Every smart Camp Cook knows that the dessert is the most important part of every meal. When the hunters return to camp, the stew, meat, and potatoes need to be hot and ready but as the meal slows down and appetites get smaller, there is always a desire and need for a sweet dessert.
Here’s an old timey dessert that will make every Hungry Hunter Fat and Happy!
This dessert dates to the origins of Ginger root. Crusaders brought Ginger back to the European home and began making elaborate and well decorated cookies with this aromatic spice. Ginger root was originally grown in China and traveled the Spice Road to Egypt and Greece. Since the spice was rare, it was used for ceremonies and special occasions. Wooden cookie molds and presses were carved in detail to make these special treats.
Later the Czech and German cultures used Ginger in cakes. It would be topped with powdered sugar or sweet fruity sauces. Warm milk also made this cake moist and delicious.
When Germans and eastern Europeans ventured into western states, like Montana, the gingerbread came with them. It would often be done during holidays. It is still part of German Hutterites and Amish menu.
You can make Gingerbread from scratch, but a box mix is best for camping and hunting camps. The mix saves time and comes in a box or a sack. Dutch ovens are the perfect vessel for baking this bread afield.
My favorite way to bake Dutch Oven Gingerbread is to add a can of Applesauce to the bottom of a greased Dutch oven. This sauce will keep the cake from burning. Add the cake mix, made per directions, on top of the applesauce and bake slowly until the cake is done. The applesauce may bubble up the sides of the cake when the cake is baked. Use a toothpick or small stick to probe the cake center and see if the cake batter is cooked through. I usually can smell it when the cake is done or burnt.
If you bake the cake without a sauce bottom, use parchment paper to keep the cake from sticking to the Dutch oven. At home, I have also made this recipe in a slow cooker.
For fun, you can get gingerbread wafers and cookies that can be glued together with icing. Make them into a hunting camp tent or a boat at fishing camp. Squirt some whip or sauce around the sculpture and serve.
Keep the cake warm and add some powdered sugar to the top. It can be cut into pieces or spooned out as a cobbler. A little whipped cream on top never hurts. I have also added instant pudding to the top. Caramel drizzle also is a nice touch. The goal is to make a fragrant, sweet, and tasty presentation that will get the hungry crew bragging about their Camp Cook!