Grandma’s Cookbook: Grandma’s Apple Dumplings Recipe

By Annie Reifsteck

As a young child, I loved watching my grandma in the kitchen. It seemed magical, felt safe and full of love, with lots of laughs, and oh those wonderful smells.

Wearing an apron over her housedress, dishtowel over one shoulder and a handkerchief in the apron pocket, she would move around the room like a well-rehearsed dance from the counter, to the table, to the refrigerator, then the stove, to the sink, repeating her steps for hours. Her skilled hands measured by memory with a pinch of this, about a cup of that, but whatever she made, it always turned out perfectly and tasted wonderful.

One of the first things Grandma taught me to bake was apple dumplings. It took a long time to master placing all the apples and spices on the dough, folding up the sides and “pinching” them to stay closed. Of course, my apple dumplings did not look anything like Grandma’s, but she made me believe they were flawless. “It doesn’t always matter what they look like, as long as they taste good,” Grandma would say. And, we always used the left over dough to make roly poly!

Take some time this season to enjoy fall’s favorite fruit, apples. Apple pie, apple cake, apple bread, apple doughnuts, applesauce, apple stuffed pork roast, apple chicken burgers, and of course apple dumplings. The possibilities are endless!

Grandma’s Apple Dumplings

Course: Dessert
Keyword: Apple, Dumpling, Fall


  • 4 tart apples medium
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups water

Baking Powder Biscuit Dough (or Favorite Pie Dough)

  • 2 cups cake or pastry four sifted
  • 4 tsp tartrate or phosphate baking powder (or combination type baking powder)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp shortening
  • ~ 2/3 cups milk


  • Sift the dry ingredients together, and cut the shortening into them, using two knives or a pastry blender until the mixture is the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Add enough of the milk, while stirring vigorously, to make a soft dough that can be easily rolled.
  • Prepare dough and roll to 1/8 inch thickness. Pare, core, halve the apples, and place each half on a square of dough large enough to wrap it in. Combine a ½ cup of the granulated sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle each apple half with the 1 tbsp. of the mixture. Dot each apple square with ¼ tsp. butter and to each add ¼ tsp. of the lemon juice. Fold the squares of dough up around each apple-half pinching the seams closed and place in a large shallow baking dish about 12 by 8 inches. Meanwhile cook together for 10 minutes the remaining granulated sugar, the remaining butter, the brown sugar, and the water. Pour over the dumplings, and bake in a moderate oven of 375°F for 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold with milk poured over apple dumpling or topped with vanilla ice cream.


What’s in your Grandma’s cookbook? Share your recipes with me at

Ageless Magazine for all Seasons | Fall 2020

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