caramel dumplings {and an open letter to this face}

haddy being so sad

Dear Sad Little Face,

Don’t be upset. I know it’s not fair. Life just doesn’t go our way sometimes.

It’s not your fault that your mother chose to be allergic to cats. It would have been so lovely to have one. Keeping a kitten suspended in a birdcage over your bed certainly could have worked. It was a very creative idea. Sometimes parents lack vision.

You can’t help that you’re not a morning person. Some people just need a little longer to get going in the early hours. No judgement here. Colour another picture. Eat a few more fruit loops. Take your time.

haddy waking up

And listen, I understand your distress over the ants. It must have taken a long time to stockpile them in your closet. An ant collection must be carefully curated. Did you bring them in one at a time? I imagine it would have taken hundreds of trips. If only your mother hadn’t decided to vacuum that day.

When your new baby brother arrived? I don’t blame you for getting so upset. I think telling your parents to “take it back,” was a brilliant move. And pointing out that it was dirty and drooling made perfect sense – they were obsessed with closet cleanliness, after all. Too bad they didn’t listen. Too bad it got so darn big.

caramel dumplings | movita beaucoup

Hey, you know what might make you feel better? A sweet treat. How about I make some caramel dumplings? Like the ones your mom used to make. Soft, cakey dumplings floating in an über sweet caramel sauce? It might help you forget that you didn’t get the pony you asked for every year. I could add in some pecans just for you. I know you like little touches like that. Dumplings will warm your belly on a cold fall day, and make you forget your troubles for a spell.

caramel dumplings | movita beaucoup

So, chin up, little friend. The world has lots of exciting things in store for you. You will grow up. You will live in a big city. You will write, and win awards for that writing. You will become an editor and teach at a university. You will travel and tell amazing stories. You will make people laugh over and over again. You will be a best friend to many. You will be the pride of your family. Just you wait and see…

Lots of love,

movita

caramel dumplings | movita beaucoup

caramel dumplings | movita beaucoup

. . .

Caramel Dumplings

adapted from a family recipe

print and bake

Serves 4-6.

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups water

For the dumplings:

  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

You will also need:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Mise en place – begin by getting organized. Measure out all of your ingredients.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. If the sides of your dish are very shallow, place a cookie sheet under the casserole dish during baking to prevent splatters on the oven floor.

Begin by making the sauce. Place the brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter has melted and combined with the sugar, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to gently boil for 4-5 minutes. The sauce will not thicken. As the sauce is cooking, make the dumplings.

To make the dumplings, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, flour, and baking powder. Cut in the butter (with a pastry cutter, two knives or a fork) until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the milk and mix until just combined (avoid over-mixing). It will be a loose batter.*

Pour the sauce into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the pecans over the sauce. Then drop batter by spoonfuls into the sauce. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes. The sauce will sputter as it’s baking – this is normal. The dumplings will get plump and cake-like as they bake, and turn golden. Use a knife or toothpick to check that the dumplings are cooked throughout. The sauce should be hot and bubbling forth from the dumplings. (Handle with care – avoid getting splattered.)

Best if served immediately. (Though we often re-heat leftovers in the microwave!)

* TIP: Adding the milk the dumpling batter at the last minute will give you a softer, floofier dumpling, as the leavener (baking powder) won’t lose its potency. I wait until the sauce has only 1-2 more minutes of cook time, and then add the milk to my dumpling mixture.

44 Responses to caramel dumplings {and an open letter to this face}

  1. mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry September 10, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    Awwwwwwww…. That is all.

    • movita beaucoup September 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

      Right? She’s, like, the cutest.

  2. Dana Staves September 10, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    When my little brother came along, I asked my mom to hold me one day, and she said no, because she was holding my brother. I said, “Baby down.” So, yeah. I get it.

    • movita beaucoup September 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      It’s a wonder the population has continued to grow. I mean, I’m pretty sure I bashed Haddy’s head into a wall when we were kids…

  3. chagrinnamontoast September 10, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    What a face!

    • movita beaucoup September 11, 2013 at 7:12 am #

      Saddest little face in history.

  4. Juls September 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Great, now you’ve brought out all the warm and fuzzy inside.

    • movita beaucoup September 11, 2013 at 7:13 am #

      I’m sorry, Juls. I plan to make fun of Haddy more in the future, so that should make things up to you.

  5. emmalina73 September 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    Those there dumplings represent a little something I like to call love. L.O.V.E. (No chance you are taking on any more sisters?)

  6. denise@chezus.com September 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    What a great post, and those photos are lovely!! And now …. let’s talk dumplings! I am licking the screen. I want to make these. I have up sugar and wheat products for two weeks. You are killing me ….

  7. Cravings of a Lunatic September 10, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    I want you to adopt me into your family. And then write stories like this about me. This is so sweet.

    And those dumplings, oh my. I need those in my life now. With some adoption papers would be ideal. No rush, I can wait. I’ll check back in tomorrow to see how that’s going.

  8. Amy September 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Wow, these dumplings! Is it weird that I only knew savory dumplings existed? I happen to know my hubby would devour this dessert. This post is awfully sweet…and i’m not talking about the sugar 😉

    • movita beaucoup September 11, 2013 at 8:04 am #

      No, Amy, it’s not weird. It’s WRONG (and maybe even SAD), but it’s not weird. Maybe you should eat some sweet dumplings. It’s an important life experience.

  9. Stacy September 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I understand love and sisters. That’s all I have. So I remember when I was pregnant for the second time. And I thought, “Wouldn’t a match set be good? I have a girl. A boy this time would be ideal.” Until it occurred to me that then my eldest wouldn’t have a sister. And I was anxious, potentially devastated, until the ultrasound proved that she would. They are as close as sisters should be. And my work in that regard is done.

    I love this week of tribute to Haddy! And those dumplings are just divine. But shouldn’t you have sprinkled some raisins with the pecans? Just saying.

  10. Jennie @themessybakerblog September 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    When my little brother came along, I hit him in the head with a McDonald’s Happy Meal box. I was rotten and he was crying. These dumplings would definitely make up for that little incident.

  11. rosiebeaucoup September 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    I always think of Haddums as our golden girl.
    Your closeness as sisters enriches the lives of the entire family.

  12. rosiebeaucoup September 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    And, so, you may be wondering – if Haddums is the golden girl, what is Movita? Movita is fluid, of ever-changing colors, a will ‘o the wisp one day and granite rock the next. She is the girl we have truly loved the longest.

    • movita beaucoup September 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      MUMMY! Quit it. Yer makin’ me all weepy ‘n stuff.

      (I loves ya.)

  13. shannonn September 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    I have never wanted to be Hadley Dyer more in my LIFE than i do this week. And I’m about to cry now that i just read what Rosie Beaucoup had to say just then, so i’ll need to stop typing now before everything starts to blur together. *adoptme*

    • movita beaucoup September 11, 2013 at 7:17 am #

      Shannon, there can only be one Hadley Dyer, but we’ll happily accept you into our Beaucoup Training Program. It is a rigorous sort of training, which includes an obstacle course, pie eating contest, and a round of debates at the dinner table. It’s pretty hardcore. THERE CAN BE NO CRYING.

      You should probably start resting now. And tell the Wee One we have a scholarship program for children who exhibit great potential.

      • emma September 18, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

        Can you fast-track me into the BTP?

        • movita beaucoup September 19, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

          Only if you can eat 34 pies in under 30 minutes.

          • emma September 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

            Mini pies! Aha! Victory will be mine.

  14. Beth September 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    What a beautiful post, the sister-love you’ve described so perfectly here has me weeping all over my iPad.

  15. natalie @ wee eats September 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    OMG you’re so sweet! Aw, Haddy, you could add raisin “ants” to your dessert if you’re still missing the ones your mom swept up <3

    Movita, I wish you were my sister. You would be the best sister EVAR!!!

  16. juanitascocina September 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    I get it. Basically, these would heal the world.

  17. Choc Chip Uru September 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Awww this is so sweet. I cannot take this. Actually. That story made me grin 😀
    And delicious job with th dumplings. They look equally sweet!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  18. gottagetbaked September 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Awwwwwwwwww! Sister love is the best. I tortured my little sister when we were young. I’d tickle her until she cried, i read her diary, I had convinced her that she was a boy, and I would hog the one Barbie doll my family owned and made her play with the generic knock offs. Despite all of that, we are as close as can be now. Love this. And love these dumplings.

  19. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen September 10, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Oh.. my gosh this is just the sweetest post I’ve ever read, and I’m not talking about the dessert here. This is such seriously wonderful writing, as I read it I wished I’d thought to write it myself, lol.. what a great letter to your sister as a little girl.. just truly lovely love-ly:) xx

  20. Sharon September 11, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    Who could ever have a sad face with a sister like you, or these dumplings anywhere in the general vicinity? I, personally, have a happy face just thinking about hot caramel sauce in the oven, and your mom’s lovely comments.

  21. Anonymous September 11, 2013 at 4:38 am #

    Natalie, the ants were vacuumed up, just saying…..

  22. Willow September 11, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    This is just about the sweetest, funniest, most heart-warming ode to a person I have ever read. It’s great that you have so many childhood photos, too. I feel all fuzzy inside, so I can only imagine how good it must feel to be your sister!

  23. Lily @ Life, Love, and Cupcakes September 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    What a sweet post!! And those dumplings sound AWESOME!

  24. Kelly Neil September 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    humour + poignancy = the best

  25. wendy@chezchloe September 14, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    Truly adorable. I love how she is sort of blending into that outrageous wallpaper in the second photo.
    You are a lovely, creative thoughtful sister. She’s a lucky one to have landed in your tribe.

  26. emma September 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    I didn’t know you had a brother, too. Why no love for brother? Is he still dirty and drooling? 🙁

    • movita beaucoup September 19, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

      Yah, he’s pretty gross. I guess I should start telling some embarrassing stories about him…

  27. Carla September 19, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Love this post!

  28. Rock Salt September 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    I was not ready for this. NOT READY.

    Excuse me while I dry my keyboard it seems to be inexplicably covered in tears.

  29. movita beaucoup September 29, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Dear Friends and Readers,

    First off, stop crying.

    Second, we are not currently accepting applications to join our family. Should a position become available, we will post a call for resumés, head shots and writing samples.

    Sincerely,
    movita beaucoup

  30. movita beaucoup December 28, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in September 2013. Thanks for stopping by!

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