In the last couple of posts I've written a bit about my mom. About her taking us trick or treating, her donuts, her apple pie... Apparently, my dad is feeling a little slighted by these posts. As one of my biggest fans, he reads each and every post that I type. Yesterday, when his name flashed on my caller ID and I picked up the phone, the first words I heard were: "I'll never take you trick or treating again!" Uh-oh. Yes, he was there too...but he usually stayed behind to receive trick or treaters while we were out (with my mom). I jokingly asked if he'd like for me to print a retraction on the donut post. Instead, today I will make him the hero of this post. And rightfully so, these apple dumplings were his mom's recipe. My Grandma Bailey. Oh how I miss this wonderful, sweet, little woman. She had the warmest smile with great big, beautiful dimples. I can still see her smiling...the way her eyes just shined. And she made the best apple dumplings...one of my very most favorite desserts when I was little. Check em' out.
A little over a week ago, I called home and asked if anyone knew where to find grandma's recipe. My dad promised that he'd track it down and get it to me the next day. Two days later I was still waiting so I called to harass him for it. He promised that I'd have it by Monday. He had some excuse about it being in an old laptop that he didn't use anymore and he'd have to find it (the laptop, that is). Monday arrived and still no sign of the recipe. I called and he answered, but pretended that I'd gotten his voicemail, "Hello, this is Gary, father to Krista...if you're calling for recipes please press 1 or hang up and try again later. BEEEP!" or something to that effect. Then he told me that he'd found the laptop and the recipe and was sending it right away. I never got it. I called him again the next morning. He swore that he'd sent it. "What? You never got it?! I sent it. Twice!" Sure, Dad. The recipe was in some sort of Betty Crocker program in his old computer that allowed the sender to email directly from the archives...only it didn't work. He thought that it had sent, but it hadn't. "I'll just copy it down and scan it," he promised. I didn't hold my breath. But a few minutes later, I had a new message from "Dad" in my inbox. Here is what I received in the form of an email attachment:
Vague, isn't it? Which ingredients go for the dough and which for the sauce? I called him again to let him know that I'd gotten the recipe and to tease him that he'd left out the rest of the instructions. He says that this is the way my grandma wrote the recipe down for him and that's exactly how it was entered into my parent's recipe database. Luckily, I have made these before. It's probably been 15 years, but I have made them and I know the basics of putting apple dumplings together.
That afternoon, one of my sisters called as I was rolling out the dough. I told her that I was in the middle of making grandma's apple dumplings. "What?! You have the recipe?" she asked. "Of course," I answered in my authoritative big sister voice, "Don't you?" (Gotta love the opportunity to "mess" with your little sister) She told me that she had tried to track down the recipe a year ago and no one seemed to know where it was. I just laughed and explained that it only took a week and a half of harassing phone calls to get it. Persistence. When I was finished telling of my quest for grandma's dumpling recipe she said, "You'll have to send it to me." To which I replied, "It'll be on my blog." Do you know what she said? "Oh, I don't read that. I don't have time." Dude! You're not supposed to tell me that you don't read my blog. Just pretend that you're interested. Geesh! I'm still laughing about it. In her defense, she is a very busy 3rd grade teacher and mommy to two rambunctious little boys aged 2 and 4. Still, I haven't called her with the recipe...Hahaha.(That's my evil big sister laugh.)
Bet you're reading now, Karla.
Here it is:
You begin by stirring the flour and baking powder together. Then cut in 2/3 cup of shortening. By shortening, I mean Crisco.
Now stir in some milk.
I knead my dough a few times in the bowl, just until it forms a ball. Too much kneading and you'll have a tough crust. You want it nice and tender.
Before rolling out the dough, let's make the sauce. Combine water, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a stick of butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Now roll out the dumplings. I used a tip from my husband's grandma and rolled out the dough between sheets of waxed paper. I floured the bottom sheet to keep the dough from sticking. I think I ended up rolling this to 1/4" thickness.
Cut the dough into 6 squares.
Peel a baking apple. Each dumpling can accommodate about half of an apple. I cut each half into 3-5 pieces and arrange them in the center of the square of dough. My grandma used to place a whole half of an apple in the center, seeds cut out, skin still on. Baked apple skin isn't my cup of tea, so I peeled mine.
Sprinkle the apples with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I used about 1/2 tablespoon of the sugar mixture per dumpling. Dot with butter.
To wrap them up, lightly brush all four edges with water, then fold each corner up to the center.
Pinch the edges together to seal.
Transfer the dumplings to a rectangular baking dish.
I had some extra dough left over, so I used a small, heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut a topper for each dumpling. A little leaf or apple shape would be pretty here too!
Pour the sauce into the pan of dumplings.
All ready for the oven!
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. They turn a gorgeous golden brown color.
Look how sweet! They reminded me of a Valentine or love note sealed with a heart shaped sticker. Made with love...
Don't forget the ice cream! Or eat em' like my dad and I do, topped with some cold milk or fresh cream. Mmmm. Just typing this makes me want to walk into the kitchen right now and scoop up that last one. Thank goodness for self control...I'll wait until midnight.
Grandma Bailey's Apple Dumplings adapted by me
For the dumplings:
2-1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cups Crisco
1/2 cup milk
Stir together flour and baking powder. Cut in Crisco. Stir in milk to form a soft dough and knead 2-3 times in the bowl until everything sticks together. Roll out to 1/4" thickness on a floured surface. Cut into 6 squares.
3-4 baking apples, peeled and cored
3-4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons butter for dotting
Cut apples into large pieces and arrange in the center of each dough square. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Dot with butter. Lightly brush a small amount of water on the edges of the dough. Fold the corners up to the center. Pinch to seal. Transfer to a rectangular baking dish.
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Bring the ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into the dumpling filled baking dish. Bake dumplings at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Thank you, Dad for taking the time to find and send grandma's recipe! I'm glad I finally have this heirloom recipe in my possession.