Introduction: Backwoods Gourmet Brownies
Everybody loves treats!
These brownies are decadence from a camp stove. They're a great treat to make and to share when you're camping and need some quick energy and/or indulgence. For more energy and indulgence while camping check out MacGyver Coffee. I like to eat them for breakfast, but not everyone can handle this much chocolate in the morning. Here's what you'll need:
Equipment and tools:
- Camp stove & fuel
- Cooking pot
- Pot grippers
- Stirring/eating utensil
From the grocery store:
- Packet of brownie mix (any kind will do)
- Eggs* or egg substitute
- Peanut Butter (I used Creamy Jiff but crunchy fans should, as always, follow their tastes and desires)
- Water (although this probably won't come from the grocery store if you are camping)
*If you can take a wide-mouth water bottle temporarily out of commission, or there's room in your cooking pot, you can pack eggs inside with paper towels or (preferably clean...) garments like socks or a t-shirt to keep them from breaking while travelling.
Step 1: Turn Up the Heat
Once you have your ingredients ready it's time to turn on the stove or camp fire. I used my MSR Windpro which happens to be one of my favorite possessions.
From this step forward things will start to heat up. Make sure to take preventative measures to keep from burning yourself! That's why you brought pot grippers!
Step 2: Add Ingredients
For some recipes, it is important to get the ingredient ratios perfect. With Backwoods Gourmet Brownies, this is not the case. The only important ratio is that of "size of appetite" to "quantity of food".
To determine how much brownie mix to use, consider the size of a pan of brownies and how much of that pan you and whoever you're cooking with could realistically eat. If you could eat half a pan of brownies, use half the bag of mix, and so on. I used the same bag of mix for several two-person meals. Add enough water to make a semi-liquidy batter and one or two eggs (or roughly the equivalent amount of fake egg product). It should look like regular brownie batter. This is not rocket science. But, it has enough energy in it that you might feel like it is rocket fuel.
Next, add the peanut butter. Peanut butter is possibly the best part of Backwoods Gourmet Brownies and the ingredient that sets it apart from regular brownies. The PB takes the place of oil in the brownie box's recipe and adds some much needed protein for energy to tackle whatever back country activity you have planned. Because PB is so deliciously useful, I keep a jar on me at all times in the back country and I have it at practically every meal. Use as much as you feel is necessary in your brownies. The flavor of PB pairs well with the chocolate in brownies, so feel free to be generous. I suggest a few healthy spoonfuls.
Step 3: Scramble
An alternate name for Backwoods Gourmet Brownies is Scrambled Brownies. It gets that name from this step.
You want to scramble, or stir, these brownies just like you would scramble eggs. Scrambling is important because the more concentrated heat of a stove compared to an oven (where regular brownies are made) will cause the mixture to cook too quickly in one spot. If this happens, your brownies could stick and eventually burn on the bottom of your pot. So, stir in that peanut butter and don't stop 'til you're done!
Your pot grippers will come in very handy in this step. The mixture in the pot will be thick, so make sure you get a strong, safe grip on your pot for maximum efficiency while scrambling.
Step 4: Enjoy
Back country gourmet is different from most gourmet restaurants for a few reasons:
One major distinction is in the presentation of food. Don't be turned off by the muddy, sticky texture of these brownies, they are just as delicious as any brownie you might buy at the store. In fact, with the peanut butter, they are probably better. The texture of this style of brownie makes it spreadable and/or dunkable, if desired. I recommend spreading on a banana for some extra potassium to keep your muscles happy while you're active.
Another distinction is taste. Everything always tastes better when cooked in the back country. After hiking, biking, climbing, or skiing for a few days the simplest foods taste like some of the best meals of your life. Scrambled brownies are no exception to this rule.
Finally, the flatware. Carrying as little as possible is key in the back country, so you won't have a full set of dishes at your disposal. Most back country meals are served straight from where they're cooked. But, when it's as delicious as these brownies, that's an advantage. You will likely be tempted anyway, but be sure to lick the spoon and scrape as much off the sides of the pot as possible. Doing the dishes after this meal should be a snap.