Cool weather need not be a reason to avoid getting out in the great outdoors to go camping. Our bodies require more calories in the cooler climate of spring and fall though, and some favorite calorie dense comfort foods can be cooked over a campfire with a just a few pieces of gear.
Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls
1 pkg. (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey or 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups warm milk (100° to 110°)
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
About 5 1/3 cups flour
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
1 tablespoon butter (for greasing the dutch oven)
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup powdered sugar
- Make dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast with 1/4 cup warm (100° to 110°) water and the honey. Let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add milk, butter, eggs, and salt. Using a dough hook, gradually mix in 5 cups flour, then mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes; if dough is still sticky, add another tbsp. or so of flour. (You can also mix and knead the dough by hand.)
- Put dough in an oiled mixing bowl, turning so it’s oiled on all sides, and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until double, about 1 hour.
- Punch down dough; knead a few times on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into an even 12- by 24-in. rectangle.
- Make filling: Spread butter on dough. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts; sprinkle evenly over dough, leaving a 1 1/2-in. strip clear along the top long edge.
- Roll up, starting at other long edge, and pinch seam closed. Cut log in half crosswise. Using paper towels, oil inside of a 2-gal. resealable freezer bag. Put half-logs inside, leaving some space between them, and seal bag. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours and up to 1 month.
- Transport frozen dough in a cooler up to 1 day before baking. Remove logs from bag, ideally while still somewhat firm, and cut each crosswise into 6 slices.
- Finish rolls: Butter a 6-qt. dutch oven. Arrange slices cut side up in pot. Cover with lid and let rise in the sun until dough is puffy and holds a small impression when pressed, 1 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare a fire (see “How to Bake in a Dutch Oven,” below).
- Bake rolls until they’re browned and a skewer inserted into bread comes out clean, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Remove pot from fire, uncover, and let cool about 15 minutes. Loosen rolls with a table knife. Mix honey and powdered sugar with 2 to 3 tsp. water; spread on top.
How to Bake in a Dutch Oven
Lewis and Clark brought one to the wilderness. So did the early pioneers to Utah (it’s now the official state cooking vessel). And so should you, because it means you’ll get to bake–and eat–carbs in camp. All you need is a 6-qt. camp Dutch oven (one with legs and a flanged lid; lodgemfg.com), some regular (not competition-style) charcoal and a chimney or hot embers from a wood campfire, and a heatproof spot like a fire ring or bricks set flat on an area free of flammable material; check your campground’s fire rules.
- Prepare the fire. If using charcoal: Light 50 briquets in a chimney and burn till they’re spotted gray, 15 minutes. If using a campfire: Scrape the fire to the side, level out a space the size of the Dutch oven, and mound the hot embers nearby (2 to 3 qts. worth).
- Lay a bottom ring of hot coals. The area of the coals should be slightly smaller than the circumference of the dutch oven. Put the oven on top and set the lid in place.
- Lay a top ring of hot coals. Use metal tongs to arrange a single ring on top of the lid around the lip. Evenly space a few more coals across the lid. Set any extra heated fuel aside. To check the food and temperature, lift the lid occasionally.
- Tweak the temperature. To decrease heat, scrape away some fuel. To increase heat, or to cook longer than 45 minutes, add 5 or 6 new coals to both the top and the bottom of the dutch oven (touching lit ones so they’ll ignite) about every 30 minutes.