The BEST Apple Dumplings you will ever sink our teeth into!
These Apple Dumplings are to live for with their buttery, flaky pastry wrapping tender apples all drizzled with silky caramel. They are warm and comforting with a secret center you will be swooning over! I’ve included how to make Apple Dumplings Ahead, How to Freeze and How to Reheat so you can make them all year long and for every occasion!
Apple Dumpling Recipe
Fall seems to be synonymous with glorious apples, pumpkin, squash and pie! But I particularly love creating everything apple because I feel like its deliciousness is applicable all year round – and you are going to want to enjoy these forkfuls of caramel, peanut butter, apple, pastry and ice cream – AKA the perfect apple dumplings – all year round!Apple dumplings might seem intimidating to make, but they are surprisingly simple and crazy delicious! All you do is wrap half of an apple with buttery homemade dough and bake!If you want the BEST Apple Dumplings, then you’ll also stuff them with my sweet peanut butter filling – think peanut butter pie filling – but in apples! I was kind of giddy when I thought of this combo – I love peanut butter and apples together and they taste the very best in this power marriage!Of course, you can skip the peanut butter filling if that’s not your thing but please don’t skip the Caramel Sauce! Buttery, creamy caramel sauce cascading down buttery, tender apple dumplings is not something to willingly skip. Top with some vanilla ice cream and you have the perfect bite at last!
Where did Apple Dumplings originate from?Before we sink our teeth into this Apple Dumpling recipe, where did they come from? How did we get to enjoy this yummy dessert?It is common belief that apple dumplings are a sweet version of meat pies. They came to America on the Mayflower with the European pilgrims. In their earliest versions, they were filled with meat, spices, and some vegetables.Fruit dumplings were most popular in United Kingdom and Central Europe. As time passed, the recipe for the dumpling evolved, It started to become a dessert. Some of the fruits they put inside them were plums, pears, and raisins – and as soon as apple trees came to America – apples dumplings!Have you ever thought of that – our country at one point didn’t even have apples- you can’t have apple dumplings without apples! In America, the first apple trees were planted around 1625 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter, the residents started making apple dumplings.Apple Dumplings were also very common among the Pennsylvanian Dutch colonies. They were a breakfast dish – my kind of breakfast! They were like a Pop Tart, in that they were a non-messy way to transport a meal. The crust also helped the dumpling to keep for several days. Those same qualities are why they had been around for hundreds of years in Europe: travel, ability to keep and the taste!
APPLE DUMPLING INGREDIENTSThere are four parts to this Apple Dumpling recipe: apples, filling, dough and sauce. Lets talk about each part and what you need for the flaky crust and best apples.
THE APPLESWhat Apples are best? I prefer Granny Smith Apples because their juicy tartness is the perfect compliment to the sweet filling and caramel sauce. That being said, you can choose any type of apple that is good for baking such as Honey Crisp, Jonathan, Gala, Braeburn, and Rome apples. Avoid mealy apples like Red Delicious. I have more information on apples below. No matter what part of the world you live in there are plenty of varieties to transform into a delicious and wonderful apple dumpling.When selecting apples, make sure they are firm and free of blemishes. There is a difference between tender apple dumplings and mushy apple dumplings!What is the best way to store apples? Although apples are best when they are picked fresh in autumn, apples that ship and store well are available year-round – which means you can make APPLE DUMPLINGS year round! Store apples in a dry, cool place. Apples keep best if the individual apples don’t touch – there is truth to that old wives tale! If possible, store apples by themselves in the fridge because their ethylene gas causes other fruits and vegetables to ripen and/or spoil faster.Apple Facts: Here are some fun facts about apples – because we love apples!
- A bushel of apples weighs approximately 42 -50 pounds which is enough to make 20 quarts of applesauce!
- Apples originated in Turkey, where the apples ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Today, apples are grown all over the world.
- China is the top producers of apples followed by the United States.
- There are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States.
- 100 of those varieties are grown commercially in the US which means you have plenty of good apples for baking these Apple Dumplings!
- My home state of California is the 5th largest producer of apples in the US specializing Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Crips Pink Ladies.
Apple Dumpling DOUGHHOMEMADE is the way to go for Apple Dumpling Dough! It is quick and easy made 100% in your food processor! It is flakier and fluffier than pie crust and while firm on the outside it melts right in your mouth. Here is what you’ll need:
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour but I’m sure gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour would also work. I have not experimented with whole wheat flour.
- Sugar: use granulated sugar for best results. Sugar tenderizes the dough and gives it a sweeter flavor so it doesn’t taste just like dinner roll dough.
- Baking Powder: leavens the dough just enough to give it slight airiness. Make sure your baking powder is fresh, within 6 months, so it works correctly.
- Salt: enhances the flavors.
- Chilled Butter: use unsalted butter so we can control the salt. It is essential that both the butter and shortening are chilled. We want to keep the fat cold until it enters the oven. According to Baking Illustrated, as the fat pellets melt during baking, steam is produced which creates pockets in the dough resulting in flaky layers – so we need our fat to not melt before the oven.
- Chilled Shortening: please don’t just use butter! Shortening + butter gives you the best of both flavor and texture.
- Chilled Half and Half: gives body to the dough. Please do not substitute with non-dairy.
- Egg whites: are brushed on the apple dumpling before going in the oven to promote that glorious golden, crispy shell.
Apple Dumpling FILLINGThe peanut butter filling in these apple apple dumplings is a creamy, nutty, sweet, glorious surprise – and it’s so easy! Simply mix smooth peanut butter with cinnamon and sugar and you’re ready to go!
Apple Dumpling Sauce
Caramel Sauce is my FAVORITE for Apple Dumplings! Caramel and apples belong together and they never tasted better than in apple dumpling form! If you haven’t tried my Easy Creamy Caramel Sauce, its devour-by-the-spoon worthy. My sister in-law gifts it every Christmas because it is so good!
But its even more amazing with bites of golden, fluffy pastry, warm, tender apple and creamy cinnamon peanut butter. Apples and peanut butter never tasted so heavenly!
How to Make Apple DumplingsStep 1: Make Dough by adding flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to food processor and pulsing until combined. Scatter COLD butter and COLD shortening over flour and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs. It’s okay if there are a few larger pieces scattered throughout. Alternatively, you can mix the dough by hand and cut in the in the butter and shortening with two forks or a pastry cutter. Transfer dough to a bowl and stir in half and half until dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly until dough comes together. If your dough isn’t coming together for whatever reason, you can add an additional teaspoon of half and half at a time (up to one tablespoon). ONLY do this if the dough is not coming together because extra liquid means less tender dough. Also, try and work the dough as little as possible or else you will gt crumbly dough instead of flaky dough.Press dough into a rough 10×5 rectangle and cut in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or until you are ready to use. Refrigerating the dough is important because it chills the butter and shortening once more to ensure the biscuits rise and don’t spread. It also makes the dough much easier to work with.
Step 2: Cut the apples in half and scoop out the core/seeds.
Step 5: Fold the ends up and over your apple.
Step 6: Crimp the edges closed, brush with egg whites and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Step 7: Bake for 20-25 minutes while you make your Easy Creamy Caramel Sauce.And out comes golden deliciousness just begging to be smothered in caramel.
In addition to caramel, you can also serve your Apple Dumplings with vanilla ice cream. Another match made in heaven.
How to Decorate Apple DumplingsThese easy Apple Dumplings are perfect in their cinnamon and sugar glory or you can get fancy – or at least it looks fancy – and decorate them by cutting out leaves and stems from any leftover dough and sticking them directly on the dumpling before it bakes.
Can YOU MAKE APPLE DUMPLINGS AHEAD OF TIME?Yes! You can either make the dough, tightly wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours or you can make the unbaked apple dumplings up to 48 hours ahead of time.To make Apple Dumplings ahead of time, place unbaked dumplings on parchment paper, cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let the apple dumplings come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking to ensure the inside is fully warmed when the outside is golden.
HOW LONG DO APPLE DUMPLINGS LAST IN THE FRIDGE?Apple Dumplings can be kept, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days, however, refrigerating apple dumplings can prolong their freshness. To refrigerate, store in an airtight container and refrigerate for 4-5 days.
CAN YOU FREEZE BAKED APPLE DUMPLINGS?
Yes! You can freeze Baked Apple Dumplings for two to four months. To freeze:
- Place the baked apple dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching.
- Place baking sheet in the freezer and flash freeze for 1-2 hours or until apple dumplings are solid. This allows the dumplings to be stored together without freezing together.
- Transfer frozen dumplings to an airtight container or freezer bag and squeeze out excess air.
How do you reheat Apple Dumplings?Baked Apple Dumplings reheat very well in all stages!
- Baked Apple Dumplings in Oven: Place baked apple dumplings on a rimmed baking sheet, loosely cover with foil (because the outside is already golden), and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Baked Apple Dumplings in Microwave: Place baked apple dumplings on a microwave safe plate and microwave until warmed, about 15-30 seconds.
- From Frozen Baked in Oven: Defrost the apple dumpling in the refrigerator. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, loosely cover with foil (because the outside is already golden), and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes.
- From Frozen Baked in the Microwave: defrost dumpling in the microwave on the defrost setting for 5 minutes or until thawed, then microwave at full power for 30 seconds or until heated though.
- From Frozen Unbaked in Oven: Place frozen dumplings on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake without thawing at 450 F, 15-20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 F for 20-30 minutes or until golden and warmed through.
Looking for More Apple Recipes?
- Mini Caramel Apple Pies
- Mini Dutch Apple Pancakes
- Candy Apple Cheesecake Bars
- Apple Syrup
- Caramel Apple Poke Cake
- Apple Salad with Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
- Cinnamon Apple Cookies
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