Gourmet Backpacking Dessert Recipes

Sweet treats for the trail

Photo: Dmitry Sheremeta/Shutterstock

Toasted marshmallows and gooey s'mores are campfire classics that can be the perfect end to a long day on the trail. However, if you're ready to think outside the graham cracker, we've got some gourmet campsite desserts that are sure to satisfy your backpacker's sweet tooth.

Grilled banana splits

Photo: GROGL/Shutterstock

Follow this simple recipe and you won’t need ice cream to enjoy a banana split.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 1

Grilled banana splits

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1/8 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/8 cup small marshmallows
  • Any other toppings you'd like (toffee chips, caramel pieces, berries, sprinkles, etc.)
Directions
  1. At home: Pour chocolate chips, marshmallows and any other topping ingredients into a plastic bag or container. Wrap banana in foil and pack in safe place.
  2. On the trail: Cut banana lengthwise and stuff with marshmallows, chocolate chips and other toppings. Rewrap banana in foil and place on hot coals or near campfire. Cook banana for five minutes, unwrap and enjoy!

Courtesy of Andrea Williamson Gregg

Camp Tiramisu

Photo: alexpro9500/Shutterstock

Be the envy of all your trail mates when you mix up this decadent dessert.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 2-3

Camp Tiramisu

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua (Pick up a minibottle at the liquor store.)
  • 3.4-ounce packet instant white chocolate pudding
  • 2/3 cup powdered milk
  • 12 ladyfingers
  • 1 dark chocolate bar

Directions

  1. At home: Pack all ingredients separately in small bags or reusable containers.
  2. On the trail: Heat 1/3 cup of water to a boil and then mix in espresso and Kahlua. Make pudding in separate bowl according to package directions using powdered milk and 2 cups of water. Place six ladyfingers in the bottom of a pot or bowl, drizzle half of the espresso mixture over them and then spread half of the pudding on top. Place six more ladyfingers on top and then repeat espresso mixture and pudding to create a second layer. Use a pocketknife to shave thin strips of chocolate from candy bar, and sprinkle these over the tiramisu.

Courtesy of Onepanwonders

Campfire Orange Cakes

Photo: Alice Carrier/flickr

You mix the batter and Mother Nature will provide the "baking pan."

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Yield: Serves 10-12

Campfire Orange Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 eggs (We recommend using an egg substitute since refrigeration options are limited on the trail.)
  • 10-12 oranges

Directions

  1. At home: If you want to save yourself a little prep time at the campsite, mix up your cake batter in a large locking freezer bag. Otherwise, pack ingredients in individual containers.
  2. On the trail: Slice the tops off the oranges about a half inch from the top, and be sure to save the tops to use later. Hollow out the oranges with a spoon, and enjoy some fresh orange slices while you bake. Mix the cake batter in a large locking plastic bag and then cut the corner of the bag and use the opening to squeeze batter into the hollowed oranges. Fill the oranges about 3⁄4 full. Place the tops back on the oranges and wrap the fruit in foil. Place the oranges onto hot coals and let cook for 20-30 minutes. Unwrap and enjoy your cake!

Caramel Apple Cobbler

Photo: KarenMower/iStockphoto

This Dutch oven* dessert is sure to delight.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 50 minute

Yield: Serves 2-4

Caramel Apple Cobbler

Ingredients

  • 1 can apple pie filling
  • 1 box caramel cake mix
  • 1 bottle squeeze margarine

Directions

  1. At home: Remove cake mix from box and pour in freezer bag to prevent tears. Pour pie filling into lightweight container, or pack a can opener if necessary.
  2. On the trail: Grease Dutch oven or line with foil for an easy cleanup. Pour pie filling into oven, top with dry cake mix and generously pour margarine over the top. Bake with hot coals for about 45 minutes. The cobbler is done when the top is golden brown and bubbly.

*You probably don't want to haul an actual Dutch oven for miles over mountains, so here's a simple DIY Dutch oven you can construct from just trail pans and small rocks.

Peach Mallows

Photo: Julie Rybarczyk/flickr

This sweet, juicy dish will melt in your mouth.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 1

Peach Mallows

Ingredients

  • 1 peach
  • 1/8 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Handful any additional toppings (berries, chocolate chips, coconut, peanuts, etc.)

Directions

  1. At home: Pack ingredients in separate bags or containers, and store peaches where they won’t be squished or bruised.
  2. On the trail: Slice peach in half and fill with butter and marshmallows, and then sprinkle both halves with cinnamon. Wrap peaches in tin foil and cook over campfire for 3-5 minutes. Unwrap and dig in!

Chocolate Fondue

Photo: Kingcraft/Shutterstock

Make your campfire a little more festive by whipping up this simple, mess-free fondue.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Chocolate Fondue

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups food to dip (fruit, marshmallows, bite-size pieces of cake, etc.)

Directions

  1. At home: Store cream in insulated container, and pack other ingredients in leak-proof containers
  2. On the trail: Break up chocolate, if necessary, and place in pan or bowl. Bring some water to a boil, and then pour just enough water into the bowl to cover the chocolate. Let the chocolate and water sit for about 10 minutes, and then drain the water off the top. Pour in the cream and vanilla, stir well, and start dipping!

Chai Cheesecake

Photo: onepanwonders

You may be roughing it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a rich dessert.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

*Chai Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 11.1-ounce package instant cheesecake mix
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Directions

  1. At home: In a plastic freezer bag combine the cheesecake crust mix, the ground ginger and the crystallized ginger. In a second bag, combine the cheesecake mix, powdered milk and remaining spices.
  2. On the trail: In a pan, combine the cheesecake mix with 1 1/2 cups of water and stir to break up any lumps. Set aside to firm. Once the cake is ready, pour the crust mix over the top and enjoy.

* This dessert works best when made in cooler temperatures.

Courtesy of Onepanwonders.com

Gourmet S'mores

Photo: Harps+Dewdrops/flickr

Just can't imagine camping without s'mores? No problem. Try adding one or two of these ingredients to put a gourmet twist on this classic campfire treat:

  • Peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • Coconut
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Dried apples
  • Candied ginger
  • Banana slices