Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Apple Dumplings and Caramel Apples

I've decided to start another blog.  I want to talk about gun control reform and about improving the state of mental health in our country, but this blog is not the place to do so.  Please follow me at I Just Wanted A Little More Time With You.  Maybe together we can make a difference.
Here, in this space, I need to share some happiness. 

Apple Dumplings

Step 1:  Core and peel apples
Apple dumplings are one of my favorite childhood desserts.  When I was a kid my sister, mom and I would spend a Sunday afternoon making dozens of apple dumplings to put into the freezer.  Now, my kids and I carry on the tradition.

I love knowing that there are 3 1/2 dozen apple dumplings sitting in my freezer.  We don't go out to dinner at a restaurant very often, but we do spend many of our weekend evenings having dinner at one of our friend's houses.  Frequently I'm asked to bring dessert - with apple dumplings in the freezer dessert is done.

Apple dumplings also show up on our table when we're having chili or another South Western meal that needs a little something more.  We don't usually have dessert unless we have company, but there is something wonderful and comforting and loving about smelling that warm cinnamon smell waft out of the oven.  Sometimes a winter evening calls out for apple dumplings - and I don't feel too bad about giving this to the kids because at least they're getting a whole apple in there, right?

Step 2: Roll out pie dough and cut it into squares (how large depends on the size of your apples).   Place the apple on the center of the square and add cinnamon sugar and butter to the center.

Step 3:  Carefully wrap the pie dough around the apple.

Step 3 1/2:  Sneak butter and sugar when your mom isn't looking

Step 4:  Put some in a greased baking dish for supper.  Put the rest (unbaked) in freezer bags and freeze them.  They will wait happily until you want them on a cold night.

Step 5:  Make glaze and pour over top.  Bake (baste with the glaze every 15 minutes).

Apple Dumpling Glaze

In a small saucepan add 1 c. water, 11/2 T butter, 1/2 t. cinnamon and 1/2 c. sugar.  Stir, then bring to a boil.  Boil for three minutes.  Pour over the top of the dumplings.  This recipe is good for four dumplings.  If you're making more double, or triple it as needed.

I bake my dumplings at 375 for 45 minutes.  If you're pulling them out of the freezer let them sit on top of the counter for about 30 min. before baking.

Step 6:  Pour Milk over top and eat

 Caramel Apples

For the past few years when Jane and her family come to visit we've made caramel apples.  The kids love making them, and they're very easy.  You can certainly make your own caramel, but this time I just used the caramels from the store.  
Have the kids unwrap the caramels from a 14 oz. package.  Add 2 T milk to them and put them in the microwave for a minute, stir and then micro for one more minute.  (You can also do this on the stove - just keep the heat low). 
Put craft sticks into the top of the apples and then dip them into the caramel.  You have to work fast here.  
Place the apples on a tray and let the kids decorate them with sprinkles.  If you want a version for yourself chopped hazelnuts and chocolate make a great combination.

They're a little messy, but don't let that make you miss a single bite of the goodness!

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