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If day-to-day life isn’t hectic and stressful enough, the holiday season ramps things up considerably, am I right? The pressure to be and do #allthethings – decorate, entertain, shop/wrap/give, and of course BAKE – is never more pronounced than those few short weeks starting right after Thanksgiving (or, if you’re in my local drugstore, RIGHT NOW).
I’d like to focus on the BAKE today – because that’s my thing, of course, and because I think that’s where many people feel the most overwhelmed.
The pressure to transform oneself into a Martha Stewart-Julia Child-Ina Garten domestic goddess during the holiday season is intense, and can undo even the most confident cook or baker. I have to admit, I succumb myself – especially since I give my baked goods as holiday gifts.
But it’s important to enjoy this fleeting season too – to connect with friends, take time for the little celebrations, not just the big ones, and to entertain.
Having a few friends over for coffee and something sweet is something I love to do all year round – but especially during the holiday season. And by deploying a few shortcuts – that look and taste fabulous without stretching me thin – is how I roll.
I was delighted to incorporate Dixie Ultra® Holiday Plates and Vanity Fair® Impressions® Napkins as part of today’s post because I learned years ago that pretty paper goods cut the work of entertaining – and the stress that goes along with it – right in half. Not having dishes to clean up – or to worry about plates breaking – makes the idea of having guests over feel less overwhelming. And it’s fun to mix and match festive colors and designs as part of my table décor (check out the full collection of plates here!).
When challenged to create a fun, simple and delicious holiday dessert using 7UP®, I pulled up a recipe that caught my eye a while back – and one that I knew would be perfect.
I love all things retro – but when it comes to cooking and baking, those ideas don’t always translate well to today’s palate (Ham and Bananas Hollandaise? Hard pass, thank you). But these apple dumplings are as quick and easy as they are super delicious. The secret? 7UP. Trust me on this. If you’ve ever made ribs or bacon glazed with soda you know that it cooks down into a sweet and flavorful syrup – which is exactly what happens here.
I ramped things up further by browning the butter for the topping, and adding my no-fail streusel for crunch (and because: STREUSEL).
Your house will smell heavenly as these are baking up, and all you need to add is some vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream…
…and some good friends.
Another lifesaver for me during the holiday season? Paperless Post. It is my absolute go-to when creating on-line invites for our annual holiday gathering. I love the seemingly endless (chic) options for design, the ease of use for this technophobe, and the convenience of tracking my guest list right up to the day of the party.
What are your holiday season lifesavers?
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup EACH sugar and light brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
¾ cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
1 large Granny Smith apple
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
8 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup 7UP (either Original or Cherry; I used Cherry here)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees; grease an 8” x 8” baking pan (or line both ways with parchment paper).
Make the streusel topping: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add both sugars, cinnamon, salt and flour. Stir with a fork to create clumps. Spread out onto your prepared baking sheet, breaking up any large pieces. Set aside.
Make the dumplings: Combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Peel and core the apple; cut into 8 wedges. Unroll the crescent dough and separate into 8 triangles. Sprinkle a bit of the sugar-cinnamon mixture over each of the triangles. Working with 1 apple wedge at a time, place on the wide side of a triangle. Fold in the sides and roll up, pinching and pressing as needed so that the apple is completely encased in the dough. Place in your baking pan; repeat with the remaining apples and dough.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once it turns clear and golden, begin stirring and watch carefully. Stir and scrape up any bits that form at the bottom of the pan. When the butter turns golden brown and smells nutty begin to slowly whisk in the remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture. Cook briefly, until thickened, and remove from heat – whisk in the vanilla.
Pour mixture over the dumplings. Pour in the 7UP around (not on top of) the dumplings.
Bake for 20 minutes – remove pan from oven and top with the streusel. Bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes, or till golden brown. Serve warm, with ice cream or freshly whipped cream. This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver