Capture the heat from a campfire and you can turn almost any lidded pan into a small oven. It’s the red coals that give off the even heat you need for baking, so burn the fire down to coals when you want to make cookies. Arrange a sturdy campfire rack over the coals, or use the fire ring provided at many campsites. Take along store-bought cookie dough or make your favorite recipe and pack it in a zip-seal plastic bag.
Griddle or Skillet Cookies
Place a sheet of non-stick aluminum foil on the cooking surface of a griddle or skillet with the treated side facing up. Separate the dough into cookie-sized pieces and place them on the foil, leaving about 2 inches between each.
Tent a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the griddle, leaving about 4 inches of air space underneath to create a heat chamber so the cookies can bake. Use an oversized sheet of foil so you can crimp it loosely to secure it, if necessary. Cover a skillet with tented foil or a lid.
Wear leather fire gloves or use thickly insulated potholders to set the griddle or skillet on the rack over the campfire.
Lift an edge of the foil with tongs to check the cookies after two to three minutes. Reseal the foil tent, and adjust the rack height if necessary to prevent scorching. Recipes vary, but most cookies are done in seven to 10 minutes.
Remove the top foil when the cookies are done. Holding a fireproof tray or large pan next to the griddle, grab the edge of the non-stick foil with long-handled tongs and slide the foil and cookies off the griddle and onto the tray. Lift the skillet off the fire when the cookies are done, and slide the foil and cookies together out of the skillet onto a tray or table.
Rake the coals into a small heap and set up the reflector oven next to the coals. Determine the wind direction, and place the oven so the wind strikes its back. This keeps ashes from blowing into your food. Anchor the stove frame and the side wings securely.
Cover a baking sheet that fits your reflector oven with non-stick foil. Place cookie dough chunks on the foil at intervals. If your oven has two racks, prepare two sheets of cookies and bake them at the same time.
Slide the baking sheets onto the reflector oven racks and close the top of the oven, using protective gloves or pot holders.
Watch the cookies from the open front of the oven.
Lift the top of the reflector oven when the cookies are done, and remove the baking sheets. Slide the foil and cookies off the baking sheets.
To keep the outside of a campfire pan from becoming blackened, spread a thin coating of liquid dish soap on the outer surfaces before you begin cooking. Any black that accumulates rinses off easily with water.
While you may use non-stick spray on regular foil, it tends to scorch over a fire. Non-stick foil is designed to easily release food at any oven temperature, and it’s convenient to pack with your gear. It also makes cleanup a breeze.
Avoid using cookware that has any non-metal parts. Even indoor oven-safe Bakelite handles can be damaged by a campfire.
Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.