In this week’s Junkyard Tales: All Together Now story, “Afraid of the Dark” Winnie, the puppy assistant, is afraid of the dark and won’t come out of the Warden’s office after the sun sets. The others try to coax her out to enjoy the night-time fun, but she is adamant. So Sergeant talks to the Rowlands, a family of raccoons, and they know exactly how to help Winnie not only face her fears, but learn to enjoy the night.
One of the ways that I most enjoy being outside at night — particularly when the weather’s just a touch cool — is gathered around a campfire with a group of friends. Snuggled up in thick sweaters with warm beverages in hand, swapping stories as the kids run amok — who could ever be afraid with that much coziness happening?
And while you’re standing there, you may as well make a piece of warm bannock bread for dessert, right?
Bannock bread (also known as plain “campfire bread”) has both Scottish and Native American origins. It’s a biscuit dough that was traditionally cooked over a campfire, either by using a scavenged flat rock as a pan or by twisting the dough around a stick.
We cooked ours using the stick method, then slathered it with melted butter and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top. I made the biscuit dough from scratch, using the recipe below, but certainly feel free to use canned dough if that helps.
It takes a few tries to get the knack of cooking it over an open flame, but even the less than perfect pieces found their happy place in our tummies.
(makes about 12 pieces)
For the dough:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
about 2 tablespoons melted butter
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the olive oil and water. Starting with a spoon and moving to clean hands as necessary, work the dough together for 5-10 minutes or until it’s smooth and stretchy. You may have to add a few tablespoons of extra flour or water to get a good consistency. (I don’t know if there’s any science to back me up, but I always find that I have to adjust my dough recipes a little according to the weather.)
When the dough is ready, divide it into 12 balls and cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar, then put the dough, melted butter, and cinnamon sugar mixture on a big tray and carry it out to your campfire.
With a roasting stick ready, twist a ball of dough into a snake that’s about 1 inch thick. Wind the snake around your stick, then give the whole thing a good squeeze to help it adhere. Hold the stick over the fire, turning it every few minutes but not constantly. (We found that constant turning just makes the dough fall off.) To get the inside of the bread done, you’ll need to cook it for about 10 minutes so don’t start too close to the fire or you’ll burn the outside.
When the bread is finished, drizzle it with butter, then sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar. Enjoy it piping hot.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.