4 Best Trail-Tested Backcountry Dessert Recipes

There’s nothing sweeter than sitting down to a glutenous dessert after a hard day’s hike/paddle/float.  Here are the 4 top trail-tested desserts that we found for you to add to your next adventure:


This one comes to us from Outside Magazine via NOLS instructor Casey Pikla.  He’s also one of the hosts of the ever-popular NOLS Cooking Show’s YouTube channel.


  • ¾ cup sugar (brown or white depending on preference)
  • ½ cup peanut butter (creamy for a smooth texture, crunchy otherwise)
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • 6 oz chocolate or 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • Optional: Cinnamon, honey, oats or any ingredients that tickle your sweet tooth


  1. Mix peanut butter, butter, sugar and any optional ingredients together until well combined. Roll out dollops of the peanut butter mixture into one-inch oblongs; set aside.
  2. Next, in a small pan melt your favorite chocolate. If you’re using a bar, either chop or smash into coarse pieces to quicken the melting process. “You’ll want to use a lot of tender love and care as you melt the chocolate, being sure to stir frequently,” he advises. As chocolate is easy to scorch, his trick is to “…remove the chocolate from the heat just before all the pieces are completely melted and allow the residual heat to finish the job.” Ultimately, you want a smooth consistency throughout.
  3. Continue by rolling your prepared peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate. Set the balls aside on a container or pot lid to cool for about 20 minutes. Or as long as your capacity for civilized self-restraint will allow. Last, but not least, devour.


2.  Bourbon-Bread Pudding (BACKPACKER)

Not the most aesthetically-pleasing dessert, but this one will knock your socks off after a long day on the trail.  This comes cutesy of BACKPACKER



  • 4 large slices whole-grain sandwich bread
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted (or coconut oil)
  • ⅓ cup powdered milk (whole milk preferable)
  •  1/4 cup raisins
  • big pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp powdered eggs


  1. At  home, cube bread and mix with melted butter or coconut oil, raisins, spices, salt and sugar.
  2.  Transfer mixture to ziplock plastic bag
  3. Add powdered milk and powdered eggs to mixture
  4. Meanwhile, add milk powder to 1 cup treated water in a sealable, boilable container or freezer bag and shake well to blend. Add bourbon and egg powder to milk and continue to mix until well blended, then stir into bread mixture.
  5.  Bring a pot of water to boil; add ziplock bag with mixture to boiling water.   Cook in bag for 5 minutes



This one comes from a dear friend, Lauren Koshere  (maker of the famous Ten-Point Cookies) who shared her favorite trail secret with Jet Boil


  • 3 Tbsp powdered milk
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (non-natural works best)
  • 1 1/2 cups of quick oats, uncooked
  • 1 cups of pecan pieces


At Home:

  • Measure and mix dry ingredients (powdered milk, cocoa powder, sugar and salt).

On the trail:

  • Put pre-measured dry ingredients into your pot with water and peanut butter.  Bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Turn off stove.  Immediately add quick oats and pecan pieces.  Blend well.
  • Spoon rounded teaspoons of dough onto a spare plate or any other flat surface.  Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

4.  Orange Peel Cupcakes (EUREKA TENTS)

camping dessert recipes

The easiest of them all.  An orange peel cupcake recipe brought to you by Eureka Tents.   This one can be prepared at home and only takes a few minutes in the backcountry.


  • “Just Add Water” Dry Cupcake or Muffin Mix:
  • Oranges (for peel only)


  1.  Cut oranges in half and remove/eat the insides
  2. Mix dry cupcake mix with water and fill orange halves
  3. Cover with foil (unless cooking over coals)
  4.  Place filled orange peels in fire/coal and cook for 10-15 minutes

Pantry or Ration Style Planning

Some organizations that run multi-day outdoor trips may choose to pack rations rather than specific recipes. For example, perhaps you would prefer to pack a specific amount per person of carbohydrates and proteins rather than specific recipes in which they’ll be used, with the expectation that you’ll make your meals using what rations of basic ingredients have been packed like a home cook might see what’s in the cupboard before whipping up dinner with what’s on hand with familiar meals in mind.  While the language of Wholesum is designed around recipes, Wholesum can actually work effectively to accommodate ration planning effectively as well.


Some suggested changes in use to plan rations:

  • Rather than create a complete recipe with multiple ingredients, use the recipe creation functionality to create one recipe per ingredient (eg. create a “recipe” called “pasta” or “rice”).
    • Select the # of servings per recipe as “1”
    • Enter a quantity of this ingredient that typically equals one serving

This will allow you to add ingredients to your pantry during the meal planning process

  • Use custom tags to indicate which food group this ingredient/recipe fits in (eg. If your “recipe” is rice, create a custom tag “carbohydrates”)
  • When planning your meal plan, indicate the number of individuals, add ingredients to your pantry/meal plan and select how often you’d like to eat a specific pantry item, how many individuals will eat them and click “Create Meal Plan”

Nutrition Labels for Value Added Farm Products & Artisan Food Makers

Are you a farmer or food entrepreneur making value-added products or other artisan food specialties? Surprise – Wholesum can help you, too!


Whether you’ve perfected the recipe and marketing plan for your jam, artisan bread, soy nut mix, yogurt, Grandma’s cookies, or kombucha, you might be interested in using the math wizardry behind Wholesum to help you shop for and track the costs of ingredients.

Additionally – depending on the size of your operation – you may also want to (or need to!) develop that oh-so-familiar nutrition label before your product hits the farmer’s market table or grocery store shelves.

Before you do, check out these guides that have been developed just for you by experts:

Adding Value to Farm Products: An Overview – ATTRA

Adding Value to Farm Products: Getting the Legal … – Farm Commons

And if the complexity of your recipe, marketing plan, or business size necessitates it, work with professionals (like the folks at UNL’s Food Processing Center) who know the ins and outs of requirements and can help you understand the nutritional details.

And make sure to check out your local state Extension specialists, too. They will have the low down on state-specific regulations and resources.

Fresh Camping Recipe Tips


Wondering how to plan meals for a multi-day camping trip? Many a foodie, chef, and Average Joe have done the hard research for us! From our favorite outdoor cooperative to chefs and mothers, we’ve compiled a great list of tips for you.

Think simple. You’re enjoying the outdoors with family or friends. Be present!
Here are some great ideas for fun, healthy, fast food brought to you by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert) from outdoor enthusiast and mother Holly of Powers Travelers.

Your experience level counts. REI has a great starter guide to help you think about some of the basics of your trip: Everything from weight and bulk of meals, to ease of preparation, and availability of water.  This will help you think about your options when it comes to fresh foods, dry foods, and how to creatively use spices, among other things.

Consider the shape and size of your trip. What is your mode of transportation? What types of activities will you be doing? Dirty Gourmet has a great list of recipes organized by activity: backpacking, bike touring, car camping, day trips, and picnics.

Keep your favorite fine foods on the menu. Epicurious – a world renowned source for information of food and cooking – will step you through some of the best outside-of-the-box ideas, including mushroom foraging, and the trick to bringing delicious cheese along on the trail.

Nutrition you can carry with you. From the perspective of a dedicated, health-conscious woman, tips on how to pack ready-made meals (just boil water!) from scratch, dense in nutrients and calories that even her non-cook husband will prepare and eat. We’re partial to cheese and summer sausage here.

What do the pros say? Backpacker Magazine has a throughout compilation of recipes and how-to tips to get you started on thinking about what meals to bring on your next big camping trip.

That’ll get you started! Many more tips and tricks to come.



4 Rules to Measure Portion/Serving Size for Catering events & weddings

Ask anyone with experience planning food and beverage for a large group and you’ll learn pretty quickly that one of the hardest parts of a caterer’s job.     WHOLESUM Food Calculator is designed to help you do the math easily,  but how do you decide on total portion size or total amount of drink per person?   Here are four rules to follow when planning out your shopping list. Continue reading

Welcome to the WHOLESUM Food Calculator Blog!

Welcome!  We hope this blog, like the application itself, will provide a treasure trove of resources for all things food and food measurement.  Whether it’s useful rules for calculating serving size, great recipes for your next camping trip or helpful tips on how to use WHOLESUM Food Calculator, we hope you find what value in all of the posts to come.  Thanks for keeping an eye on our work and please don’t hesitate to contact us by email or through the comment section on each post.

Bon Appetit!