(Becky, the Mama.)
What is it about being snowed in that turns even makes even the most anti-cooking folks fire up the oven and don an apron? Here’s a recipe that is not only easy to make, and scrumptious, but will make your house smell like Pure Love.
I know, I know… the last recipe I posted was an apple dessert, too. But as you read in that post, I had somehow purchased THREE huge bags of apples and so, forgive me, but since I am still up to my ears in apples…. here’s another fabulous apple recipe I created that used up the last of my surplus. You’ll take one bite and think, “Oh. My. Goodness. This tastes like my grandmother’s home-made apple dumplings.” (And if you didn’t have an Apple Dumpling-Baking-Granny, the Apple Dumplings at Cracker Barrel are a pretty close second.)
A few decades ago, my mother went through a spell of baking Apple Dumplings from a recipe in the red and white checked Better & Homes and Gardens Cookbook. They were delicious! People raved about them and begged for more. But they were also a LOT of trouble. For my taste they were also a little too sweet and there was too much pastry-to-apples ratio.
This recipe is ridiculously fast and easy and creates a just-right-sweet “cobbler” of apples that make their own “dumplin’ syrup” and is topped with just one flaky pastry crust (thank you Pillsbury for making this part simple, too). Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and you’ll be in Apple Dumplin’ Gang Heaven.
One hint: the only time-consuming part of this dish is peeling and chopping apples. To make this effort go faster, conscript every able-bodied adult and child over 8 years-old to come in the kitchen and peel at least 2 apples each, while you do the chopping. Promise them they will be sweetly rewarded for their labor.
Finally, a little bit of fun news from “First Magazine for Women” (you will often see this at grocery check-out counters). Last week the editor of the magazine gave a lovely review for our book, Nourished. Here’s a picture of the article:
As long as you are huddled up inside eating dumplings this week you might as well buy a copy of our funny, uplifting, practical book to cozy up and read as well. 🙂 And our heart-felt thanks to those of you who have already read the book and perhaps posted a review on your blog or on Amazon or sent us a note or email. We are soooo thankful for your encouragement! Be sure to join us on our Facebook Fan Page, too, at We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook.
Apple Dumpling Cobbler
6 to 8 peeled, chopped apples (about teaspoon size pieces) to make about 6 cups total
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 small to medium fresh lemon
1/2 t. salt
1 T. flour
2 T. butter
Sugar and Cinnamon to sprinkle on top (about 1 T. sugar and 1 t. cinnamon, but just eyeball it to your liking)
Turn oven to 350 degrees
In a large mixing bowl put apples, brown and white sugars, flour, spices and salt. Mix thoroughly. Butter a 9 by 11 casserole pan and pour the apple mixture into it. Squeeze a fresh lemon over the top of the apples and then dot with butter. Place one Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust on top of the apples, tearing it and patching it (pinch pieces together) to create a rustic, “quilted-together” pastry crust as shown below. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Note that you just kind of loosely fold the edges and tuck them around the apples. I also cut a heart shape in the middle, though as you can see, I am not a pastry artist. No worries about it looking messy, it will come out delicious and beautiful.
Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden and flaky and apples pierce easily with a fork and the juices are golden brown and syrupy. Serve warm, using a big spoon to place in bowls, and top with ice cream.
This week marked our wedding anniversary. I asked my six-year-old grandson George if he’d like to help me make an “Anniversary Pie” for his Poppy.
“Is it your secret recipe?” he asked. (He saw a cooking show where some chef talked about a secret recipe and has been curious about any “secret recipes” I might have lurking in my brain.)
“Yes!” I said. “It will be OUR secret recipe because I’m making it up right now, with you.”
“How long have you and Poppy been married?” Georgie asked.
“For nine years now!”
“And you and Poppy never fight and you never died! You did good!”
Indeed, that might be the hallmark of a great marriage: you don’t fight and you don’t die. In fact, in a great marriage, you thrive, you blossom, you grow.
Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook Status about Greg, my husband, the Love of My Life:
“Nine years ago today, I married Greg Johnson, and each day of those nine years have been the happiest and most peaceful, fulfilling and giving, romantic and stable of my entire life. When you live with someone whose eyes always mirror love, delight, acceptance… when you know you are cherished every moment of every day, it changes you into the best possible version of yourself. And you have so much more to give to the world, because your brain is no longer working so hard to simply try to survive or make sense of your life. Being well loved expands your capacity to love and be more present to others. I love and adore you, Mr. Johnson for who you are and who you have helped me become when I am with you. Who knew marriage could really be like this, ‘after all these years’?
A wonderful marriage is definitely worth celebrating. One of my husband’s favorite treats is mint chocolate chip ice cream. One of my favorite treats is warm chocolate sauce. This ice cream pie, like us, is the perfect marriage of both.
Now that I’ve shared our secret to a happy marriage (choose to cherish each other daily), I’ll go ahead share my “secret recipe” (shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone) for this absolutely mouth-watering, silly-easy, pie. It’s wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer day, and you’ll spend just a few minutes in the kitchen putting it together.
Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Pie with Warm Fudge Sauce
One pre-made chocolate graham cracker or chocolate cookie pie shell
1 quart of your favorite chocolate chip ice cream (I’m from Texas and partial to Blue Bell “the best ice cream in the country”)
One recipe chocolate sauce (below)
About 10 Andes Mint Candies
1 c. half n’ half
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ t. vanilla
Let ice cream soften just enough so that you can scoop and pack it into pre-made chocolate pie shell. Decorate the top of the ice cream pie with Andes Chocolate Mints, by cutting them at a diagonal and placing around the pie in a pretty design.
Cover with plastic wrap and let harden in freezer.
Simmer half n’ half in a small saucepan, add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is melted and well mixed. Add vanilla and salt. Remove from stove and let cool until warm but not piping hot. (Leftover sauce will keep in fridge for a week or more. Just microwave a few seconds to reheat and liquefy.)
Cut and serve the ice cream pie, drizzling some of the warm sauce over the top and serve immediately.