Whip up some tasty treats the next time you visit the great outdoors
Published 8:50 am Monday, August 24, 2015
On your next campout, while your family roasts the usual hot dogs, impress them by whipping up a batch of tasty doughnuts.
Campfire doughnuts are literally as easy as 1-2-3-4, as illustrated by Roan Mountain State Park Ranger Amanda Smithson on a recent Saturday. Smithson whipped up the delicious doughnuts as part of a campfire cooking demonstration, one of the park’s rotating series of activities.
“It’s fun to show the campers new ideas,” said Smithson, “something that is easy and can easily go around to fireside people.”
Of course when you’re camping, you want to keep it simple. Lugging the entire kitchen with you zaps the fun. Simplicity was definitely the key to the doughnuts.
Start with a Dutch oven (no lid) on a rack over the fire. Add a cup of vegetable oil and thoroughly heat it. Add a can of biscuits (the brand doesn’t matter). In about 5-10 minutes (once they are golden brown), carefully remove them from the oil and place in a paper bag that’s been preloaded with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar. Consider it a legal park version of brown bagging. You could also add sprinkles to the bag if desired. Close and shake the bag vigorously for about 10 seconds. Enjoy.
The doughnuts got seals of approval from the small group gathered to learn and sample a new recipe.
Jac Gurley, 7, (although “most people say I’m 8”) was among the camp crowd. “They taste better than they smell,” he said in between bites of his second doughnut.
Jac was on a weekend camping trip with his parents. His mother, Candice, had plenty of praise for Roan events.
“We come here about three or four times a year from Johnson City,” she said. “We try to come to all the activities. They have a ton of great stuff.”
Smithson gets the pleasure of coordinating a lot of that stuff. “They let me get away with it,” she said with a laugh. The seasonal ranger was headed to beach volleyball shortly after the cooking demonstration. “I feel pretty honored to get to call this my job.”
Other than doughnuts, Smithson said potato-based recipes such as home fries are sometimes featured and are always a hit. She said she gladly samples the recipe leftovers — if any are left once the campers get their fill.
She said campfire orange muffins are also delicious – and, again, easy. Cut an orange in half and scoop out the pulp. Follow the directions to mixing a pack of muffin mix (Smithson suggests Martha White). Add the mixture to the orange and place in a Dutch oven on a rack over the fire. Cook until golden brown – campfire orange muffins.
Following Smithson’s muffin description, Jac approached with a request. “I just have to have one more doughnut.”
Smithson suggested Pinterest as a great place to find other easy campfire recipes, and the Roan Mountain State Park Visitor Center gift shop features campfire recipe cookbooks.
For more on Roan Mountain State Park activities, visit http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/roan-mountain
Don Armstrong is a mass communications professor at East Tennessee State University, and adviser to the East Tennesean, the campus newspaper at ETSU.