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Grain Free Apple Dumplings



Grain Free Apple Dumplings

I live in the middle of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. We have gorgeous rolling hills, Amish farms as far as the eye can see, and…..

Apple Dumplings!!!

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If you live or have lived in or near Pennsylvania Dutch country, you already know that apple dumplings are a staple here this time of year. If you’ve never had an apple dumpling, let me introduce you to the best thing EVER to make with apples πŸ™‚
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Apple Dumplings started to appear at all my local farmer’s markets this past month. Everytime I would go, I couldn’t get the smell of those lovelies out of my head.

One thing I knew for sure: I had to create a grain-free apple dumpling.

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It took a lot of failed attempts, but I finally came up with a version that completely knocked my socks off. I had a lot of super picky (a.k.a. I refuse to like anything that I know is Paleo) taste testers that all gave me two thumbs way up for this one, too. This is a small feat in itself if you knew these people. Β Do you know people like that, too or is it just me?!

But seriously, all you crazy “I refuse to like anything that I know is Paleo” people, how could you not love this:

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I am probably most excited about this apple dumpling dough. Β It’s the closest thing to regular dough that I’ve ever made so far. It feels just like a yeast bread dough – it’s soft and it stretches and kneads just like it! Β How do you like my lovely dough ball?



There’s nothing better than the taste of a freshly picked sweet juicy apple from a local orchard (or picked from your own tree if you are so lucky) and these apple dumplings are such a fun and ridiculously yummy thing to make with them!

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Have you ever had an apple dumpling? Will you try these? Leave me a comment πŸ™‚Β 



Grain Free Apple Dumplings
Serves: Makes 3 apple dumplings
For the Apple Dumplings:
Filling per apple:
  • 1 teaspoon pure raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon butter or ghee
  • two pinches of cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • optional: I prefer mine plain, but many people like to add a pinch of nuts or raisins
For the Sauce:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Please follow all dough instructions extra carefully!
For the dough:
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the coconut oil, milk, fresh lemon juice, vanilla and salt to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. When it has a nice boil going on, remove from heat (IMPORTANT) and then add in the honey and arrowroot powder.
  3. Stir for a minute until you have a gloopy mess and melted coconut oil at the bottom. At this point, you will probably be yelling at me that I screwed up the recipe, but I promise you, it's supposed to look like a big mess.
  4. Let cool for a few minutes.
  5. Once cool, add in the egg. Stir.
  6. Add in the coconut flour. Stir until well combined.
  7. Take the dough out of the pot and knead for a minute.
  8. Divide dough into 3 separate balls.
  9. Roll or press each dough ball into a 6 inch circle. Each circle should be about ¼ inch thick. Putting the dough on a silpat or parchment paper works really well, but the dough is very easy to work with and doesn't stick so any surface will work!
  10. Place your cored and peeled apple in the middle of each dough circle.
  11. Place 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon butter and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg in each hollowed out core (you can add any nuts or raisins inside the hollowed core, if you wish)
  12. Bring the dough up to the center of the apple until the apple is completely wrapped in the dough.
  13. Put each apple in a lightly greased (with butter or coconut oil) baking dish.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes or until dough is lightly browned on top.
  15. Pour sauce all over the apples.
  16. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. If the tops start to get too brown, lightly cover. Enjoy!
For the Sauce,
  1. Bring the butter, milk, cinnamon, salt and vanilla to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in honey and arrowroot until well mixed.

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    I think I almost died when I saw this on my pinterest feed!!! AMAZING!!!

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    making this tonight!!!

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    You are too much!! I’m from Michigan, and I have to argue that our apples are the best! πŸ˜› But, anyway, I was just home last weekend, and my sister ate an apple dumpling, that looked sooo good! I had an apple with almond butter, and although I love that snack…it was a little sad next to her flakey-pastry-ooey-gooey treat! And, now, what do you have for me!!?!?!? A flakey-pastry-ooey-gooey treat!! Can’t wait!! Thanks so much!!

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    This looks so amazing!!!!! I can’t wait to try it. You have been on a roll lately.

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    I’m newish to paleo/primal eating and this makes me happy because not only does it look delicious, it also doesn’t have any scary ingredients! πŸ™‚

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    As a native Pennsylvanian living in the Midwest I was so
    Excited to see this recipe, miss the ooey, gooey fall treats
    Since switching to a wheat-free diet, absolutely cannot wait
    To try making these, and I totally agree with you Pa has fabulous
    Apples (and pretzels and whoopie pies and shoefly pie, gotta
    Stop it’s making me homesick) thanks for the recipe!!!

    • Primally Inspired

      You are speaking my language, Cathy!!! πŸ™‚
      I hope the midwest is treating you well and hope you get to introduce those midwesterners to our beloved apple dumplings!!

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      That’s your new challenge, Kelly!!! To come up with a shoo-fly pie recipe!!! This was my favorite pie growing up! πŸ™‚

      BTW: Just went apple picking and these dumplings are on the top of the list to make!!! Can’t wait! πŸ™‚ Any thoughts on freezing the dough or the whole dumpling?

      Thanks for the great recipes!!! Love your blog!

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    Oh my these look amazing!!! Can’t wait to try them!!

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    Thank you…Thank you…we live in Delta, across the river from Lancaster and have truly missed apple dumplings since my son was diagnosed with an unhealthy liver and can no longer eat grains. We are using a coconut pancake recipe to make waffles that we use as sandwich bread. Do you have a good sliced bread recipe that uses almond or coconut flour? Also, where do you shop around here? We have problems finding affordable ingredients on our strict budget.

    • Primally Inspired

      Tammy, you are practically my neighbor!! πŸ™‚ I haven’t tried a sliced bread recipe yet, but I really want to try to create something soon. I have a few ideas up my sleeve since I’m so excited how this dough turned out. I’ll work on it!

      I’ve been getting a lot of my meats and produce at the Lancaster Central Farmers Market. That farmer’s market is real foodies dream come true!! But the meat I buy is from a farm in Quarryville called Country Meadows. It’s purely grass-fed, they use no chemicals whatsoever and are totally awesome. The price of grassfed burger is $4.75 a pound to give you an idea. They also carry pasture raised chickens, turkey, pork, lamb, and eggs for all very reasonable prices. They are at the Lancaster Central Market, but you can go to their farm in Quarryville, too.

      While I’m up that way, I usually stop at Pleasant Valley Country Store in Kirkwood, PA to get all my gluten free flours (coconut, almond, arrowroot, tapioca, etc), pure raw honey and maple syrup and raw cheeses. They are by far the cheapest I’ve found anywhere.

      Also, Kings stand at the Eastern Market is very reasonably priced for chicken, beef, and eggs. They make the BEST EVER sandwich lunchmeat out of their smoked pasture raised turkey and hams. There’s no preservatives, fillers, etc – just their pure smoked meat. It’s ridiculous good.

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    YUM! Thank you for yet another fabulous post – I am making these in the very near future!!!

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    I LOVE it when you send out new recipes:) I. can. not. wait. to. make. these. πŸ™‚

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    These look GREAT. Can the dough be made ahead of time? Also, can it be doubled? I’d love to make these for a dinner party for next week, but would need to have the dough already made to have time to get it in the oven.

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    I’m on the GAPS diet so I can’t have arrowroot; is there a different way to make the dough? Looks so delicious!!!

    • Primally Inspired

      Jaclyn, can you have tapioca starch on gaps? I was just told that tapioca starch works with this recipe, too. If not, I’m not sure I know another substitute that gels up/gets really sticky quite like the arrowroot, which is key for making this stretchable/kneadable dough.

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    These look amazing!!! Cannot wait to make them!! Silly question–I’ve never made apple dumplings before, how exactly do you eat them??? Haha!! Do you just cut them up in a bowl and eat it with a fork or just pick it up and take a bite? I want to make sure I’m doing it right!! Haha!! Thank you!!

    • Primally Inspired

      Erin, not a silly question at all! Most people around my area put the dumpling in a bowl, pour milk all over it and eat it with a spoon. I’ve been eating my grain-free version just with just a fork and no milk, though. Although I’d imagine it’d be wonderful with milk, too (I’ve just been so impatient when they come out of the oven that I don’t have time to mess with milk. lol)

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    I am introducing my sister to the grain/sugar free way of eating. I made these apple dumplings for her and my family tonight. We were all totally blown away! Amazing! Your recipe is going into my cookbook permanently and a copy will be going home with my sister for her cookbook. Thank you so much for all your hard work in perfecting this recipe and for sharing it with all of us. It is absolutely wonderful!

    • Primally Inspired

      Janice, this makes my day to hear this! I love when grain/sugar free foods taste just as good (if not, better!) than the original versions and proving that eating and living healthy is incredibly enjoyable and makes you feel so much better. So glad you are teaching your sister the ropes, too! Thank you so much for such a kind comment to me πŸ™‚

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    This looks so good! I am sharing on my page and giving it a try! πŸ˜€ Thanks for sharing!

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    Has anyone tried this with an egg replacement? I’d love to make this for breakfast in the morning but my daughter has an egg allergy! I’m afraid to try because so many of my egg free conversions have completely flopped!

    • Primally Inspired

      Kami, I think an egg replacement would work great in here. For this recipe, the egg just is extra moisture and a binding ingredient. I think a flax or chia egg would work just as well!

      Of course, I haven’t tried this recipe with an egg replacement, but I’m very used to replacing eggs in baking (my husband had an egg allergy for a few years before we healed it) and I predict a good outcome with this one. I’d love to hear if you or anyone else has tried it. I will try it next time I make them!

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    I have coconut oil, lemon juice, coconut milk & vanilla mixture off the stove. I have been stirring it for almost 5 min now & I don’t have a gloppy mess. It looks like a thin gravy. I hope this is ok!

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    I have just made these they are currently in the oven. My dough did not come together like yours. Any idea what I may have done wrong?

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    Does the sauce go on after the apple dumpling is baked?
    Yes, this looks really good! Could you use this dough for pies?

    • Primally Inspired

      Yes, the dough makes awesome pies! πŸ™‚

      And you cook the apple dumplings first for 30 minutes without the sauce. While they are cooking, make the sauce. After the 30 minutes is up, pour it over the apple dumplings and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes.

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    I actually didn’t have any coconut flour so I used brown rice flour instead. Because the coconut oil made by dough so wet, I added 1/4 tsp of xanthum gum to each ball. Dough turned out great!

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    I made these and even skeptical husband liked them. My dough didn’t turn out like yours. I never had the gloppy mess, more like a thin gravy. I had to add an extra 2 Tbls of coconut flour to make it come together, and even then it was very soft. I had to sort of mold it on to the apples (like clay) and couldn’t get the pretty folds you got. The dough baked up OK and tasted good though.

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    My dough did not come out like yours either. Did not stick together, was very wet/greasy and did not roll out nice nor did it “not” stick to everything. I did double the recipe and will try just a single recipe next time to see if it makes a difference. I tried to add some coconut flour when I rolled them out to help it not stick to everything but this did not work either. Maybe too much lime/lemon juice or not enough arrowroot powder?? Still put them together as much as possible and in the oven they went. I am sure they will taste just fine but would really like to get the dough right. Thanks.

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    A few questions:

    1) If using the recipe for pie dough, would a single recipe make a “bottom” crust or “top and bottom”? I’m guessing just bottom, but thought I’d ask.

    2)Could I possibly make this entire dish and keep it in the fridge until ready to bake? Or would it make the crust weird having it wrapped around the apple?

    3) Have you tried freezing the dough and using it later?

    Looking forward to trying this.

    • Primally Inspired

      Hi Tammy!

      This recipe is enough for one bottom pie crust.
      And yes, you could make the whole thing and keep in the fridge.
      I haven’t tried freezing the dough yet, but I would like to the next time because I was curious about this as well. I would imagine it would be ok, but that’s just a guess. I have refrigerated it for a few days and it was just fine.

      Hope that helps!!

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    Thank you so much. It’s a long slow road but am chugging along changing how I cook & what I cook. Thanks for this yummily recipe.

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    What is the minimum baking time for the crust? I am unable to tolerate cooked apples (weird, I know, they smell so good*sigh)and am wondering about using canned peaches? I canned some in halves and am thinking about trying something like this with thin dough circles to wrap the half-peaches. Anyone else try anything similar?

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    Kelly, WOW is all I can say!!!! Can’t wait to make this!! πŸ™‚

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    The recipe came along picture perfect it went into the oven, then it became droopy, the dough even fell off half one apple, after I poured the sauce over them all the dough got soggy and sloughed off the apples, it doesn’t appear the dough is fully cooked, but may just be moist. Any ideas on what was off?

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    Thrilled to try these.
    Doing a trial run today to see if they are a hit or miss with the fam.
    Have a huge bin of apples from a local orchard to play with!
    Thanks for sharing!

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    OK, tried making these for the second time just now and ended up with the same problem with the dough. It was the consistency of stiff mashed potatoes. I had to mold it on the apples, it would roll out into a neat circle. I’m following the instructions exactly, so I don’t know what to try. Could you possible post of video of how you do the dough? Maybe something is getting lost in translation.

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    Made these last nite. THANK YOU! I have been gluten free 10 years and low to no grain for the last couple. I have missed apple dumplings and pies. I can still taste my grandmothers lard crust pies. My crust was not quite right either. Soft, not kneadable, kinda fell off. I think what I did wrong was added the egg while the milk mixture was still too hot. After reading.the others that are having problems, wonder if they did that? Can someone answer that question? I’m trying again. They were gooey when hot and warm but great today. Even if I can’t get them to look like pic, making a bunch and freezing them. Then trying a pie. Oh, thanks you again. U did the work and I get apple dumplings!!

    • Primally Inspired

      Hi Jenny! So glad you liked them even though they didn’t quite work out. I haven’t answered anyone on this situation because I’ve yet to come up with a solution. I do know that the key to getting it kneadable is in the adding the arrowroot step. If it never turns into a gooey-sticky mess, the dough will not be kneadable and will turn into what you describe as not kneadable and soft. One reader said hers wasn’t turning into a gooey mess, but then heated it back up and that did the trick. So that may be a possible solution.

      Also, in my many attempts at this recipe, the dough seemed to fall off whenever I covered the apples. If I didn’t cover it, it was fine. Did you happen to cover your apples? A few times the tops of the dough were getting a little too brown for my liking, so I very, very loosely covered them and that was ok.

      I hope we can all figure this out so we can enjoy yummy AND pretty apple dumplings πŸ™‚

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    these look absolutely FABULOUS! and I’m totally impressed by your ability to actually make a ‘primally inspired dough’! I’m totally more of a cook than a baker πŸ˜‰ can’t wait to try these!!!

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    Hi! I’ve made these twice now. The taste is perfect but the dough is gummy on the bottom and inside. Cooked a little longer and then they got really brown so I thought for sure the dough would be done on the inside but it still wasnt. Suggestions?

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    Hi there,

    I also had the dough turn out like soft mashed potatoes so I added more coconut flour and more arrowroot the dough was finally kneadable but then when I went to pull it up over the apples it just broke off I am so disappointed as this is a pretty lengthy recipe that takes time and a lot of work in my opinion (because I am not a cook) what are we doing wrong as I have seen others comment that they have had the same problem are we using a different coconut flour, arrowroot, etc. that could make the difference? Please help!

    • Primally Inspired

      Hi Erin,

      I had a chance to work on this over the weekend to see what was happening with those that haven’t been able to get the dough right. It seems to me that the key step in this recipe that will make or break it is the step right after boiling the oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla. It’s super important to get the arrowroot powder in the hot pot AS SOON as it comes off the stove. If the arrowroot does not get all clumpy, and goopy, the dough won’t work out. Someone else commented and said hers didn’t get gloopy and then she stuck it back on the heat and that worked.

      Yours tore because the arrowroot never “gelled.” I had this happen when I was first experimenting with this recipe. All the dough balls that I first experimented with that didn’t gel turned into pie crusts that actually ended up being really good πŸ™‚

      I hope all that makes sense and I hope that helps!!

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    Delicious! My mom has a severe gluten sensitivity so we’re always looking for new recipes. I was really excited to see a recipe with awesome dough because that’s probably been the most difficult thing. They all crumble or dry out or somehow fail. The whole dish was incredible, but we’re most excited to have a dough that has a variety of uses. Thank you!

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    I can’t wait to make these tomorrow! I have not made the Paleo jump yet, but plan to soon. Does anyone know if I could use regular unbleached all purpose flour? If so, how much should I use?

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    I tried these tonight and while I had all the same problems as a lot of people, I did manage to work with it and get it around the apples eventually. I had to add a little extra coconut flour and a touch of arrowroot to get the dough to a consistency I could work with.

    To get the dough around the apples, I rolled it out on a paraflex sheet I had for my dehydrator and then lifted the the sheet around the apple, peeling it back from the dough, turning it slightly and then working my way around the apple turn by turn. It seemed like once I got it started and there was dough for the next fold to cling to, it was much easier to get it wrapped all the way around. (I hope that description made any sense…) They looked and smelled beautiful, but as someone else said, once I poured the sauce over, the crust started to fall apart in some places. Regardless, they were delicious and highly approved by the oh-so-not-Paleo male of the household. πŸ™‚

    Well worth the effort and I will try again! I think part of my problem might have been larger apples which required me to roll the crust a little too thin. If that happens again, next time I will do apple halves instead. This will be a great crust for me to try some other favorite recipes, like chicken pot pie! Thank you for creating it!

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    Just made these for the second time and they turned out perfectly this go round. The first time I had some of the same problems as the other readers as far as having to shape it on the Apple. This time it was really dough like and very easy to work with. The only thing I did differently was that I used coconut milk instead of regular milk. I also used tapioca flour instead of the arrowroot, although I did this for the first time as well. Thanks so much for a great recipe. My husband’s favorite is Apple pie and since we eat Paleo that’s really not an option anymore. Yummy:)

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    I made these today. The dough was very difficult to work with,especially for a person with not much kitchen confidence. I added extra coconut flour to make it more manageable. My son enjoyed them but he is a sugar junkie so they weren’t nearly as sweet as he’d hoped. I think doubling the sauce would be helpful. The ingredients are pretty expensive so I cannot say I’ll make it again. But I am glad I tried it and was proud of how well they turned out.

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    Tried these last night, absolutely amazing! My family has been paleo for 2 year and I’ve tried a lot of pastry type doughs and none of them worked, but this one did. Thank you!

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    This looks like a *great* recipe! I am definitely pinning it! πŸ™‚

    I was reading the comments from some of the readers on their dough not turning out or becoming “a gloppy mess”. No one’s mentioned the fact that arrowroot will thicken up – and then thin out again, if cooked too long or too hot. I wonder if that’s what has happened with some of the “failed attempts”?

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    Your recipes all look great. I can’t wait to try some. But I am mainly writing to thank you for mentioning Pleasant Valley Store. I only live about 6 miles away and NEVER knew it was there!! I am going there today.

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    My fiancΓ© and I made this last night and it was perfect!!! We added the arrowroot IMMEDIATELY (you have to do this when making jam too…) and followed the directions exactly. The dough was perfect, easy to hand press, and baked extremely well. Also, because the dough was so easy, cleanup was a breeze too. We’ve already decided to make this for whoever our first houseguest is! πŸ™‚

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    These look delicious! I’m going to try them out this weekend! I do have one question, would I be able to sub xanthan gum for the arrowroot powder? I already have some xanthan on hand. If I do swap it do you think I’ll only have to use a tsp or so of the xanthan (that’s what’s usually called for in recipes). I know that’s a lot less material going into the dough than the half a cup of arrowroot so I’m not sure how it would work, but I guess I’ll play around with it and see what happens. If anyone has done this substitution please let me know how it turned out!

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    I forgot about these thank you for posting again.

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    I couldn’t find arrowroot powder anywhere, so I substituted tapioca flour. I’m sure it made the consistency a bit different, but it didn’t matter – they were AMAZING!!! I made 6 of them for a small dinner party that I we had with friends. Unbelievable!!! I had also made the dough one night before to save myself some time. The first batch was perfect – the second batch I screwed up because I accidently added the honey in while the pot was still over the heat. The taste was still good, though! I’ll get it next time.

    I’m going to order the arrowroot on Amazon today and make them again when my family comes into town at the end of October. My girlfriend and I are doing a clean/paleo diet so this fit right in with that. We both could only eat half of one apple because it was super filling. The men that were there gobbled the whole thing up! Yum yum yum. Thank you so much for this!

    • Primally Inspired

      Makes me so happy to hear this, Alisson! Woo! I’ve also been using tapioca with this recently and they seem to be the same to me – I can’t notice a difference in texture or taste between the 2.

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    I’m also from Michigan–way up in the north part of the “mitten”–and we have absolutely FABULOUS apples available here! I can’t wait to make apple dumplings from this recipe; my cardiologist recommended I “go Paleo” and see how it satisfies the various health issues I’m dealing with. Since I need a lot of protein (following his advice again) because of genetic insulin resistance, Dr. said Paleo would work very, very well to help me get to good health.

    If I can make my dessert and eat it, too, then I’m all for it πŸ™‚

    • Primally Inspired

      Oh Joyce, that’s awesome that you have a doctor who understands the importance of diet. I think that’s so cool since that seems to be a rare thing these days! I hope these apple dumplings are a hit for you!

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    We LOVED this recipe, but had a question. The dough had a strong lemony flavor and as we wanted to use it for pie crust, thought we would test it using one batch with the juice of half a lemon and a batch with no lemon. The batch with half a lemon was a much better consistency, but still couldn’t really be rolled, the batch with no lemon was loose and couldn’t even be moulded. Is the lemon necessary for consistency and pliability? Or was it merely for taste?

    Thanks so much! Loving playing around with this recipe.

    • Primally Inspired

      Hi Sarah! The lemon itself isn’t necessary for consistency – it’s the extra liquid that’s necessary. So if you want to ditch the lemon, just make sure to add a tablespoon or two (or three or four, depending on how much you need) of extra liquid – water or milk. I’d start adding a tablespoon at a time until the dough is easy to work with. Hope that helps!

  48. Avatar

    These are the best apple dumplings!

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