By the author of The Faithful Prepper and The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications,
I’ve been trying to get involved more with campfire cooking, wanting to know how to eat more than just MREs and canned goods when the power goes out. I figure the more I can channel my great-great-grandparents into that kind of work, the better off I will be in a grid-down world, whether that be due to a cyber pandemic, a foreigner-installed kill switch, or whatever else may come.
And so, knowing that campfire cooking is an important primitive skill to master, I’ve been fiddling around with a pie iron of late, and I have a recipe for a pretty cool breakfast scone that you may want to give a try.
What’s a pie iron?
If you’re not familiar with what a pie iron is, it’s essentially two square pieces of cast iron that are each attached to long sticks. There’s a hinge that connects the cast iron pieces to each other, and they’re hollowed out so that you can pour batter into them.
They’re not as versatile as a Dutch oven, but they’re kind of fun to play around with, and if you have one already laying in your pile of campfire cooking kit, it’s nice how to use them to make something a little more ornate than yet another grilled cheese sandwich.
I personally think that one of the best ways to keep people in a good mood is to keep them supplied with hot breakfasts and full-sized dinners. Think about how your family feels when the power has been out at your house for a few days. They’re rather grumpy, are they not?
But if you could load them up with hot scones that you made over a campfire that morning, they just may wake up in a better mood.
Here’s what you’ll need to make one with a pie iron.
I tried to stick with stuff that you wouldn’t need refrigerated necessarily and that you would likely have in stock when the power goes out.
(Makes two scones)
- 2 cups of flour
- ¼ cup of sugar
- A diced apple
- ½ tsp of baking soda
- ½ tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp of butter (you may want 3 tbsp for more flavor)
- 1 cup of milk
- ½ tsp of cinnamon
The milk and the butter you’re going to want refrigerated, yeah, but if you have a functioning homestead, the odds are that you can get both of those items fresh every morning. If not, dehydrated milk is worth looking into, as is butter powder.
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Here are the steps to a pie-iron scone.
The first thing I did was mix all my flour, sugar, apples, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, in a bowl together. I used a big ol’ wooden spoon to blend things together as best I could. I then threw in 2 tbsp of melted butter (I cheated and used the microwave). I stirred that in with the milk until I ended up with a huge mass of sticky dough.
It took me about 10-15 minutes to get everything together and all mixed up.
I then headed outside to build my campfire. If you have your campfire already built from the get-go, 10-15 minutes is plenty of time to have a kettle of boiling water ready for a morning cup of coffee.
Once the campfire was built, I used a little bit of butter on the innards of each side of my pie iron. I then glooped my dough into the pie iron, squished it all shut, and held it over the flames for about 15 minutes, occasionally flipping the thing over.
I actually held it, too. I didn’t set it down in the coals or anything. After burning an off-grid pizza creation to charcoal, I was a tad bit paranoid about burning something else to a crisp, too, I suppose.
There’s a locking bar on my pie iron that keeps the thing from falling open unless I want it to. Yours may have the same. When your scone begins to expand to the point that you can see that the pie iron really wants to open up – maybe even cracking open just a tad – then your scone is likely done. This took me about 15 minutes to bake.
I pulled the thing out of the fire at this point, brought over a plate, and used a fork to gently plop my scone down out of the pie iron. (This one turned out much prettier than the first. I’ve now grown to appreciate food photographers much more.)
One thing I will say is don’t skimp on the sugar or butter above.
Channel your inner Paula Dean here, or you’re not going to have enough flavor. You may potentially want to bump up that butter as well. I used 2 tbsp for this batter, but I think that bumping that up to 3 tbsp would have been a slightly more flavorful choice.
I initially tried to cut back on my sugar and butter, and I ended up with a rather bland-tasting scone. (That’s what jelly is for, right?) You want something yummy, and for that, butter, sugar, and cinnamon are your friends.
If you are concerned with how much butter is going into your recipe, don’t forget that you can always slather it on top of your scone when it comes out of the pie iron instead. Honey, while still a sugar source, could be easily substituted for white sugar as well. Don’t be afraid to tinker with the recipe here.
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And that’s all there is to it!
This is a simple means of off-grid campfire cooking that will help to expand your repertoire of meals when the grid goes down. Food is important to keep spirits high. Don’t neglect your ability to make it!
What are your thoughts? Do you have any awesome scone recipes you recommend for campfire cooking? Do you have any tips on using a pie iron? Let us know in the comment section below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.
I have seen those at Wally-World, some sporting goods stores.
Was not until my daughter insisted we get some when we were going “glamping.”
We used two well buttered slices of bread, strawberry preserves, and cream cheese.
They were good, and the girls enjoyed making and eating them.
Even if you have a fire ring with a grill, it can be challenging not to burn or even under cook food. All the more difficult if it is dark.
Over a open fire with no fire ring and grill and cooking right over coals even bigger challenge.
Campfire cooking, one pot meals might be the best method.
In a post-SHTF world, firewood might be a daily chore.
Yes anything hot and tasty is good. Good to have children comfortable with wood scrounging, managing fires, and fire cooking. All good fun and relaxing. Lots of waffle irons and pizelle irons floating around the world too. It’s often possible to restore vintage cast iron with a bit of time, vinegar soak and then clean, reseason with food grade flax/linseed oil. We like making waffles with cream and fruit as a weekend treat.
The forest school movement in Europe is a good source of inspiration to get parents and children doing woodland skills including fire cooking. Can start with easy stuff like two metal sieves wired together with pop corn inside, attach to a broom handle or hold handles with a fire glove.
Since nobody has mentioned it … there are many relevant links for how-to and recipe info on YouTube if you run a search on PIE IRON.
There are some of us who choose not to support YT, and the Orwellian google censors.
I’m fully aware of Google’s disgusting political digital book-burning of anything it doesn’t like — including some years of mal-treatment of TOP articles. An updated phrase originally by Eric Blair aka George Orwell in Animal Farm might be YT characterized as Video Farm where all videos are equal but some are more equal than others.
At the same time YT has an enormous collection of how-to videos that for the most part don’t have any political implications. I suppose that if libertarians or conservatives or especially Trump supporters decided to use pie irons as emblems on their signs, clothes, articles, websites, etc … I would expect that YT would immediately rebel and censor. But until such time, YT probably can’t get any political kudos from their Google owner for trashing pie irons.
In the meantime I think we lose more by ignoring YT’s vast library of how-to content.
Now I need to make some of those. If you don’t have normal nonfat powdered milk, or powdered butter, an alternative that can replace them is a product called Nido Fortificado. It’s a vitamin fortified full fat milk powder that comes in big cans. You can get it anywhere that caters to a Hispanic population or on Amazon. I’ve even made yogurt with it though the texture was a bit funky because there are some thickeners. Even so, it’s a heck of a lot better than none, and is very shelf stable.
We enjoy Cast Iron cooking. My wife makes blueberry scones, they’re so good that I hide them from everyone!! The recipe looks close to the same excepted for lemon zest and blueberries.
We use pie irons to make grilled cheeses over the fire when we camp.