The Fizzy Ingredient To Boost The Richness Of Apple Dumplings

How do you feel about using soda in your cooking endeavors? Some cooks swear by the tenderizing power of a Dr. Pepper on a pot roast, while others love to add Coca-Cola or root beer to their secret barbecue sauce. Oddly enough, despite its generally high sugar content, soda is less commonly used in crafting sweet desserts — outside of the odd root beer float, that is. So is there a place for soda in baking? 

When it comes to apple dumplings, the answer is a resounding yes. Of course, apple dumplings are a throwback recipe to colonial times, when settlers and pioneers would take New World apples, cover them with their Old World biscuits, and then bake them all in a sweet liquid. It was a sweet cousin to chicken and dumplings and has long endured as an easy yet delicious dessert. 

Today, the recipe is still a homey option for bakers, with convenience items like store-bought biscuits or croissant dough taking the place of homemade dumplings. Another new addition to the modern apple dumpling formula? A bit of sweet and fizzy Mountain Dew. Acting as the sweet poaching liquid for the apples and dumplings, Mountain Dew brings a kiss of citrus to the mix, making for a truly sweet and tender treat.

A helping hand from Mountain Dew soda

To give your apple dumplings a sweet soda spin, start with picking the right apples for the job. You'll want to choose firmer apples so they'll withstand the long cooking time without becoming overly mushy. You'll also want to opt for an apple with a more tart flavor profile, as there will be plenty of excess sugar present in the Mountain Dew and sugary filling. Generally, a variety like Granny Smith apples will fit the bill the best.

Next, you'll pick your dumpling dough. If you're going the store-bought route, many bakers like to wrap their sugared apple wedges in a buttery crescent roll dough. However, some opt for the more crisp option of store-bought pie dough. (You can also make your own dumpling dough — it's up to you.)

Once you've sugared and wrapped up your apple dumplings, you'll place them in a baking dish and pour in that crucial soda. About 3/4 cup of Mountain Dew should be enough to steam 8 large or 16 small dumplings; if you feel like experimenting with even more flavors, other citrus sodas — like 7-Up, Sprite, or Squirt — can work just as nicely here. Bake your dumplings at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes and serve piping hot, preferably with a generous scoop of ice cream. One taste, and you may never use anything else for your dumpling poaching liquid again!