Food & Drink

Stir Crazy: Opt out of pumpkin, pecan; go for apple

Apple Pie Cookies
Apple Pie Cookies

Really, what’s the point in printing yet another pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving?

Everybody I know has their own favorite recipe, whether it came off a can of Libby’s pumpkin puree or was handed down by “the women in the family.”

Same goes for pecan pie, my personal favorite any time of year. Here’s my one piece of advice on making pecan pie: Roast big fresh pecans for extra crunch and flavor. Enough said.

So, how to reinvent the Turkey Day dessert wheel? One way would be for me to opt out, but hey, I’m not going to do that. Part of my job is to keep you informed on what’s going on in the culinary world.

So, I’m so-so on apple pie. I’ve had more bad ones that good ones. Maybe now’s the time to offer some new apple dessert ideas.

I dug around and found these two recipes: Caramel Apple Dump Cake with Spiced Whipped Cream and Apple Pie Cookies. Very non-traditional for the feast day, but they suit me as something different.

You could make one and put it alongside your pumpkin or pecan pie and see what happens.

Contact me at, 618-239-2664 or follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

Caramel Apple Dump Cake with Spiced Whipped Cream

2 cans apple pie filling

1/4 cup caramel sauce

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 box yellow cake mix

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


1 cup cup heavy whipping cream

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13 pan with cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine apple pie filling, caramel sauce, lemon juice and cinnamon. Add to the pan.

Sprinkle with cake mix. Cover with melted butter. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a baking rack.

To make the spiced whipped cream, chill a large mixing bowl while the cake is cooling. Add heavy cream and whisk until it holds soft peaks. Then whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.

Serve the dump cake with spiced whipped cream, a drizzle of extra caramel sauce and a few pecans.

Apple Pie Cookies

1 package refrigerated pie crusts

1 jar caramel sauce, optional

1 can apple pie filling

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

2 tablespoons flour for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle a little flour on a clean work surface. Roll out one of the dough disks just a teensy-weensy bit to slightly increase the surface area. (You don't want it too thin).

Spread a thin film of caramel sauce over the crust, if desired.

Chop up the apple pie pieces so they’re smaller. Spread some of the apple pie mixture over the crust/caramel sauce. Don’t use quite the whole can.

Sprinkle a little flour on your clean work surface and again, you know the routine; just roll the dough out very slightly. Use either a pastry cutter or a knife to cut a bunch of strips about 1/2 inch wide.

Using the strips, make a lattice over the top of the pie.

Get out a round cookie cutter and cut out the caramel apple pie cookies. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, you should end up with a dozen. Use a thin spatula to carefully transfer the cookies over to a non-stick baking sheet.

Brush a little of the egg across the strips on the cookies. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

And don’t forget to bake up all those leftover scraps, too.

Makes a dozen.