My grandma’s apple dumplings are one of my very favorite treats around this time of year. When she makes them, she usually freezes a bunch so that she can pull them out later when she has visitors. I had apple dumplings for breakfast many mornings through my childhood – I could never get enough of her apple dumplings! The last time we went to visit, I finally got around to getting the recipe from her so I could make my own. Mm, I’m so glad I finally did.
I love going apple picking at this time of year, and I’m really excited that we have an orchard right down the road from us at our new place in Maryland. Back in Buffalo, we had no shortage of places to go apple picking, so I’m so glad that we still have somewhere to go (and it’s even closer to us than it was in Buffalo). Our local orchard has only been doing apple picking on the weekends this early in the season, so I stopped at their farm market last week to grab some apples for these apple dumplings and to get a gallon of their fresh apple cider. 🙂
I will admit, I did make a few changes to my grandma’s recipe, only to cut down the sugar content a little bit. Since I like to enjoy apple dumplings for breakfast, I figured I’d make it a little better for me. I also made them with white whole wheat flour, although you really can’t tell! I cut down on the syrup you pour over the apples just a little bit, as that’s one of the best parts! I also added pecans into the filling for half of my dumplings, which I really enjoyed.
One thing that was a fun little challenge about this recipe was how there are very few instructions on my grandma’s recipe card. Just ingredients and then baking temperatures and times. I only needed to clarify one thing, which I think is pretty good! You know this is a well loved recipe made over and over again when you don’t even need instructions, right? 😉
This was the first time I got to use my new apple corer, which was my other reason for waiting so long to make apple dumplings. Without an apple corer, it’s a lot harder to get that core out of the apple while keeping the apple whole. I got an extremely simple stainless steel corer, and I love how easy it is to use, and it’s a great price on Amazon right now, so if you need an apple corer, I definitely recommend it (the link is an affiliate link, so if you purchase through that link, I’ll get a little money from your purchase).
If you love pie crust, then you’ll absolutely love apple dumplings – a soft baked apple enveloped in a buttery dough like pie crust. My favorite way to eat these is plain with just the yummy syrup from the bottom of the pan to complement the dumpling, but my mom and grandma like pouring a little milk over theirs. Growing up, I always thought that was really weird, but I can see now how the milk would mix with the caramel-like syrup and create a lusciously creamy caramel sauce.
What is your favorite thing about the fall? Do you have any special treats that you especially enjoy during the fall?
- 6 apples, peeled and cored
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 6 Tbsp butter, cold and cut into tablespoons
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 450ºF, and grease a 13x9 inch baking pan or casserole.
In a large bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together.
Add the butter pieces into the flour mixture, and pinch into the flour mixture with your fingers (or cut into the flour mixture using a fork), until it resembles coarse sand.
Add the milk, and stir just until a moist dough comes together. Form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge while making the syrup.
Stir together all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat just until it reaches a boil, stirring to make sure the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved completely. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Stir together the cinnamon, sugar, and pecans (if using) in a small bowl. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the fridge, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough ball into 6 equal pieces, about 3 ounces in weight each.
Take each piece of dough, and roll it out into a rough square shape. Estimate that you have rolled out the dough enough by placing one of the apples on top and making sure the edges of the dough will cover the entire apple (you'll have different sized apples, so you might have to roll some pieces out more than others).
Place one of the cored apples on top of the rolled out dough, and put about 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon sugar filling into the cavity from the core of the apple. If you are using pecans in your filling mixture, fill the cavity to the top with the nut mixture.
Pull the corners of the dough up to the center of the apple, overlapping them over the cavity, and pinching them closed. Place the apple into the prepared baking dish, and repeat with the remaining apples.
Pour the syrup over the apples in the baking dish before baking.
Bake at 450ºF for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350ºF and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the dumplings are golden and the apples are soft. Pierce into the center of the dumpling with a sharp knife to check the apple for doneness. If you are using large apples, you may need to bake for a few additional minutes.
Serve the apples while still warm, spooning some of the caramel-like syrup from the bottom of the baking dish over the dumplings before serving. Pour a little milk over the dumplings if you would like. Enjoy.
These dumplings may be baked without the syrup and then frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months. Make the syrup, and pour over the frozen dumplings before reheating in the oven at 350ºF for about 25-30 minutes.