Entertaining at the cottage can often be difficult. Ensuring all guests are enjoying themselves and have everything they need to relax often comes at the expense of the hosts’ good time. Meals, especially, can be difficult. With different taste preferences and having to prepare a meal for several people at once, it is a stressful task that can be quite challenging. One great way to entertain guests, while also relieving some stress on the kitchen, is to prepare and enjoy dessert by the campfire. It’s a fun and leisurely way to cap-off a great day at the cottage. It’s also a great way to get kids involved and interested in cooking, without having to clean up a messy kitchen afterward.
To start enjoying dessert by the fire it’s important to make a great campfire that is ready for cooking. Make sure to build up a good-sized fire and then let it burn down so that all cooking is done over hot coals and not tall flames. Remember — coals cook, but flames burn! So, be patient and give the fire time to reduce. Once the fire is ready, it’s time to make dessert.
Campfire Dessert Burritos
This dessert is one of the easiest to make, can be done well in advance, and kids go bonkers for it — it’s a win-win…win situation. Each serving will need: 1 large flour tortilla (soft shell), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of mini marshmallows, and 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips.
Take the tortilla and smear it with the peanut butter. Then sprinkle the marshmallows and chocolate chips on top and roll the tortilla into a burrito. Wrap the burrito on aluminum foil and place onto the fire. Cooking can happen using a grill on top of the fire, or foil-wrapped tortillas can be placed directly onto the fire wherever the heat is lowest. Remember that this dessert is not so much being cooked as it just being heated up, so make sure not to burn the tortilla. Move it around frequently so it gets heated evenly, until the chocolate chips are melted. Remove it from the fire, peel and enjoy!
Banana Boat a la Foil
Sweet and sticky, ooey-gooey, and totally delicious, this dessert is best enjoyed with a coffee to cut the sweet — and with a side of napkins. Ingredients to make 8 servings are: 8 bananas, 1 bag of caramel bits (or caramels that have been chopped into bits), 1 bag of chocolate chips, 1 bag of mini marshmallows, and 1 package of graham crackers (crushed into crumbs).
To start, peel and slice the bananas length-wise. Be careful not to cut all the way through so that the banana can be the “boat” that holds the other ingredients. Nest each banana in its own piece of aluminum foil (about 8”x10” piece should work). Then, load up each banana with approximately a quarter cup each of the caramel bits, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. Take 1 graham cracker and crumble it over the banana before completely wrapping it up in foil. Once wrapped, place bananas on a grill set high over the fire, or simply place them on the rocks surrounding the fire, warming the bananas until the candy inside has melted. Once completed, remove from the fire, peel off some foil and enjoy with a spoon.
Campfire French Toast
OK, so, technically French toast is a breakfast dish. But the way this recipe goes, it’s actually a perfect option for a campfire dessert. Easy to make and big enough for everyone to have a taste, there’s no reason not to enjoy this dish along with an evening by the fire.
Ingredients needed to make enough for everyone are: 1 loaf of sliced bread (challah is preferred, but almost any type will work), 8 eggs, ¼ cup of milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ cup of sliced almonds, 50 fresh strawberries, powdered sugar and maple syrup.
To start, wash strawberries. Take half of them and dice them, then slice the other half of the strawberries. Next, take the sliced loaf of bread and wrap it in parchment paper, then in aluminum foil, leaving the top of the loaf exposed. Don’t wrap it too tight; it should be loose enough between slices to allow other ingredients to get in between. Take the diced strawberries and sliced almonds and sprinkle them over the bread, ensuring some of the pieces get in between the slices. Leave the sliced strawberries to the side until later. Take a bowl and whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon until well-blended. Pour mixture over bread. Now, use the parchment and foil to wrap the bread a little tighter so it is firm and secure and make sure to take another piece of foil to wrap the top to make a leak-proof seal. Place the loaf on a grill over the fire where there is medium-low heat. Move frequently to ensure even cooking for about 40 minutes. Take off of the fire and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy with sliced strawberries, powered sugar, and maple syrup.
Campfire Pineapple Upside Down Cake
This dessert sounds fancy, but it couldn’t be easier to execute. And, since each serving is wrapped in foil, each cake can be customized to specific tastes. Feel free to add different fruit or spices to change things up.
For the classic recipe, each serving will need: pineapple cubes, cubed poundcake (cake donuts or donut holes will work as well), butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and/or nutmeg, whipped cream (or ice cream), cooking spray.
Make a double layer of tin foil (about 8”x10”) and cover with cooking spray. Place a handful of pineapple and then a handful of poundcake onto the foil. Add a healthy dollop of butter to the top and a teaspoon or two of brown sugar. Wrap up the foil and place on the fire over high heat for about 15 minutes or until the butter has melted with the brown sugar and made a gooey sauce at the bottom of the foil. Then, open up the foil pack and leave on the fire a little longer to allow the top to brown. Remove from the fire and garnish with nutmeg, cinnamon and whipped cream or ice cream. Use a fork and enjoy the cake right out of the foil.
There are lots of great recipes out there that can be adapted for campfire cooking. Remember to keep it fun and simple and try different things. Food by the fire is just another great way to enjoy being in the country with friends and family.