 

Kids enjoy helping with campout cooking, such as cutting the holes out of doughnut dough.
(Full-size photo)

All campers seem to have their favorite food to enjoy outdoors. For some, it’s a hot, squishy s’more. Others prefer to break out the Dutch oven and cook up a batch of stew.

Following are two approaches to treating the hungry mouths in your camp.

Batter up

One of our car camping favorites is fresh-made doughnuts. We opt to bring along our electric skillet, also good for making pancakes, when we know we have access to electricity. This also would work with some oil in a cast iron pan on a camp stove.

The doughnuts are a great treat, especially on a cold morning. We like to cook them out on the picnic table so the oil doesn’t stink up the trailer.

The ingredients are simple: two tubes of Pillsbury biscuit dough, vegetable oil and sugar-cinnamon mix.

Before we leave home, we combine sugar and cinnamon in a Ziploc plastic bag. You’ll want enough one- to two-cup bags to cover all the doughnuts, depending on how many you are making.

At camp, fill the skillet with oil and heat to 350 degrees.

Split up and place the biscuit dough on a clean plate or piece of wax paper.

Use a water or pop bottle cap to cut the hole in the center of the circle of dough.

Place the doughnuts – and holes – into the oil, several at a time. Turn over when golden brown.

Remove from oil and place on a paper towel to drain off the oil.

After a few minutes place each doughnut in plastic bag and shake, coating with cinnamon-sugar mix.

Remove and serve while still warm.

We sometimes use chocolate frosting to coat the doughnuts You could then let the kids dip them in sprinkles.

To make cleanup easier – after the oil cools – we use a kitchen funnel to pour the leftover oil back into a bottle to take back home.

Keep it simple

Amy Mann is a serious hiker who leads a camp food roundtable for the Tacoma Mountaineers.

Mann’s approach is to keep her food preparations to a minimum while in camp.

“Not having small children that I have to entertain and feed, my approach is to not have to do housekeeping when I am in the wilderness,” she said.

“I don’t go out into nature to do dishes. So, my approach is to dehydrate stuff. All you have to do to prepare a meal is boil water, add it to the zipper freezer bag, let it rehydrate, set the bag in a bowl for stability and eat it out of the bag with a spoon. Minimal cooking and cleanup.”

Two desserts Mann takes on hikes and backpacking trips earning rave reviews are dehydrated pie and dehydrated chocolate pudding with candied ginger.

Take a really good pie from the supermarket – apple, cherry and pumpkin pies work really well – and blend it with enough water to make a slurry.

Then spread out and flatten the mixture to an even thickness on Teflon sheets and place them in a dehydrator. The sheet technique then involves using scissors to cut it into small pieces.

For the pudding, Mann uses chocolate instant pudding. She blends candied ginger in the milk before adding the milk to the pudding packet and stirring. The pudding is then quickly spread out on Teflon sheets, dehydrated and cut apart with scissors.

Mann and her companions just eat them like a cookie. The key, she said, is to dehydrate stuff to a thickness that holds its shape and not crumble during transportation.

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