Apple Dumplings

Have you ever had an apple dumpling? In case you haven’t, it’s a more miniaturized version of an apple pie with sweet delicious apples bedazzled with cinnamon and sugar wrapped in pie crust, baked to perfection and topped with a seductively sweet sauce, usually caramel. It’s incredible. Once upon a time, the Cheesecake Factory had apple dumplings on their menu. Just about every Saturday evening, I would go there and order those apple dumplings.

When I close my eyes, I can still remember how they tasted! They were amazing! The apples were an impeccable texture and flavor, surrounded by a sweet and buttery crust. And the caramel sauce on top! OMG! That was the pièce de résistance!

Unfortunately for me though, one day when I went in for my usual apple dumpling order, the server informed me that the Cheesecake Factory had discontinued this item. It was gone. FOREVER! I felt like I’d been punched in the throat. I grieved for the loss of my apple dumplings. Then I decided to find a way to make them myself.

Of course, it was no easy feat. When I first made this recipe I simply wrapped the apples in the pie dough. That was a dumb move. The apples didn’t taste sweet at all. And they shrunk underneath the dough too. As a result, the pie shell turned into a hard, crumbly mess. Total fail.

So I tried again. On my next attempt, I poached the apples which I discovered is EXACTLY what makes them taste so phenomenal. They soak up the flavors of cinnamon and sugar and gives them a delightfully tender texture. Wrapped with rich butter in the pie dough, once I pulled these out of my oven I knew I had them just right. Just like the apple dumplings from my Cheesecake Factory dreams, these ones were every bit a taste of heaven!

It starts with good apples and ends with even better apples for a dessert that everyone will love. Sure, apple pie is wonderful but apple dumplings? These are truly the best way to eat your apples. Here’s what you need and how to make these divine apple dumplings!

Apple Dumplings 

Almond Pie Dough
The pie dough should be made an hour to a day before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. 

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 sticks butter (cold cut into small cubes)
1/4 cup cold water 

Directions

  1. In a food processor pulse flour, almond flour, salt and sugar (or whisk these ingredients in a bowl).
  2. Add butter and pulse until it resembles a course meal (you can use a pastry blender to quickly cut the flour and butter mixture).
  3. Drizzle 1/4 cup of cold water over the mixture. Pulse or mix with a fork until the mixture begins to stay together.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate dough until firm.

The Next day began making the apple dumplings. 

Take the pie dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit for about 20 minutes so it’s easier to work with. 

Meanwhile Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

While you poach the apples you can make the candied pecans. 

Candied Pecans

Ingredients
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter cut in cubes 

Place chopped pecans, brown sugar and butter, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. 
 

Poached Apples

Ingredients
6 firm base ball sized apples, peeled and cored (I used empire apples)
1 cup of sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 quarts of water
1 tbsp Juice lemon juice
1 whole nutmeg
3 allspice berries

Directions

  1. In a 1 gallon pot place the apples that have been peeled and cored along with sugar, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice, nutmeg, and allspice berries. Cover with about 2 quarts of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon from the poaching water when they are soft enough to pierce with a fork. Reserve 1/3 cup of water for the brown sugar sauce for the apples.
  2. Place apples in the refrigerator for 20 minutes until they are cool enough to handle.

    Putting it all together.
    1. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.
    2. Spray cooking spray in a rectangular baking pan.
    3. Using a food scale weigh 3 oz pieces of pie dough.
    4. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick.
    5. Wrap apple in the pie dough. Cut off the excess pie dough. Place apple in the prepared pan with the seam on the bottom of the apple.
    6. Repeat with the remaining apples.
    7. When placing apples in the pan try not to let the apples tough one another.
    8. Once all of the apples are in the pan use a knife to poke a small hole in the center of each apple.
    9. Bake apple dumplings in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the pie dough is a nice golden brown.

While apples are in the oven make the brown sugar sauce.  

Brown Sugar Sauce

Ingredients
1 1/2 stick butter
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup water  (reserved from poached apples)
 

In a medium sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the brown sugar and honey until the sugar dissolves. Add heavy cream and water and cook until the mixture comes to a boil.  Let cool slightly and pour over the apple dumplings.  While the mixture is cooking it will appear to be very loose.  The mixture will thicken as it cools. 

Once the apples come out of the oven pour the brown sugar sauce all over the apples and sprinkle with candied pecans. 

This recipe was also made with gluten free flour. I like to use
https://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/gluten-free-measure-for-measure-flour-1-lb


Vanilla Pear Apple Sangria

Every year, my family has a party for Christmas Eve. My mom always makes her famous sangria. We love it but this year I said maybe we need to switch it up. Honestly, I wasn’t trying to be a Grinch, but as wonderful as her sangria is, she makes it for EVERY party all year long. Sometimes people even ask her to bring it for their parties. So we get a little sangria-ed out. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of red wine. So I dared to be different and decided to make a white sangria. I thought of some winter fruit to add and decided to build the flavors around that. Pear is such a perfect flavor for this time of year so I decided that would be my spirit-spirit (haha, get it?).

Unfortunately for me, when I got to the liquor store to buy Arbor Mist Pear, they were all sold out of it. The salesperson at the liquor store directed me to a wine called The Legend of Big Bill which was a blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Grenache Blanc and had aromas of pear, peach and guava. He also mentioned that if I was looking for a great pear flavor I might like to try a vanilla pear cognac called Xante. (I made this recipe with the Pear Arbor Mist and an unflavored Cognac and it was just as good, especially when the vanilla had time to infuse in the simple syrup for a long period of time.) 

I stood there for a bit trying to decide whether or not to get the cognac. I mean, the thought of vanilla cognac just sounds delicious, right? Right! So I decided why not get it. It’s the holidays after all and we should totally live it up and enjoy the holiday spirit.

At home, I worried aloud to my husband about the vanilla flavor and how strong it was. Would it overpower the sangria? I figured I’d give it a shot, literally.

I tasted both the wine and the cognac. The cognac was incredibly delightful. It was just the right strength and I felt that the vanilla flavor deserved to be acknowledged a little bit more. I concocted a simple syrup with vanilla and cinnamon to add to the sangria in order to to bring out the vanilla flavor of the cognac.  Then, I used pear nectar to bring out the pear flavors in the wine.  When making drinks that contain alcohol, I like to make ice that mimics the flavors in the drink, instead of making ice with water so the drink doesn’t water down and lose flavor. This sangria had a nice crisp taste that was very smooth and refreshing.

All of the flavors truly paired well together, or pear-ed well, should I say? While Mom’s sangria will always be the star of other parties, I think this Vanilla Pear Apple Sangria will be our new Christmas Eve star for sure!   

Vanilla Pear Apple Sangria

Makes about 1/2 Gallon

Ingredients
1 750 ml bottle of white wine (preferably something with a hint of pear)
1/2 cup of pear nectar
1 1/2 cups of sparkling apple cider
1/4 cup of cognac
1/2 cup simple syrup

Mix all of the ingredients together. Give it a stir and serve 

Apple Cider Ice
1/2 pear
1/2 apple
About 1 cup Apple Cider

Dice apple & pear and place a little of each into each segment of an ice cube tray.  Pour Apple Cider in the ice cube tray over the apple and pear. 

Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean   
1 cinnamon sticks

Mix sugar and water.
Split the vanilla bean down the middle, and scrape the seeds.  Add the vanilla bean and the seeds, along with 1 cinnamon stick to the pot. 

Let boil for 5 minutes
Infuse the vanilla and cinnamon in the simple syrup up to an hour for a stronger vanilla and cinnamon flavor
** If the simple syrup is made the day before the flavors blend together and has a more powerful taste. 


Cinna Maple Glazed Chicken and Waffles

Sometimes breakfast can become repetitive…dare I say boring? Not anymore. The sheer versatility of the delicately sweet and aromatic waffle will give you so many options throughout the year for including seasonal fruits, yoghurt and even savory food matches. I would say waffles are my favorite “go to” breakfast. Both to make myself at home and to buy when I’m out . 90% of the time after church on a Sunday, I’ll go out for breakfast and buy myself a delightful waffle.

To be honest I rarely made waffles until I stumbled across a recipe that gave me true inspiration! That’s what I’m hoping to pass onto all of you. Please join me in my waffle revolution and add some excitement into your breakfast! The recipe that I’ve found so valuable is from ‘FineCooking.com’ and it’s about ‘How to Make Light and Crisp Waffles’. http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to/light-crisp-waffles.aspx

The article recommended corn starch, so I figured I would try corn starch in my own recipe. OMG! I couldn’t get enough of those waffles. Neither could anyone who tasted what I’d made. I went for a daring sweet and savory mix; using chicken. The tender mouth-watering chicken and sweet yet understated delicacy of the freshly made waffles combined together, was simply out of this world.

I made a brown sugar and buttermilk marinade to allow the delightfully savory chicken to compliment the sweetness of the waffles. The textures and flavor combinations created something very special indeed. An awesome taste experience! The maple with a little dusting of cinnamon really brought out the flavor of the chicken and made the taste incredible!

Cinna Maple Glazed Chicken and Waffles

Makes 4 Waffles

Ingredients
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
6 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs separated
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Sift flours, baking powder, corn starch, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a second bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs have lightened to a pale yellow.
  4. Add vanilla extract, melted butter, milk and butter milk to the egg mixture.
  5. Combine the milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until everything is blended but don’t over mix.
  6. Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites in a third bowl until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
  7. Fold the egg whites into the waffle batter using a rubber spatula. Do not over mix.
  8. Spray the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and pour about a ladle full of batter into the waffle iron. Close and cook the waffle per manufacturer’s instructions until golden brown. (I like to use a 2oz scoop to makes my waffles, I use a scoop and a half per waffle)

    https://www.webstaurantstore.com/vollrath-47143-jacobs-pride-2-oz-dark-blue-16-disher/92247143.html

Cinna Maple Glazed Chicken

Ingredients
1 1/2 lb chicken tenders cut in half
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 tsp granulated onion
1 tsp cinnamon

Cinnamon Sprinkle
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Maple Sauce
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter

Directions

  1. Mix buttermilk, brown sugar and salt together and let the chicken soak in that mixture for 2 hours up to over night.
  2. Mix flour, granulated onion and cinnamon.
  3. Mix seasonings together for the cinnamon sprinkle.
  4. Using a deep frying thermometer heat oil to 375 degrees
  5. Pull the chicken tenders out of the buttermilk and coat well one at a time in the seasoned flour.
  6. Shake off excess flour and place the chicken into the hot oil.
  7. Cook until golden brown, or until an instant read thermometer reaches 160 degrees. When pierced with a fork the chicken juices should run clear.
  8. As the chicken comes out of the hot oil, sprinkle it with some of the cinnamon sprinkle.
  9. Serve with the Maple Sauce.