Tag Archives: Family Recipes

Grandma Ibby’s Chocolate Oaties

If you have read my blog for a while, you may have heard of Grandma Ibby. I have been cooking and baking my way through her treasure box of recipes over the past year and have shared many of these special recipes with you along the way.

I’m thinking we are a bit overdue for a Grandma Ibby post so today I am going to share her fantastic Chocolate Oaties with you.

Translation: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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What makes these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies special is that they are both thin and crispy and chewy and tender all at the same time.

They feel very old fashioned and I love that. I also remember eating them a lot as a kid and of course, I love that too!

Grandma Ibby’s Chocolate Oaties

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Cups Oatmeal – I’ve used instant and it works fine
  • 1/2 Cup nutmeats, optional – I don’t add the nuts – picky no-nut people around here.
  • 12 oz. chocolate chips – I use semi-sweet but milk chocolate or butterscotch would be great.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together with a mixer until light and well combined; about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each well. Add the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Gently mix in by hand the oatmeal, nutmeats and chocolate chips until just combined.

Use a cookie scoop or teaspoons to drop dough on a cookie sheet that is greased or lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

Bake for about 10 minutes.

These are thin and delicate cookies so let them cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet to allow them to set up a bit. Then finish cooling on a wire rack.

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The thin, chewy nature and crisp texture of these cookies also make them perfect for ice cream sandwiches.

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A scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream and a few chocolate sprinkles and you have a very special, very old fashioned treat!

Yes, you can have an ice cream sandwich in October. Especially in Arizona!

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I hope you’ll give them a try and as always, Enjoy!

 

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I Take Thee Banana Bread

Finally, the Banana Bread Post.

This another of my grandmother Ibby’s wonderful recipes and I absolutely love it. It feels very old fashioned to me and it always comes out perfect.

My grandmother did a lot of catering in the 1960’s and 70’s for the women’s circle at her Presbyterian church, the Whitworth College Music Department (Spokane, WA) and numerous weddings and showers and dinner parties for regular clients. She used this banana bread recipe often, making lovely little tea sandwiches with an orange cream cheese spread.

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This is my grandma Ibby with my mom and my stepdad at their wedding, which my grandma catered.

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There are the banana bread tea sandwiches with the dark crusts on the platter upper right. They made an appearance at a lot of weddings and bridal showers. This picture is from my mom and stepdad’s wedding reception. I take thee banana bread. Get it? Remember, I have a cold. My intellectual capacity is diminished.

Incidentally, my mom and stepdad were brought together by me. I found him. My sister owes her existence to me. She’ll read this so I just wanted to remind her.

He was the Mountain Manager at the ski area my mom worked at and would always say hi and stop to chat a moment with me when I was outside playing at the condominiums we all lived in. I took a shine to him; he was quite a catch. He was a widower 18 years older than my mom and I got three pretty great step-brothers in the deal. And my little sister of course but she came later. My dad passed away in 1995 and I miss him so much but I am so very thankful for all the years I got to spend with him.

My parents would have celebrated their 40th Anniversary this June.

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Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

Recently, I made my grandma’s banana bread tea sandwiches, just as she always did.

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The china, linens and pink depression glass came from my other incredible grandmother, Eileen. The one who let me eat Froot Loops before bed. Remember? Grandmas are the best!

Grandma Ibby’s Banana Bread

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Ingredients

Banana-Bread-Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add and incorporate the eggs (one at a time) and the vanilla.

Mix in the dry ingredients and then the bananas and chopped nuts.

Note: I don’t mix the nuts in but instead, sprinkle them over the top before baking. They look nice and are easy to pick off for anyone who doesn’t like them. Skip the nuts entirely if you are going to make the tea sandwiches as the bread slices up more cleanly.

Pour into a 9×5 loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

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Orange Cream Cheese Filling for Tea Sandwiches

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  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • And just a little freshly grated nutmeg

Blend all ingredients together in a mixer and spread between banana bread slices.

Banana-Bread-Tea-SandwichesCut the crust off of both ends and then slice into four finger sandwiches by slicing in half and then slicing each half in half.

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And then, it’s time for tea!

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This recipe also makes wonderful muffins.

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I sprinkle the nuts on top just like I do with the loaf option.

It will make 12 muffins and bakes for 20-25 minutes.

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This is a treasured recipe and is something I will always associate with my grandma Ibby. Especially the tea sandwiches which were just so her.

It is moist and perfectly textured with just the right banana flavor. I have been cutting out the sugar and recently (this morning) baked the muffins with Truvia sugar substitute and they turned out great! Next, to try them with almond or coconut flour. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread

I mentioned a while back that I am working my way through some treasured family recipes which at some point will culminate into a family cookbook. Many of the recipes I am making right now originated with my Grandma Elizabeth or Ibby as she was known to those closest to her.

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When I came across this photo, I couldn’t help but spend some time with it; really looking at it. Studying my grandmother’s face and bearing. Remembering her.  It is a beautiful picture of her, but not just of her. As I take it in, I see my aunt, my mother, my sister, myself. I wish I could tell her but I’m pretty sure she knows just how fondly she is remembered.

I remember the aroma and the warmth of her zucchini bread; fresh from the oven, a pat of rich butter melting into the moist crumb. I remember all of the times my mom made it for us just as grandma Ibby had made it; the rich flavor of cinnamon and bright hint of orange making it absolutely irresistible.

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini-Bread-IngredientsIngredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp orange zest
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I like walnuts best in this)

Directions

Beat the eggs until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until well combined, another minute or two. Stir in the vegetable oil, vanilla, grated zucchini and orange zest.

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In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon and then stir into the wet mixture until just combined. Fold in the chopped nuts.

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Divide the batter between two buttered and floured 8×4 inch loaf pans.

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 Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

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Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to finish cooling,

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or slice and serve warm with a little bit of butter.

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This particular loaf was on its way to bible study along with Grandma Ibby’s bran muffins and some pretty tasty individual crustless quiche. I will share those recipes with you this week as well. Until then, I hope you will try the zucchini bread. My Grandma Ibby would be so happy to know that her “cooking” is still making some very special people feel loved and well fed.

Enjoy!

Pineapple Angel Torte

I think I might have been a little tough on Jello salad recipes in yesterday’s post; perhaps having a little too much fun at the expense of an iconic American dish.

Today, in an effort to make amends, I am going to share another old family recipe that has a filling quite similar to … gulp … a Jello salad. I also want to tell you about it because it is DELICIOUS and would make a perfect Easter dessert. Fruity, fluffy and very light, which is perfect after the ham and scalloped potatoes which are so often an Easter staple.

This torte is a favorite of my Aunt Andi, my mom’s sister, and my grandmother made it on her birthday for many years. I promise, it is that good.

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There is my amazing aunt. Pretty hot stuff, huh? I love those 60’s hairdo’s! Tres chic!

Her name is actually Diana but to us she will always be Aunt Andi. And she’s still just as gorgeous.

Pineapple Angel Torte

This recipe is a tough one with some exotic and complicated ingredients …

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Just kidding!

Here’s what you need …

  • 1 can – 1lb. 4 1/2 oz – Crushed Pineapple, undrained
  • 1 package – 3 3/4 oz – Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • 2 cups Whipping Cream
  • 1 Angel Food Cake

That’s it! I know right about now you have your doubts but I promise you, it is wonderful. If it just feels too much like cheating, I understand. If making an angel food cake from scratch would make you feel better, I won’t judge. You are safe here.

Here’s what you do …

Pineapple-Torte-5This is a great recipe for kids to help out with! Sara is stirring together the can of undrained crushed pineapple and the instant pudding mix.

Pineapple-Torte-8Mix until combined and let sit for 5 minutes.

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Next, split your angel food cake into three equal layers.

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Whip the 2 cups of whipping cream – I draw the line at Cool Whip but again, I won’t judge. Gross.

Nathan just peeked over my shoulder while I was writing, saw this picture of Sara and Grandma, put his head on my shoulder and said in a sweet, quiet voice “I miss grandma”. Me too, Nathan. Sniff. If you are new to my blog, that’s my mom – Grandma as she’s known around these parts. She comes down to visit with us a lot and we miss her when she’s not here.

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Add the whipped cream to the pudding/pineapple mixture

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and gently fold it in.

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Put your first layer of cake on your serving dish and spread with a third of your pineapple mixture.

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Repeat with the second layer.

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Top and finish with the remaining pineapple mixture. Chill for one hour.

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And there you have it, Pineapple Angel Torte.

Now, let’s back up for a second. You may have noticed that we could have been smarter about the layering of this particular cake. Angel food cakes are tapered. They are smaller at the bottom. Thus for proper balance and stability, one should invert the layers and construct the cake using the top, which is in fact larger, as the bottom. Sadly, Einstein was not in the kitchen with us that day. We did it backwards. My mom has made this cake correctly a million times so I blame her. Okay, now I feel guilty. It was all my fault.

The good news, it still tasted great. Thankfully, physics has no impact on flavor.

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Meanwhile, Sara has moved on (probably because she wanted no part of the backward cake layering) to help her great-aunt Andi with a big pot of Taco Soup (another family favorite). Yes, we made the cake when my aunt was here visiting. Just for her. I told you she was still gorgeous.

Pineapple-Torte-19See, once it is served, you can’t even tell it wasn’t perfect all along.

Enjoy!

I am pleased to announce that if you like, you can now follow my blog on Bloglovin. Because I have actually figured out how to set it up there. I think. We shall see.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Lemon Yogurt Cookies

Here in Arizona, we have incredible citrus all around us.  The blossoms smell heavenly right now, perfuming the warming spring breeze.

On our little patch of ground, we have planted orange, Meyer lemon, Eureka lemon, Mandarin orange, and two lime trees but our trees are young because we have had to start from the ground up – literally. One of these days, I promise I will tell you all about the desert wasteland we purchased three years ago and have spent every moment since remodeling and cultivating into what is now pretty much my favorite place on earth.

Back to the trees; they are filled with blossoms and budding but not yet mature fruit. Soon. I just have to be patient. Sadly, patience is not my super power so I am grateful to our neighbors who are supplying me with more lemons than I know what to do with, presenting me with the challenge of coming up with all sorts of ways to use them.

The leaves are still looking a little rough from the cold but the lemons are incredible!

The leaves are still looking a little rough from the cold but the lemons are incredible!

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Over the weekend, our citrus supplying neighbors invited us over for cocktails and a tour of some recent renovations to their home. It is hard to get me out of the yard these days (just ask my son who was on a desperate hunt for a pair of clean socks this morning) so I needed to find something quick, easy and of course, “lemony” to take to them (after all it is their lemons I’m having so much fun with).

In my quest to use every last precious lemon, I have been looking for new recipes. I have a lot of good ones already but my curiosity led me to browse through the numerous “fundraising” cookbooks I have; you know the ones – spiral binders, put out by churches and booster clubs, lots of jello salad recipes.

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Those are the ones.

Just to be clear, I am not knocking Jello salad, I am simply using it as a descriptive example. The fact that Mrs. Mabel Johnson or Mrs. Thelma Thompson thought it was the best dish in her arsenal, worthy of immortality, preserved for all time between the color coded pages of the “Best of fill in the blank Church’s” cookbook is none of my concern.

All joking aside, these little books really do have some “best of” recipes. Good basic recipes that offer considerable opportunity to fine tune, tweak and make your own. In the “Favorite Recipes from St. James” cookbook circa 1984, which was my Great Aunt Helen’s Episcopal church in Tigard Oregon, I found this lovely little Lemon Yogurt Cookie recipe.

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After tweaking the recipe a bit, I baked up a batch of what turned out to be a soft and moist cookie that has a delightful cakey texture, more like a soft scone than a cookie.

I am IN LOVE with this recipe.

Because I am in love with this recipe, naturally, I just had to see which sweet church lady submitted it. I doesn’t matter that I would have no idea who she was, it would just be fun to imagine her, cheek dusted with flour, humming softly as she lovingly placed each cookie on a rack to cool and then turned her attention to one of the other four dishes she was working on for the church potluck the next day.

Scanning down the page, I found the lovely woman’s name at the bottom of the recipe. My great-aunt Helen. It was her recipe. What? Out of all of the recipes in the book, I chose hers. I kid you not. I was a little take aback.

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Helen LeFebre, age 20, circa 1936

The best part about this story is not the fact that up to this point I hadn’t noticed her name on the page, Helen LeFebre right there in front of me, and baked on oblivious to the fact that I was making a family recipe. No, the best part is that Helen LeFebre did not cook or bake. Never. Not ever. I have absolutely no memory of her doing anything in the kitchen beyond making tea.

Aunt Helen was more of the “let’s do lunch” type of lady and certainly never made five dishes for the church potluck. Actually, she would have been the lady who placed the tin of Danish Butter Cookies amid the Jello salads and countless hot dishes.

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In all honesty, this is probably the reaction you would have gotten from her had you asked “these are delicious, did you make them?”

Her life’s passion was not for the domestic. She was a teacher, studied at Berkley and spent nearly thirty years (1950-1978) in the Philipines as a missionary for the Episcopal Church, serving as a Medical Librarian for St. Luke’s hospital, training local women in her field.

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She never married or had children. Her heart was always in the Philipines and with the Filipino people.

I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to have landed on this recipe. This little book was pretty much single-handedly created from the recipes of Alice Thornton and June Boone. Whoever they were. Sweet little 5 dishes for the potluck ladies I am sure. But I was led to one of the two recipes submitted by my great-aunt who didn’t cook. And it was fabulous. And I got to spend the morning thinking about her, writing about her, remembering her.

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I have no idea where she got this recipe. But I am most grateful that she submitted it and that 29 years later, it fell into my hands when I opened a small little paper cookbook looking for a lemon recipe.

Great Aunt Helen’s Lemon Yogurt Cookies

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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup lemon yogurt – I used lemon flavored Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (originally called for 1 tsp. lemon extract)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar, butter and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add the lemon yogurt and lemon juice and mix well. Add in the flour mixture in thirds, incorporating well after each addition.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls two inches apart on prepared cookie sheet (greased or covered with a Silpat matt or parchment paper).

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until just a light golden brown around edges.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

The recipe did not originally call for a glaze but I decided to add one, which turned out to be a really good decision. It added a lot to the flavor to the cookies, upped the intensity of the lemon flavor and made them just a little bit more finished and special.

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For the glaze …

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest

Mix until smooth and drizzle over cookies.

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I feel like I have discovered treasure with these little cookies and I am so happy to share them and my great-aunt Helen with you.

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I hope you will try them. They would be a wonderful Easter treat and will be on my Easter buffet. Alas, there will be no Jello salad.

Enjoy!

Grandma Ibby’s Apple Dumplings

My Grandma Ibby, age 22 circa 1942.

My Grandma Ibby, age 22 circa 1942.

Apple dumplings are traditionally a wedge of apple sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and wrapped in a biscuit type dough which is then baked in a rich simple syrup that does magical things in the oven. My grandmother’s dumplings are unique in that the apples are diced and the dough is rolled up and sliced in cinnamon roll fashion. I truly can think of no way to describe to you how special these perfect apple dumplings are. You simply have to try them and judge for yourself. When you have regained your faculties and are once again able to communicate, I would love to know how you liked them.

Grandma Ibby’s Apple Dumplings

Dumpling Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk or Half and Half
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Table Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon

Dumpling Syrup

  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter

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Directions

Dice apples into small pieces so they are easy to roll up in the dough. Toss with 1 tsp. Cinnamon and set aside.

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In a large bowl, combine the sour cream and milk and whisk until well blended and smooth. Add in the baking soda and salt and mix well. Sift together and add the baking powder, flour and sugar.

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Mix until combined and dough just starts to come together, do not over work the dough. Dough will be sticky. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll into a rectangular shape about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.

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Cover with the cinnamon apples.

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Carefully roll like you would for a jelly roll or cinnamon rolls. Flour your hands and be gentle with the delicate dough.

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Cut into 1 inch slices and place in a buttered baking dish.

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I ended up with 11 but probably should have gotten 12. Oh well, bigger dumplings.

Dumpling Syrup …

Combine the granulated and brown sugars and 2 tablespoons of flour and to the mixture, add 1 cup of boiling water and 2 tablespoons of butter, diced.

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Mix until sugar is dissolved and butter has melted.

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Pour syrup over dumplings.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until dumplings are golden brown and bubbly.

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When serving, be sure to drizzle a little syrup from the baking dish over each dumpling.

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Amazing is one of the most over used descriptive words in the writing world.

These apple dumplings are A – M – A – Z – I – N – G!

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It is okay to lick the plate. I won’t tell.