Healthier Homemade Apple Dumplings

I love homemade apple dumplings! Recently I pulled out my mom’s recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook, (some of you know the exact cookbook I’m talking about – the red checkered one with the torn edges, pictures of women in 1950’s with their aprons. And the new “modern” kitchen? It makes me chuckle every time I look at it). On a whim, I decided to put their apple dumpling recipe into WW Recipe Builder – 28 points or 802 calories per apple dumpling! Really? Are you kidding me? That’s way too much for me -even for a splurge! Not worth it in my opinion. Now some things are worth it, like my German chocolate cake maybe, but even then I would probably just eat a small piece or a few bites at a time and savor the whole experience. But to blow a whole day’s worth of points on one apple dumpling, nope!

There must be a better way, or a healthier apple dumpling without sacrificing quality and taste. So I set out to create a healthier recipe, and here it is! I succeeded!

I’m not about fat-free or sugar free anything, so these apple dumplings are healthier because I have cut out some of the sugar and butter and made the pastry thinner. They still have that good old-fashioned apple dumpling taste with the great cinnamon sauce. But at 10 points per apple (or 413 calories) vs 28 points (or 802 calories), they are much better for you! And really they are very easy! I like to make a double batch and freeze my apple dumplings into 2-3 apples per vacuumed sealed bag. When I want a little treat or a fast dessert for guests, it’s super easy to pull a few out and bake them fresh.

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How to make my healthy apple dumplings:

  1. Peel and core the apples.
  2. Use a food processor to combine the dry ingredients.  Add in the milk and process just until combined.  Form into 8 balls of dough.  (I like to weigh them out so they are equal about 1.2-1.3 oz each).
  3. Roll out each ball, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and wrap the dough around the apple. Place in a 9×13 baking dish if baking right away, or flash freeze on a baking sheet if freezing for later (more details on that below).
  4. Make the sauce, pour over the dumplings and bake! That’s it!
Making apple dumplings, rolling out the dough on a floured board with rolling pin and fresh apples in background from Gourmet Done Skinny

Making apple dumplings, rolling out the dough.

Roll out the dough big enough so it will cover the apple. Fold the dough around the apple, molding it fairly tight.

Dough wrapped around the apple, rolling pin in background from Gourmet Done Skinny

Dough covered apple, make a big batch and freeze for later!

How to freeze homemade apple dumplings:

  1. Place dough covered dumplings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Flash freeze (uncovered) for about an hour, or until firm.
  3. Transfer apples to vacuum sealed bags. Don’t seal so tight that it disturbs the dough, keep them fairly loose in the vacuum sealed bag.

 

Pan of dough covered apples ready to be flash frozen from Gourmet Done Skinny

Apple dumplings on parchment paper – ready to flash freeze.

Apple Dumplings frozen in a vacuum sealed bag from Gourmet Done Skinny

Transfer the frozen apples to vacuum sealed bags.

How to bake frozen apple dumplings:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place frozen dumplings in a baking dish. When I make 2 dumplings for just my husband and I, I use small individual baking dishes.
  3. Combine ingredients for sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then pour over frozen dumplings.
  4. Cover apple dumplings with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover and continue baking for about 25-30 more minutes or until apples are done.

 

How to make apple dumpling sauce and a few notes:

It’s easy to make the sauce, just combine the sugar, water, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and pour over the uncooked dumplings. That’s it!

I like a thicker apple dumpling sauce. This recipe allows for about 1-2 T. of sauce per dumpling. I would love more sauce on this apple dumpling but I don’t always want all the points/calories.  If you want more sauce you can use equal parts of sugar and water, it won’t be as thick but you’ll have more for the same points/calories.

Or if you want to splurge and have a lot of sauce, then you can double the sauce recipe, but be sure and add 3 points to your total freestyle point count.  The apple dumpling alone is 6 and the sauce as written is 4 points. So if you splurge and have double the sauce then it’s 14 points per dumpling.  It’s still way better than the original recipe of 28 points.

 

Apple dumpling in an individual dish with spoon and fresh apples in background from Gourmet Done Skinny

My favorite way is to freeze them individually, then take them out, make up the sauce as a need them. No waste and you’re not “forced, ” to eat more than you should. This does have a sauce but it’s hard to see in photo.

What are the best apples for apple dumplings?

I like to choose a sweeter but good baking apple for apple dumplings. Because I have cut some of the sugar in the sauce, having a sweeter apple is a good idea. My favorites are Gala and Jonagold. Of course you can use Granny Smith but they are a bit tart compared to the other two.  For this recipe it’s best not to choose super large apples but rather medium size, that way the pastry fits around the apple easier.

Here’s a great article I found on choosing the right apples for baking. Check it out!

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Freshly baked apple dumplings in a Polish pottery baking dish with fresh apples and basket in background from Gourmet Done Skinny

Healthier Homemade Apple Dumplings

  • Freestyle Smart Points:10 Freestyle Smart Points per dumpling with 1-2 T. sauce
  • Author: Gourmet Done Skinny
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 50-60 min
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Pastry dough
  • Cuisine: American

Description

I’m not about fat-free or sugar free anything, these apple dumplings are healthier because I have cut out some of the sugar and butter and made the pastry thinner. They still have that good old fashioned apple dumpling taste with the great cinnamon sauce. But at 10 points per apple (or 413 calories) vs 28 points or (802 calories) they are much healthier for you!  I love to make a batch and freeze them for later. When I want a little treat, I’ll take just 2 out for my husband and me, make a small amount of the sauce and bake them up in our toaster oven.


Ingredients

  • 1 c. all purpose flour (plus a bit more 1/4 c. for rolling out the dough)
  • 1 1/4  t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
  • 5 1/2 T. unsalted cold butter-cut into small pieces (do not let it soften)
  • 1/4 c. 2 % milk
  • 8 medium apples-peeled and cored (I like Gala or Jonagold)
  • 4 t. sugar
  • ground cinnamon to sprinkle over apples

Apple Dumpling Sauce (see notes at bottom)

  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. water (or 2/3 c. if you want thinner but more sauce)
  • 2 t. butter
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon (or more if you like it a bit spicy)
  • 1/8 t. freshly ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture looks like fine crumbles.
  3. While the food processor is running, add milk through the top. Combine only until mixture comes together.
  4. Divide dough into 8 pieces. I like them to be the same so I use a scale – each ball weighs about 1.2-1.3 oz.
  5. Roll out each ball on a lightly floured board until big enough to cover apple.
  6. Sprinkle with 1/4 t. sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  7. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (if flash freezing) or in a 9 x 13 pan if baking immediately.
  8. Do this for the remaining apples.
  9. When ready to bake, make the sauce by combining 2/3 c. sugar, 1/2 c. water, 2 t. butter, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/8 t. nutmeg in a small saucepan.  Heat until mixture comes to a boil.
  10. Pour sauce over apples and bake at 375° for about 35 minutes or until apples are done. If baking frozen apple dumplings, lower heat to 350°, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 30 more minutes until apples are done.

Notes

  • I like a thicker sauce. This allows for about 1-2 T. of sauce per dumpling. I would love more sauce on this apple dumpling but I don’t always want all the points.  If you want more sauce you can use equal parts of sugar and water, it won’t be as thick but you’ll have more for the same points.
  • Or if you want to splurge and have a lot of sauce, then you can double the sauce recipe, but be sure and add 4 points to your total freestyle point count.  The apple dumpling alone is 6 and the sauce as written is 4 points. So if you splurge and have double the sauce then it’s 14 points per dumpling.  It’s still way better than the original recipe of 28 points.

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