S’mores are the classic camping treat for good reason: they’re tasty, convenient, and fun to assemble. But they aren’t the only dessert worthy of a campfire. Next time you head into the great outdoors for an overnight adventure, why not shake up dessert a bit? These three delectable treats, including clever handheld cakes to a campfire twist on a classic, hit the (sweet) spot just as well as s’mores, and all are fairly easy to pull off.
Keep in mind that you will need a bit of campfire prep. All of the following desserts require a toasty coal bed, so be sure to build up your campfire and allow for the coals to be nice and hot. To do this, let the flame die down a little—remember, the heat comes from the embers. You’re looking for glowing embers with a white sheen on them, just like you would with a charcoal grill. You can also use a shovel to move a few coals outside of the primary fire specifically for cooking. With the hot coals in place and your ingredients prepped, you’re ready to cook up some sweet campfire treats.
1. Orange Peel Cake
This zingy dessert uses something you’d normally toss—orange peels—as a convenient way to bake delicious hand-held cakes right over the open flame.
What You’ll Need
• Orange with rind (however many oranges is however many mini cakes you’ll have)
• Cake mix of your choice (pick a flavor that goes well with orange, such as yellow cake or chocolate)
• Ingredients required for your chosen cake mix (usually eggs, water, and vegetable oil)
• Chocolate chips or sprinkles for toppings
How to Make It
Slice off the top of the orange and put it aside. You’ll want as much of a bowl shape as possible, so the more orange you have, the more cake batter will fit. Next, using a spoon, scoop out the orange pulp. (Feel free to snack as you cook.) Mix the cake batter according to the instructions. Pour the cake mixture into the hollowed-out orange rind. Only fill it about three-quarters of the way full to allow the cake to rise. Add desired toppings, then put the top of the orange peel back on as a lid. Wrap the orange peel in tinfoil. Place on the embers of the fire for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cake is cooked to your liking. Let cool, then enjoy!
Campfire-Style Banana Splits
You’ll barely miss the ice cream in these mouthwatering, melty treats that are baked right over the fire.
What You’ll Need
• 4 to 6 large bananas (one per person—or more; we aren’t judging)
• 2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
• 2 cups peanut butter chips (optional)
• 1 small bag miniature marshmallows
• Cooking oil spray
• Sheets of tinfoil (use enough to wrap over the banana)
How to Make it
First, coat a sheet of tinfoil with cooking spray so your dessert doesn’t stick. Next, slice the banana from end to end, taking care not to slice all the way through. The idea is to make a boat with the banana peel. Slowly pull the peel apart so you have some room to work. Next, fill the banana peel with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips—feel free to get creative and add nuts, dried fruit, or whatever else suits your fancy. Individually wrap each stuffed banana with aluminum foil and place them on the coals. Cook for about five minutes, or enough time to melt the chocolate and marshmallows. Let cool, unwrap, grab a spork, and chow down.
This hands-down winner works as well over a campfire as it does indoors, and—bonus!—you won’t have to worry as much about cleaning up drips. Keep in mind, however, that this one can get pretty messy, so be prepared with extra napkins, wipes, or water for rinsing off sticky fingers and faces.
Pro tip on cleanup: To get rid of the residual chocolate in your pot, add water and bring it to a boil over a stove. Using a spatula or spoon, gently scrape the melted chocolate into the water and dispose of properly.
What You’ll Need
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 12-ounce package of chocolate chips
• Pinch of salt
• Dipping snacks: Think pretzel sticks, large marshmallows, strawberries, banana chunks, and more
• A camp-friendly pot
• A cooking grate on your fire ring
How to Make It
Place your pot on a fire grate. You can use coals, but be sure they aren’t too hot—chocolate melts (and burns) quickly. You’ll want a lower to medium heat. Add the heavy cream to the pot and let it warm. Drop the chocolate chips into the pot and stir until chocolate is melted. Add a pinch of salt if you have it. Continue to stir occasionally so the chocolate doesn’t burn. Once the chocolate melts to a smooth consistency, remove from heat, skewer your choice of bites, and start dunking into the chocolatey goodness.
Written by Meg Atteberry for Matcha in partnership with Kampgrounds of America.