For our two-year wedding anniversary, A and I went camping at the Assateague Island National Seashore. If you’ve never been, it’s a pretty magical place along the Maryland / Virginia shore where wild ponies roam freely with visitors. Day one: car camping. Day two: backcountry camping, which involved a 3-4 mile hike down the beach and through some dunes carrying all of our supplies and water. The views did not suck. Though the mosquitos were a bit bitey (understatement) and we got hit with a little storm (extreme understatement) on the night we were in the backcountry, we had a great time. With a little advanced prep, we also had great food.
When I’m camping, I love taking my time in the mornings. I am a coffee drinker, though my husband is not. On this trip, I couldn’t find any of my easy-to-use non-electric coffee equipment, and I really dislike the taste of instant coffee, so we had to improvise. We used a strainer from a teapot at home, which my husband, bleary-eyed, first thing in the morning, was kind enough to fill with grounds and pour over with boiled water to get me my caffeine fix. In case you’re also in a camping coffee pinch, this actually worked pretty well!
I am also a believer of hearty breakfasts on slow mornings and camping trips. For this adventure, I wanted to figure out a way to make French toast on our trip (breakfast of champions!) without having to worry about keeping eggs fresh—after all, we’d be hiking along a sunny beach mid-summer.
Powdered milk is an easy solution for dairy, but I couldn’t find dehydrated eggs anywhere (on, ahem, the day before the trip) so I was worried I’d have to come up with Plan B…. but I was set on some maple syrup-drizzled French toast. After a little research, I discovered that it’s easy to replicate with cornstarch. Bonus: it’s easy to pack ahead for multiple days. I found a few recipes, mix-and-matched, and modified them.
Here’s the recipe I came up with:
Eggless Campfire French Toast
3 tablespoons powdered milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
4 slices challah bread
1 cup water
3 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil or butter—I used coconut oil because it’s easy to store at room temperature and doesn’t go bad so I could take it camping easily)
Maple syrup or desired toppings
Mix the powdered milk, cornstarch, and vanilla sugar in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Add your challah bread slices and take them on your camping trip! When you’re ready to cook, remove the bread slices from the freezer bag, tapping off any excess powder, and set aside. Add the water to the bag and zip shut. Squish the ingredients together until there are no clumps from the powder. Add your bread back into the liquid mixture and zip shut. Let this sit while you heat the oil and skillet.
Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add the soaked bread slices. (They will be soggy.) Depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to do this in shifts. I did two at a time. Resist temptation: do not crowd the pan.
After 1-2 minutes when the bottom has firmed up, flip the bread. Flip again after the other side has firmed up. Keep flipping until the toast has your desired doneness. I like my toast on the golden-burnt side, and it took about 10 minutes total for me for each slice. However, we had some high winds during cooking, which may have changed the cooking time, so I recommend frequent flipping so you don’t overcook.
Serve with maple syrup and enjoy hot! Other yummy topping suggestions: Nutella, fresh fruit, peanut butter, jam, whipped cream, or nuts.
*Notes: This would probably be super delicious if you added a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to the powder mix, but that did not occur to me when I was planning this recipe. It would also be really easy to make this vegan if you used a powdered dairy substitute and made sure the bread was eggless.
This definitely tasted like the real deal and was so easy to pack and make on our trip. This is definitely going to be a camping go-to for us from now on!