Advent: Dec. 19 Baking stories

Stew with dumplings on top

Stew with dumplings on top

Today I wish to tell you about the baking that I did on Saturday. Since I didn’t have to prepare a message for Sunday, I was free to do what I pleased in the afternoon, that is after I finally finished on the phone speaking with the funeral director and the son of the lady from our church who passed away on Friday. I must have been using up nervous energy because I went a bit overboard on what was accomplished.

It started earlier in the day when I decided to make some beef stew with carrots in it, dumplings on top and mashed potatoes on the side. It was really good because I browned the beef chunks then put them in the crock pot for the entire day. My crock pot is oval and has a small side part, so in order to fill that, I dug out a bag of frozen beans and let them heat up in that area. I was a little late in adding the carrots, so I couldn’t put the dumplings in when I wanted to, which left me with a little down time. I picked up the recipe for these baking powder dumplings in the Taste of Home Cookbook. Dilly Dumplings: Mix 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. This recipe also called for 1 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley, 1/4 teaspoon dill week and 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme, but I left those flavorings out. Combine: 1 beaten egg, 2/3 cup fat-free milk and 1 tablespoon canola oil. Stir together until all moistened, drop by spoon onto simmering stew. Keep cover closed until dumplings appears fully cooked. I loved having a clear lid to check on these dumplings, but would not use a crock pot to make them again, though really I just needed to cook them a bit longer.

Apple dumplings in the oven

Apple dumplings in the oven

Well as long as I had the extra time and wanted to empty a drawer of the fridge, I cored and peeled the apples from the crisper (the last of the apples from the tree on the south of the house.) We had picked up some heavy whipping cream on our last shopping trip, so why not whip up a batch of apple dumplings. I dug out the Taste of Home cookbook and got right on it. Mostly I needed the recipe for the pastry to wrap around the apples.

Completed

Completed! James took the corner one and all the extra carmel. Grrr!!

Pastry:  2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 of salt, 1 cup of shortening, mix until crumbly. Add the following after combined: 1 egg, 1/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons white vinegar. When it is all combined divide into (Recipe says 7 portions–I did six.) It also says to put an entire peeled and cored apple into the rolled out pastry. I cut up the apples and rolled out the pastry adding enough apple pieces to fit. With a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar over the apples before pinching the dough shut, it was all good. The issue is that 6 of them fit better into my pan than 7. I suppose you could do any number between 6 and 8 with this amount of pastry. Next I boiled 1 pint of heavy cream and added 1 cup of brown sugar to make the carmel topping. In the future I will make less of that since it ran all over the top and I have to replace the aluminum foil in the bottom of my oven. It also says to take another egg and beat it then do a wash over each of the dumplings before you stick it in the oven for 15 minutes. While this was going on, I did the carmel in the sauce pan then poured it over the apples and cooked them for another 30-35 minuets or until the apples were tender.

Burnt apple bars

Burnt apple bars

Later because I had more apples to use up, I made a batch of Arlene’s apple bars. I posted the recipe (Oct. 16, 2013) for them a while back. They should have a nice powdered sugar cream cheese glaze on them, but we decided that we would be happy to do without those extra calories. It would be good on this particular batch because they ended up a bit burned on top. I don’t remember what we were working on, maybe trying to clean up the kitchen and since I forgot to turn on the timer, I forgot the bars were in the oven. Never forget to put on a timer….

New drawer of pans.

Newly organized drawer of pans. To the left is my entire stack of bread pans.

Oh yes, I remember what we were doing. We were looking for the bread pans to fill with the zucchini bread batter that I mixed up. This will teach me to rearrange and forget that I did it. I was so upset, I even began to wonder if someone had come to borrow my pans without telling me, as if anyone would even think to do that let alone dare, or want to borrow my old stuff. We did eventually find them in the large drawer beside the refrigerator. It is all good and everything was baked, and the best part is that the kitchen was pleasantly warm on a very cold day outside.

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