Friday, December 19, 2014

Apple Dumplings and Peanut Brittle for Christmas

Apples are always plentiful this time of year, and this is a favorite way to eat them. Apples differ in variety in that some are better suited to eating fresh, others for cooking and baking, cider, and others for preserving. My #1 favorite apple for pies and dumplings is a Macintosh. Excellent flavor, and it cooks/bakes up tender without being mushy or too crunchy. Winesaps come in for a close second.

If you are interested in learning about apples and the best for each purpose, there is a whole science behind it.

                                                                           Apple Dumplings


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1/3 cup cold water
8 medium tart apples, peeled and cored
8 teaspoons butter
9 teaspoons cinnamon-sugar, divided


1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, cubed

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Divide into eight portions. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350°. Roll each portion of dough between two lightly floured sheets of waxed paper into a 7-in. square. Place an apple on each square. Place 1 teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar in the center of each apple.

Gently bring up corners of pastry to each center; pinch edges to seal. If desired, cut out apple leaves and stems from dough scraps; attach to dumplings with water. Place in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar.

In a large saucepan, combine sauce ingredients. Bring just to a boil, stirring until blended. Pour over apples.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown, basting occasionally with sauce. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream a la mode, my favorite!

Another holiday favorite is peanut brittle and this is so easy, you'll wonder why you didn't make it before. All done in the microwave.

                                                                      Peanut Brittle


1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup salted peanuts
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda


Butter a cookie sheet. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a 2 quart glass bowl and microwave on high 4 minutes. Stir in peanuts and microwave on high 3 1/2 minutes more, then stir in butter and vanilla and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

Stir in baking soda until light and foamy. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread thin. Cool completely and break into pieces and serve.

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