and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
teaspoons plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
teaspoons white vinegar
medium tart apples, peeled and cored
teaspoon ground cinnamon
Ingredients for Caramel Sauce:
jar (12-1/4 ounces) caramel ice cream topping
and 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
In a large bowl, combine the flour, 2 teaspoon sugar and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly. In a small bowl, combine 1 egg, water and vinegar, gradually add to crumb mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Divide into seven portions.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7-inch square. Place an apple on each pastry square; place 1 tablespoon butter in the center of each. Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over apples.
Bring up corners of pastry to center; pinch edges to seal. Beat remaining egg; brush over pastry. Place in a greased 13-inch x 9- inch baking dish. Bake at 350° F for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until smooth and blended. Pour over apples. Bake 35-40 minutes longer or until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown, basting occasionally with sauce. Serve warm.
Caramel Walnut Apple Dumplings for Two
The fall baking bonanza continues! Josh and I went apple picking this weekend, and we ended up with 41 pounds of apples (I know, I know, I’m a crazy lady who must be stopped), so you’d best believe there are lots of apple recipes coming your way. If there’s an apple recipe you’ve been dying to make, now’s the time to make requests!
For my first trick, I give you my take on apple dumplings. I confess that I had no idea what an apple dumpling was until I saw them in the grocery store a couple weeks ago and decided to give them a try. The grocery store apple dumplings followed the standard preparation with brown sugar inside and sugary sauce outside, and it was delicious. Since I clearly had enough apples, I decided to give it a go, Katie style.
I used this recipe for guidance, but as usual, I experimented. I used Jonagold apples (my favorite) because they are sweet but slightly tart, bake nicely, and have a nice size to them. Any apple that’s good for baking and is decently large will work well, so use whatever you like best. I decided against cooking the dumplings in a sauce because I didn’t like the idea of soggy pie crust. I also decided to dress up the filling a little bit by adding caramel and walnuts. The result was akin to an inside out caramel apple that oozed nutty caramel deliciousness, all wrapped in a sweet, flaky pie crust shell. Mmmmm.
If you really like the idea of the inside out caramel apple but are more of a purist, you can use peanuts instead of walnuts, or swap in some mini chocolate chips instead. Alternatively, you could leave the nuts out and just fill up the apple centers with caramel bits. I used Kraft caramel bits because they’re a lot easier to work with than the individually-wrapped variety, and a lot less fussy than making your own caramel. In fact, if you use pre-made pie crust, this recipe quickly falls into the easy category.
We ate these plain right out of the oven, and they were delicious as they were. However, if you’re in the mood for a little extra indulgence, they would pair nicely with vanilla ice cream, honey, or freshly whipped cream. They’re also good cold, so if you want to increase the recipe and save the rest, you can have a nice surprise for the next day waiting for you in the fridge. I did have a bit of leftover pie crust, so you can probably get at least one more apple out of a full recipe of sweet pie crust (for a total of 5 apple dumplings).
You will need the following ingredients:
For the apple dumplings:
- ½ recipe sweet pie crust, or 1 roll pre-made pie crust
- 2 large apples (I used Jonagold, but any baking apple will do)
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- approximately 20 Kraft caramel bits, or comparable melting caramels
- approximately 2 tsp. chopped walnuts
- heavy cream for brushing (optional)
- coarse sugar for decorating (also optional)
For baking ambiance:
- I’ve had “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads stuck in my head for… I don’t know how long now, so I gave in and streamed some Talking Heads on Amazon Prime. Stop Making Sense is a classic staple, but I was really into Remain in Light during my season of apple madness.
If you are making your own pie crust, do so at least an hour in advance so it has time to chill. You can make the full recipe and just freeze the other half or use it in some other bakeventure. It will be easier if you form the half of the dough you will be using into a flattish rectangle before chilling, but the shape isn’t entirely vital.
Preheat your oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
When your pie crust has chilled, roll it out into a 14″x7″ rectangle.
As you can see, you’d have to really use your imagination to call mine a rectangle, but it’s ok as long as you have an unbroken rectangle of the required size within that blob because you’re going to trim it to make it neat. If parts aren’t quite the right size around the corners, or if you accidentally tear your dough, you can use the trimmed off scraps as patches. Once you’ve made your rectangle pretty(ish), slice it in half to form two squares of dough.
Core and peel your apples. You can use an apple corer if you have one, or you can just stable the apple around the core with a sharp paring knife like so:
Once you’ve cut all the way around the core, push the core out and discard it.
Place one apple in the center of each square of crust. At this point, it’s a good idea to make sure that your crust squares are big enough. Bring the corners together over the center of the top of the apple (see below for pictures). If they don’t overlap, slice off enough of the bottom of the apple to make it fit (unplanned snacks, yea!).
Drop 5 caramel balls into the core hole (push them all the way to the bottom of needed), then drop 1 teaspoon of chopped walnuts on top of those. Fill the hole the rest of the way up with caramel balls, squishing them in as best you can and letting them overflow the top a little.
Sprinkle the top of each apple and the exposed crust square generously with cinnamon sugar (you will probably have some leftover).
Carefully pick up two opposite corners of pie crust and bring them together over the top of the apple. Pinch them together to make them stick.
Repeat with the remaining two corners, pinching the edges of the dough along the way to seal the apple all around. Check it all over to make sure there are no cracks.
Brush each apple with heavy cream and transfer them to a greased baking dish. Sprinkle them with coarse sugar if desired (I didn’t, but I would have liked to).
Bake the apples for 30-40 minutes, or until they are nicely browned and the apples are softened. Enjoy the delicious smells of fall wafting through your home.
Let the apples sit until they are cool enough to handle (for me this was about 15 minutes, for Josh it was more like 30-45). Serve warm with honey, vanilla ice cream, or plain.
You can download the printable PDF recipe here: Caramel Walnut Apple Dumplings for Two
Easy Caramel Apple Dumpling Recipe
- 4 Apples (I typically use granny smith apples for these to add a tart taste. They also don't get too mushy when they are cooked like most red apples do, so the texture is better. However, I recently learned that yellow delicious apples also don't get mushy when cooked so I plan to try those in this recipe soon too!)
- 1 cup Water
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar (divided)
- ½ cup Butter
- ¼ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 4 teaspoons
- 1 can of Pillsbury Grands Flakey Biscuits, 8 count
- Caramel Sauce (either store bought or you can use my Caramel Sauce recipeHERE)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel the apples.
- Cut the apples in quarters and remove the seeds and stem.
- Separate each biscuit into 2 layers so that you have 16 biscuits total.
- Wrap a biscuit layer around each apple slice, overlapping and sealing at the bottom.
- Place all 16 wrapped dumplings into a greased 9" x 13" pan.
- In a small-medium sized saucepan, bring water, ¾ cup sugar, butter and vanilla to a boil over medium heat.
- Pour hot sugar mixture over dumplings. (It will look really soupy and runny.)
- Mix remaining ¼ cup sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle this mixture on top of the dumplings.
- Bake for approximately 25-35 minutes until the biscuits are cooked and golden brown.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream or however you prefer and of course, a big drizzle of caramel sauce!
These are truly delicious. My family loved them and I am definitely making these again and again this fall season!
How to Make It
Set aside four pecan halves chop remaining nuts. In a bowl, mix chopped nuts with 1/4 cup caramel sauce.
Peel apples core each, creating a 1-inch-wide hollow from top to bottom. Place apples in a bowl and coat with lemon juice.
On a lightly floured board, roll puff pastry into a 12-inch square. Cut into four equal squares and center an apple upright on each. Push nut mixture equally into apple hollows.
Brush egg mixture over a 1/2-inch-wide border around each pastry reserve remaining egg. To wrap each dumpling, with floured fingers bring two opposite pastry corners up over apple and pinch tips together. Repeat with remaining two corners. Firmly pinch all tips together pinch each seam, then fold over about 1/8 inch along the seam and pinch again, leaving no holes. Space dumplings evenly on a buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheet.
Bake in a 375° regular or convection oven for 20 minutes. Dip reserved pecan halves in egg mixture (save remaining egg for other uses or discard) press a nut half on top of each dumpling. Bake until pastry is deep golden, 10 to 15 minutes longer in a regular oven, about 5 minutes in a convection oven.
With a wide spatula, transfer dumplings to plates. Accompany with remaining caramel sauce and ice cream, if desired.
For the filling:
In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples to the pan and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, spices, and salt, and continue to cook the apples for about 5 to 8 minutes stirring occasionally until the apples are even browned and soft. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water, and add to the pan stirring. Allow the liquid to come to a boil for at least 30 seconds. Once the apples are soft and the sugar, cornstarch, and water have formed a syrup, remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
For the sauce:
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until a sauce thickens. Set aside.
For the dumplings:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the two piecrusts into a total of 8 pieces. Roll the each piece into a thin circle. Place a tablespoon or 2 of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Then fold the crust in half and seal with a fork, crimping the edges. Brush each dumpling with butter and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Spoon the sauce over top the dumplings and serve.