Aunt Edna’s Apple Dumplings

and, confessions of a new mother.

apple dumpling ingredients

This past weekend I baked Aunt Edna’s Apple Dumplings in memory of her and my mother.  I miss them both very much.  Aunt Edna was my second mother and took care of me from infancy through my elementary school years.   This story is about apple dumplings and my mothers.


Aunt Edna, Cousins Connie, Lee, Howard and me (1955)

I recently found a birthday booklet titled “1951 Pages of Time” that my mother gave to me 20 years ago.   It shows prices of things in 1951, such as

loaf of bread….@  .16

gallon of gas..…@  .19

gallon of milk…@  .92

In this birthday booklet are pages for your personal memories from 1951.  Here are my mother’s memories-more like confessions of a new frightened mother.

“We were married 4 years, 1 month and 17 days before you arrived.  Your Dad was away deer hunting but he came to the hospital later that day.  Aunt Edna and son Billy drove me to the hospital.  My Mother thought I would die having you, if you were big boned and had a big head like your Dad.

I started back to work at the Court House when you were 13 months old.  You had the best baby sitter ever, Aunt Edna.  I remember the first night home from the hospital.  I had nursed you and you kept on screaming.  I started crying.  Aunt Edna put you on a pillow on her lap.  I went to sleep and so did you.  Only one time can I recall having to come home from work to be with you.  You were teething and had a high temperature.  Aunt Edna loved you as much as we did.

Your Dad was so proud of you.  All the men at Pepco thought you were a doll.  We bundled you up for 12 years and he was the one who watched over you during those trips to Aunt Edna’s.  You were with him so much in your early age.

It was during your first year that I gave you too much aspirin and you turned blue and ice cold.  I had you next to the old coal stove and rubbed you to warm you up.  You probably wouldn’t have survived without Aunt Edna.  I was so dumb and inexperienced.

You got your third Mom when you started Jr. High School, Bonnie S.  She was good to you and loved you like one of her daughters.

You’ve been a lucky girl and loved by everyone who has had the pleasure to meet you.  Keep being your sweet self with your loveable personality.  I love you lots.   Mom   11/23/93”

Apple dumplings ready for cinnamon caramel sauce

Ok, you ask…what does this have to do with apple dumplings?   A lot!  It has to do with Aunt Edna.  Aunt Edna saved my life.  Aunt Edna made luscious apple dumplings.  Aunt Edna was my second mother.  Aunt Edna planted the seed which has bloomed into a passion for cooking.  I remember those large pans full of gooey sweet syrup bubbling around the apple bundles when she pulled them from the oven.  They were so brown and beautifully wrapped in their individual dough coats.  They were baked with love and shared happily by the family.  Aunt Edna was sweet and I loved holding onto her apron.

apple dumpling prep

I got to help her make the apple dumplings by spooning the cinnamon sugar mixture into the middle of the whole apple and topping it with a dab of butter before she would wrap it up in pie pastry dough.  Those are special memories to me.   I was Aunt Edna’s helper and a regular pest to my cousins that  hung around the old homestead.

Apple dumplings ready for oven

Those childhood experiences help form us in our early years.   Of course, we don’t realize that at the time, but as I age I recognize it and appreciate it.

apple dumplings baking in oven

Here is Aunt Edna’s recipe as my Mom wrote it on a recipe card.  Feel free to make your own favorite pie pastry or use a box mix.   The secret flavor spark is in the sauce that gets caramelized as the dumplings bake.

Aunt Edna’s Apple Dumplings

1 box Betty Crocker Pie Dough, makes 8 dumplings.  Divide dough into 8 small balls, then roll out.

Wash, core and peel apples.  Place in cold salt water.  Leave whole.

Sauce:  1 cup sugar to 2 cups water, plus chunk of butter.

Heat but don’t let boil.

Mix more sugar and cinnamon in bowl and fill center hole of apple, then place small slice of butter on top.

Wrap dough around apple and place in buttered pan.  Spoon sauce over each and about ½ inch in pan.

Bake at 450° for 10 minutes, then 375° for 30 minutes or until brown and apples are soft.

Can be frozen after cool.

Served with vanilla ice cream, these apple dumplings are just down home good!

Aunt Edna's Apple Dumplings ready to serve

I respectfully offer to you Aunt Edna’s  apple dumplings.

Thank you, Susan

9 thoughts on “Aunt Edna’s Apple Dumplings

  1. SUSAN>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>This is the most awesome post.. You write so well..make the complete story come alive and I so hear Mary’s voice…Bless you for this lovely story and bless you for the happy husband I have as a result of your delivery…He ran out to buy real whipped cream.. and that says it all…..
    Have you ever thought of being the next Norah Ephron?????? I think you could do it..

    Thank you for this luscious and accomplished message..

  2. Thank you Susan! Seeing your Facebook post, my taste buds were certainly ready to make short work of the pan of dumplings! What type of apple did Aunt Edna prefer? What do you use now? I’d love to make the “real McCoy” at least the first time! Thanks so much, for the story and the recipe!

  3. Susan, Please don’t ever stop these blogs……….they are such a day brightener! I filled with tears as you spoke of how you liked to hang on Aunt Edna’s apron!!!! Exactly the same for me with my Nannie. I can see the calico apron hanging on the hook under the shelf where the big glass mayonnaise jar was kept full of those donuts that noone can replicate to this day….even my blessed mother, who made wonderful donuts but still not quite the same. I had the same kind of up-bringing, it seems, that you did Susan. Weren’t we lucky. So many today, don’t even know what an apron is, never mind had a Nannie or an Aunt that wore one that you loved to hang onto!!!! Karen


  4. Dear Susan, I will be very mindful to make sure I am (from now on) current with your fabulous blog….I hadn’t visited for a while when I found your Aunt Edna story and the incredible apple dumpling recipe. The kitchen isn’t my favorite room in the house but I made the dumplings Monday night and we licked the Pyrex glass after we ate the dumplings….delicious!!! The story of Aunt Edna made the dessert even sweeter…lovely blog..thank you, Patty, your sister-in-law.

    • Hi Patty – thank you for the very kind words and I’m so happy to hear from you. With recipes from Aunt Edna and Aunt Myrtle, you can’t go wrong. When you ever get the urge to bake a cake, try Aunt Myrtle’s Coconut Cake – not complicated at all! Love you and miss you! Susan

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