This easy-to-make campfire dessert is one of my favorite camping recipes from my childhood. It’s fun to make and is guaranteed to be a highlight of your next camping trip.
I grew up camping every summer. With five kids, there weren’t a lot of other vacation destinations that were in the budget, but that was fine with me. I loved spending my summers hiking, learning to fish, building sandcastles on the shores of Hume Lake, and exploring the giant tree stumps at Princess Campground.
In fact, my husband laughs at me a little for how nostalgic I get every time we see a tent trailer. But, really, tent trailers are awesome! Am I right? The smell of sun-baked plastic and the scratchy seats. Ahhh…memories.
Now that I have my own family, I’m loving introducing my boys to the fun of camping. The mountains here in Utah smell different than the Sierra Nevadas where I grew up, but they are no less beautiful.
Related: 10 simple activities that will make hiking fun for kids
Last Friday night, we did a short overnight camping with our boys. We had some stressful moments–like when a park ranger told us there were no campsites available ANYWHERE in the canyon–but we found a spot to pitch our tents (liar ranger!) and had a great time. Except for the sleeping…Oi. Little Brother had a rough night which ultimately meant that I got 3 hours of non-consecutive sleep, and my husband got absolutely NONE. On the up side, we slept really well on Saturday night when we got back home.
Thankfully, the most important part of the trip–dessert–turned out wonderfully.
One of my family’s favorite camping traditions is something we call “campfire eclairs.”
The best night of our camping trips was always the night Mom pulled out the stuff to make everyone’s favorite campfire dessert: flaky rolls filled with gooey pudding and topped with chocolate.
(Since growing up and moving to Utah, I’ve seen similar recipes called “woofems” but eclairs sounds so much more classy, don’t you think?)
So, how exactly do you make a campfire eclair?
For starters, you take a large stick (about an inch or so in diameter), cover in in foil, and wrap crescent roll dough around it, like this:
Next, you cook it over the fire until the outside is nice and golden and it doesn’t feel doughy anymore.
Then fill the middle with vanilla pudding and top it with chocolate. When I was little, we always used chocolate frosting, but my husband recently suggested using Nutella…brilliant. Further proof that I married the right man.
They’re easy to make, and our friends that we camped with were super impressed by our “fancy” campfire dessert.
Try them out for your next camping trip or backyard cookout!
The Best Campfire Dessert EVER: Campfire Eclairs
This easy-to-make dessert is one of my favorite camping recipes from my childhood. It’s fun to make and is guaranteed to be a highlight of your next camping trip.
- roasting stick
- aluminum foil
- butter or non-stick spray
- 1 package refrigerator crescent rolls
- 1 small package of vanilla pudding (prepared at home and kept in a cooler)
- 1 jar of nutella (or chocolate frosting)
- First, make sure you prepare your pudding ahead of time and put it in a plastic air-tight container for transporting to camp. (See below for an AWESOME pudding dispenser hack.)
- Next, once your campfire is going and you've sung "I Love the Mountains" enough times to work up an appetite and a sweet tooth, prepare your roasting stick. To do so, wrap the end in foil and spray with non stick spray (or rub with butter). The key is just to make sure that you'll be able to slide your roll off the stick once it's cooked.
- Wrap the dough of one crescent roll around your stick, making sure to close off the end.
- Roast slowly over the fire, rotating as needed to make sure all sides are cooked and golden-brown. Remember, patience is the key to a perfectly roasted eclair.
- When the roll is cooked and golden, pull it off the stick and fill the hole with pudding. Spread Nutella on top and eat! Then, go make another. You know you want to, and your open package of roll dough won't keep overnight anyway. ENJOY!
For a roasting stick, I usually just hunt for a fallen branch at camp, but if you're worried about not finding something, bring a large dowel or wooden broomstick from home. Ideally, you want it to be between ¾ and 1 inch.
Update (2019): We continue to make the eclairs every summer, and we’ve shared them with many friends…one of whom showed us this AWESOME hack…
Use an old (clean) ketchup bottle for the pudding!
Getting the pudding into the eclairs using a spoon can be kind of messy, but this totally solves that problem. Plus, it makes the pudding super easy to transport if needed. Simply wash out an empty ketchup bottle (or any other squeeze type bottle) and then use a funnel to refill it with pudding. Then use it to squirt pudding neatly into your eclairs. Brilliant!
Do you love camping? What are your favorite campfire desserts?
How fun and it looks so yummy 🙂
It sounds delicious. But why do you have to take all this stuff that causes so much garbage like the foil und non-stick-spray. Just take a stick und cut off the bark. hold it over the fire for some seconds und then wrap the dough around it. Ist also not too hard to prepare a dough with yeast for this instead of taking all this convenience stuff. Try a real campfire Adventure und use your own dough, no Aluminium foil, noch non-stick spray. Just a stick, a fire and your self prepared dough. You will love it the same and it s cheaper and with less garbage.
Greetings from Germany!
Hi Markus, I appreciate your concern. I do try to make eco-friendly choices most of the time, but camping is one time I allow myself a little laxity to choose convenience. For me, it would just be too tricky to make the dough from scratch while packing up ALL the gear for a family of six. I hope you’ll adapt this to use however it works for you. Enjoy!
What a great idea! I’ll have to give this a try!
What a clever idea and it looks delicious!
Hi what ingredients do you need to make the dough please
The dough is just the refrigerated crescent roll dough from the grocery store. Easy!
We did something similar growing up and I still love it – instead of crescent rolls we just used biscuits, and then spread butter and cinnamon sugar inside. Delicious!
The cinnamon and sugar variation sounds delicious!
Oh I’m going to try this on our next campout!
I wonder how parchment paper would work? Would it eliminate the need for the cooking spray? Do you spoon the pudding in or transport it in a zip local bag, cut the corner off and pipe it into the shell?
After you cook them, would they keep for the next morning?
Hmm, we’ve always gobbled them up immediately, but you’ve got me thinking about the possibilities now. I think that if you let the rolls cool after cooking, then put it in a bag overnight, it would be fine the next morning. I could see scrambling up some eggs, ham and cheese in the morning and filling the roll shells with them for a delicious breakfast!