Apple Dumplings

September 17: National Apple Dumpling Day

When we lived in Illinois, we would visit the apple orchard at Kuipers Family Farm in Maple Park, and attend some of the fall events there. When we lived in San Antonio, Texas, we took fall road trips with our friends to Lost Maples in Vanderpool then stopped by Love Creek Orchards Cider Mill and Country Store in Medina for a snack. We enjoyed eating desserts at these places made with fall’s quintessential fruit—the apple.

We have several apple recipes on our blog, but here is an easy glazed dumpling dessert we made especially for National Apple Dumpling Day. Apple dumplings are like mini apple pies but when apples are encased in rich puff pastry and served warm à la mode with vanilla ice cream, they become a fancier fall treat!

Celebrate National Apple Dumpling Day, three National Apple Months (September, October and November) and the autumn season with apple dumplings.

Recipe

(Adapted from Food Network)

For the apple dumplings

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pecan chips
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 4 small apples (we used Granny Smith)
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons butter (divided into 4 pieces)
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water (for the egg wash), beaten

Directions

In a bowl, combine the sugar, raisins, pecan chips and ground cinnamon. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Mix till moistened.

Peel, core and slice the apples in half. Unfold the thawed puff pasty onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to about 12 inches square. Cut in quarters (6×6 inches). Place the apples on each square.

Spoon filling into the middle. Place butter pieces on top of the filling. Take the corners of the puff pastry square and fold towards the middle to seal the dumplings. Place them seal-side down on a lightly greased baking pan.

appledumplingssteps3

Brush with egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. The pastry should puff up more, turn golden brown and soften the apples inside. Transfer to a wire rack.

For the glaze

  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

In a small pan, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, water and butter. Simmer over medium low heat, stirring until the butter has melted and the liquid is slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Brush over the apple dumplings. Serve in individual dessert plates with vanilla ice cream (optional).

Notes

  • Search our blog for more apple recipes.

Apple Chicken Patties

Apple Chicken Patties

September: National Chicken Month

September-November: National Apple Months

Have a hearty breakfast (or snack) before going to school (or work) by cooking up some apple chicken patties. These tasty treats can be made the night before then heated up in the microwave for a quick bite before heading out for another busy day.

The combination of sweet apples and ground chicken are complemented with the herbs and spices for a doubly delicious dish for National Chicken and National Apple months.

Recipe

(Adapted from Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 1 large apple (sweet or tart)
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • cooking oil

Directions

Peel, core and finely dice the apple. Mix in a large bowl with the ground chicken. Mince the garlic and add to the ground chicken mixture.

Apple Chicken Patties

Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Add the dried herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary and marjoram) and mix well. Shape into 2-inch patties. Place on waxed or parchment paper on a flat tray. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to firm up the patty mixture.

Apple Chicken Patties

Heat a little oil in a non-stick skillet. Remove the patties from the refrigerator and fry on one side until brown. Add a little more oil, if necessary, flip and brown the other side, making sure the patties are cooked through. Transfer the patties on paper towels to absorb excess grease. Yield: Approximately one dozen.

Apple Chicken Patties

Notes

  • Lean ground meat makes the patties a little dry. Mixing ground chicken with a little ground pork may make them more moist.
  • Search our blog for more recipes containing apples and chicken in observance of National Apple and Chicken months.

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

September-November: National Apple Months

Apple pie is a popular apple dish to make during the National Apple Months from September to November. Instead of a sweet apple pie, try a savory one instead: apple cheddar bacon mini pies. They are like a small yet hearty quiche full of flavor from apples and applewood smoked bacon.

Islander brought this dish instead of a dessert to the culinary book club meeting at the local library this month, following the apple ingredient theme. Most members brought the typical, sweet apple dishes so they very much welcomed Islander’s contribution to balance out the buffet.

Try something different than the traditional apple pie and make a savory apple cheddar bacon mini pie during National Apple Months.

Recipe

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1 pound) applewood-smoked or regular bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced (equivalent to one cup)
  • ½ cup sweet or white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup Bisquick mix
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs

Directions

Cook the bacon (fry or bake), drain the grease, let cool and crumble into pieces. Peel and dice the apple.

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

Chop the onions. Place in a large bowl with the cheddar cheese. Chop the sage and add to the bowl. Sprinkle the salt and mix well.

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

In a separate bowl, stir the Bisquick mix with milk. Beat the eggs into the Bisquick mix until the batter is smooth. Mist a standard-size muffin pan with cooking spray.

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

Place a scant tablespoon of the batter into each of the 12-15 compartments. Divide the apple-cheddar-bacon mixture and scoop into each compartment (about ¼ cup or 4 tablespoons). Top with remaining batter. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for five minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Apple Cheddar Bacon Mini Pies

Notes

  • As a shortcut, use two packages (3 ounces each) of pre-cooked real bacon bits and pieces.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing apples as an ingredient.

Johnny Appleseed Cake

Johnny Appleseed Cake

March 11: Johnny Appleseed Day

In elementary school, we enjoyed “movie mornings” when we learned about legendary people of the American frontier like Johnny Appleseed. Formally known as John Chapman (September 26, 1774-March 18, 1845), he was an eccentrically-dressed man who was famous for planting apple trees and establishing orchards across the Midwest. While planting apple seeds, the New Church missionary was also planting seeds of his faith by living simply, touting the health benefits of his fruits, caring for animals and showing kindness wherever he traveled. Johnny Appleseed is also associated with this hymn:

“Oh, the Lord is good to me,

and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need,

the sun and the rain and the appleseed.

The Lord is good to me.

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen.”

There are many tales about Johnny Appleseed as there are variations of the Johnny Appleseed cake. Some recipes are made from scratch using fresh-diced apples, while others use shortcut ingredients like canned apple pie filling or jarred applesauce. We chose the easiest one because 1) a child can participate in making this delightful dessert during a teachable moment and 2) we had a coupon for “buy a cake mix and get a can of pie filling for free”.

Celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day and bake an easy Johnny Appleseed Cake.

Recipe

(Adapted from Mr. Food)

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (may use sugar-free)
  • 1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling (may use sugar-free)
  • 4 eggs (may use egg substitute)

Directions

Mist a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, apple pie filling and eggs. Mix until smooth.

Johnny Appleseed Cake

Pour the batter into the prepared ban. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Slice into squares and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon (optional) or enjoy plain with a cup of tea or coffee.

Johnny Appleseed Cake

Notes

A+ Apple Cookies

Apple Cookies

August: Back-to-School Season

Get an A+ for your efforts in making adorable apple cookies for a back-to-school snack. We baked and decorated apple cookies for a college crowd and they were a hit (of course, most students will eat anything that’s free)! The sugar cookie dough we use yields around four-dozen two-inch shaped apple cutouts so there are a lot to share for a class en masse. These apple cookies are crisp, cute and colorful and are a festive food to serve at back-to-school events and even during National Apple Week (second week of August).

Recipe

(Adapted from Kitchen Lane)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (all purpose white)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • red and green fondant
  • powdered sugar for dusting the surface
  • clear piping gel or water
  • chocolate brown frosting (for the apple stems)
  • white frosting (for “A+” lettering)

Directions

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture into the other ingredients and blend well to form a dough.

Apple Cookies

Divide dough in thirds and roll into a ball. Then flatten each ball into a disc and place between sheets of waxed or parchment paper. Roll out to about ¼-inch thick (we used ¼-inch thick acrylic sticks as guides). Stack them on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm (about 30-45 minutes). They may also be frozen for 15-20 minutes.

Apple Cookies

Take one stack of flattened dough out of the refrigerator or freezer. Peel away both front and back to loosen, leaving the dough on one sheet of the waxed or parchment paper. Cut out the apple shapes. Place on a foil-lined greased cookie pan about 1 ½ – 2 inches apart. Refrigerate the cookie pan. Re-roll scraps of dough and cut more shapes, refrigerating if the dough gets too soft. The dough needs to be cold and firm in order to retain its shape while baking. Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until the sides are very lightly browned. Remove from the oven when done and let sit on the pan for about five minutes. Transfer each cookie on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to decorate.

Apple Cookies

Using the same apple-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes on red fondant (roll out to 1/8-inch thickness on a clean surface that has been dusted with a bit of powdered sugar to prevent from sticking). Slice off the stem piece. Brush piping gel or water on the red fondant.

Apple Cookies

Position the red fondant on top of the apple cookie and smooth out the edges with warm fingers. Repeat for all cookies. Pipe chocolate brown frosting for the stem. Pipe “A+” on top of the apple cookies. Set aside to dry.

Apple Cookies

Make small leaves from the green fondant (we used a leaf-shaped plunger-cutter). Attach to the apple cookie with piping gel or water. Set aside to make sure all icing is dry before stacking. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve to starving students.

Apple Cookies

Notes

  • Personalize the apple cookies by piping students’ and teachers’ names or writing the name of the school on them.
  • We used fondant more than royal icing on these apple cookies because it was quicker to cut out shapes for mass production (besides, we have not mastered the “flooding” technique—yet).
  • Search our blog for other back-to-school snack recipes.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes with

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

August (Second Week): National Apple Week

It’s back to school time for students and teachers! We remember when the new academic year began after Labor Day in September, and now it’s earlier in August! Bake a back-to-school treat—apple nut and spice cupcakes–during National Apple Week, which coincides with preparations for going back to the classroom.

Apples are symbolic of education, perhaps because they were the fabled forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden.

Students stereotypically give an apple to their teachers as an appreciation gift. But (if allowed) why not give the whole class apple nut and spice cupcakes as a sweet start to a successful school year?

Recipe

(Adapted from Duncan Hines)

For the apple nut and spice cupcakes

  • 1 box spice cake mix (we used Duncan Hines brand)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can (20 ounces) apple pie filling (we used Lucky Leaf brand “lite”)
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the spice cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil. Blend until thick and moistened. Drain and chop the apples in the canned pie filling.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

Add the chopped apple pie filling and walnuts to the batter. Mix well. Scoop into muffin tins lined with red cupcake papers. Bake in a preheated oven a 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire racks before frosting and decorating. Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

For the cinnamon cream cheese frosting

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

  • 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1+ tablespoons water, milk or cinnamon schnapps
  • red food coloring
  • red sanding sugar
  • thin pretzel sticks (for the apple stem)
  • green tube frosting (for the apple leaf)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the ground cinnamon and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix until smooth. Thin with liquid, one tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired spreadable consistency.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

Tint with red food coloring and blend well. Frost the tops of the cooled apple nut and spice cupcakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set the frosting. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in red sanding sugar.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

Break pieces of the pretzel sticks and insert in the center of the cupcakes to make the apple stem. Use a small leaf tip and squeeze out green frosting from the tube to make the apple leaf. Return to the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Apple Nut and Spice Cupcakes

Notes

  • The U.S. Apple Association founded National Apple Week in 1904 but expanded the celebration into National Apple Months—September, October and November!
  • Search our blog for more apple recipes.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cakes

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

October: National Apple Month

After seeing some fall foliage at Lost Maples Natural State Park in Vanderpool, Texas, we decided to have lunch with our friends in nearby Medina—the Apple Capital of Texas. We stopped in a cute café and ate hamburgers with applewood smoked bacon. For dessert, we chose from an array of apple-flavored treats, such as pie, dumplings, bread, cobblers, cookies and even ice cream! The “Apple Store” (not to be confused with the one that sells Macintosh computers, iPads, iPods and iPhones) has souvenirs, gift items and other products from Love Creek Orchards, such as jellies, jams and sauces and butters. We also walked around the grounds to see a variety of dwarf apple trees.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Celebrate the season with a recipe that includes the quintessential fall fruit—apples. Make mini applesauce spice bundt cakes during National Apple Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Southern Food)

For the applesauce spice mini bundts

  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspooon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the applesauce with the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs. Add vanilla. Mix until smooth.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Gradually add this to the wet mixture and combine well. Fold in the raisins and walnuts.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Pour batter into a well-greased mini bundt pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven. Carefully invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool the cakes completely.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

For the caramel glaze

(Adapted from Southern Food)

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the pinch of salt. Stir in the brown sugar until cooked. Pour in the cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Keep stirring until thickened (about two minutes). Remove from heat and let cool for about an hour.

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Line a lipped pan with foil. Place a wire rack with the mini bundts on top. Drizzle the caramel glaze on the cakes and let flow to the sides. Decorate the tops with fall-themed candy sprinkles (optional).

Applesauce Spice Mini Bundt Cake

Notes

  • We used Wilton brand jumbo leaves mix sprinkles to decorate each mini bundts for the fall season.
  • Some sources state that National Apple Months are from September until November. National Apple Week is the second week of August.
  • Learn more about apples from the U.S. Apple Association website at http://www.usapple.org/.
  • Search our blog for more apple recipes.