You already know that baking bread is possible inside a Dutch oven along with baking pizza too. But when was the last time you thought of baking fresh cookies inside a cast iron pot while camping?
What’s The Big Secret Of Making Cookies In A Dutch Oven?
There really isn’t much of a secret that’s going on here aside from a few elements that you want to pay close attention to. The first is your heat source which needs to be carefully regulated. Since the cast iron is going to be your main source of storing heat, opening the lid is a tempting thought and under normal cooking conditions is perfectly fine. But for baking cookies is going to spell trouble and here’s why:
Immediate Loss Of Internal Heat
Unlike a conventional oven at home, your Dutch oven is gathering heat inside like a pressure pot. But without anything actually being under pressure, the heat is contained within the cast-iron walls and makes a cozy spot for your cookies to bake at just the right temperature. Taking off the lid to check on them in such a confined area will drop the heat and moisture inside to levels that will ruin a batch sooner than you had hoped would bake correctly.
The reason your home oven works so well to check cookies is you have a window to see how they’re coming along. Your oven is also a lot larger and will continue to radiate heat while something is being baked. So peeking on your cookies is not uncommon, but certainly not advised. It has a lot to do with losing the moisture inside such a small vessel that can start to dry out your mixture and lead to them burning due to the missing moisture inside.
This is why baking bread will allow the outside crust to become nice and shiny as sugar proteins start to change the outer crust of your bread. The same effect is happening with your cookies.
Where To Place Your Dutch Oven Over Heat?
You don’t need more than 350 degrees Fahrenheit to have great results but on a camping pit, you don’t have the luxury of checking the temperature so easily. Unless you’ve brought a digital thermometer, you can check the outside temperature of the cast-iron pot to adjust how close it needs to be to your coals. You cannot bake anything very well if there is an open flame so the best time for baking is when you have coals that are still nice and hot.
Because you also want to bake your cookies from the bottom, you also want to put a ring of coals along the top leading edge too. This is so you can cook with a majority of your heat radiating from the bottom but then the final 15 minutes is baking it only from the top. Most cookie recipes will take only one hour, so you only need 45 minutes of letting your Dutch oven sitting over glowing coals.
What’s The Best Way To Make Cookies In A Dutch Oven at Camp?
There’s no rule that you can make individual cookies rolled into little balls. The best method is from making a cookie cake which also works in your favor if you have a lot of people at your campsite. A decedent-sized Dutch oven using a 14-inch diameter can feed up to 30 guests if you make small servings. For a family of 4 or 5, you’ll have more than enough to last a day to two afterward.
One recommendation for keeping your heat more directs is to use regular charcoal briquettes. To bake for one complete hour, you only need 10 briquettes spaced around the lower edge of your Dutch oven. Provided you have a cast iron pot that has standing legs. The coals cans sit directly under the edge of your pot. The top of the lid uses 14 charcoals placed around the outside edge and 4 that sit spaced evenly in the center in a circle.
After baking for 45 minutes, move your pot off of the coals that are under your pot but don’t remove the upper coals at all. If there is wind or the coals are burning faster than usual, you’ll need to have space charcoal briquettes to finish the job. Another recommendation is to turn the pot one-quarter turn of the lid and the same for the pot itself. This will further ensure you have evenly distributed heat. Do this every 15 minutes for that whole hour.
Do You Need To Add Parchment Paper For Dutch Oven Cookies?
If your Dutch oven is seasoned already, you don’t need to add any parchment paper at all. The surface within a well seasoned cast-iron pot is enough to keep the dough from sticking. You also want to be careful about where the heat source is at your campfire, so unless you’re cooking on top of a Dutch oven flat griddle you want to avoid any kind of paper that could start to burn at the bottom of the pot.
What Kind Of Cookies Can You Bake In A Dutch Oven?
All of your favorite cookie recipes are perfectly fine for baking in a cast-iron pot. Once you mix your cookie dough in a separate bowl, you can place this into your pot and push the entire lump down until it meets the inside edges. The final cookies will be more like a traditional cookie slab you find at the mall like Mrs. Fields. If you choose to bake these separately, it can take longer to make several cookies inside a smaller pot.
Larger slab cookies might be down and dirty, but then again camping is also known as roughing it’- so don’t be overly picky about perfectly shaped cookies for that matter. Don’t forget to bring fresh ingredients and always mix your dry ingredients separately from your wet ingredients before combining them to make the dough in the end. Good luck and don’t be afraid to try other variants including brownies or various pastries.