It’s a cookout: My great grandma’s apple dumplings

By April Eberhardt The Black Lens

I used to watch my great grandmother make these individually wrapped baked apples nestled in a pocket of dough when I was a child. She would get requests to make these on holidays and special occasions. I never saw her write a single thing down, but she always knew the exact ingredient measurements. In 2012, I made a promise to learn how to make this family favorite. It required calls to Pennsylvania and Georgia. I realized simply watching her was an inheritance of the recipe, copying her techniques as I jogged my memory. This Mother’s Day, I will pay homage to my great-gram, Morine “Pecola” Holmes, by making her signature apple dumplings. This recipe submission is a shout out to our mothers, past and present, whose footprints we follow.


Baking apples (Granny Smith, Macintosh, Fuji)

All-purpose flour


Vegetable shortening

Cold water

Vanilla Extract

Cinnamon powder

Cinnamon Sticks


Brown sugar

Apple cider (optional)


1. Dough: Make the dough by mixing these things together in a large bowl. Add water last, after mixing the other ingredients:

½ cup vegetable shortening

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup cold water

2. Knead the dough into smooth, medium sized balls, place in Ziplock bags and refrigerate for an hour

3. Wash, peel and core apples

4. Mix cinnamon powder, brown and white sugar in a small bowl

5. Glaze: Put the peels, cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 6-8 ounces of water (or apple cider) and a 1 tablespoon of butter into a small pot or saucepan and put on low heat, watch and stir (this part is flexible for other spices such as nutmeg and you can add more of any of these ingredients according to your preference)

6. Take out balls of dough, on a baking mat, use a rolling pin to flatten each ball to make a circle large enough to wrap the apple

7. Place the cored apple in the center of the rolled dough

8. Take a teaspoon and put 1-2 scoops of the cinnamon, white and brown sugar mix, with a small slice of butter into the core if the apple (step #4) into the core of the apple. Be careful to watch the bottom of the apple so that the dough does not thin. If it thins, add a little dough to thicken that layer

9. Wrap the apple on each side (making it like a pocket) and pinch the top to close the pocket

10. Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray and place wrapped apples into the baking pan

11. Drizzle glaze from step #5 into the baking dish to create sauce at the bottom and some on top. Save a little for the end of the baking cycle

12. Place the dumplings in a preheated oven (375 degrees) and cook for 50-55 minutes, until brown and tender

13. Drizzle a little more glaze on top at the end of the baking cycle, let the dumplings rest and cool for 10 minutes

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