This month, we’ve been asking food bloggers what they make for dinner when they’re home alone. Today, Sarah from A House In the Hills shares these mini apple pies, which she dips in salted caramel. (Holy!) Here goes…

Apple Hand Pies (With Salted Caramel)
By Sarah Yates of A House In the Hills

When my husband goes out of town, I often find myself in the kitchen baking away my afternoons. There’s something so self-indulgent (in the best possible way) about spending hours making sweet treats just for the joy of it. And these apple hand pies? They were one such solo adventure. Perfectly sized for dipping, I find they’re best enjoyed with a salted caramel sauce—the more salt the better, in my opinion!

This recipe is dairy-free, but feel free to substitute the coconut spread with butter, and the coconut milk with heavy cream if that’s what you’d prefer. I haven’t found a gluten-free pie crust for this recipe that works the way I’d like it to, but if you have suggestions, I’d love to hear!

Recipe: Apple Hand Pies With Salted Caramel Dipping Sauce
Makes 12 hand pies with 1 3/4 cup of dipping sauce

You’ll need:
For the pie crust:
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup of coconut spread (sub butter, or hardened coconut oil)
1/3 cup + 3 tbsp. ice water

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups of peeled, cored and chopped pink lady or Fuji apples
1 tsp. flour
1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar

For the caramel:
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. Maldon sea salt (more to garnish)
1 1/2 cups of coconut milk cream (2 cans of coconut milk refrigerated overnight)

What to do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl combine apples, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar. Mix and set aside.

In a food processor fitted with an “S” blade, combine flour, salt and sugar to start creating your pie crust. Add coconut spread to food processor and pulse until the flour is mixed, when you squeeze the mixture it should stick together. Add 1-2 tablespoons more coconut spread if needed. Add ice water and pulse until dough is sticky enough to form into a ball.

Remove dough and place on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to flatten to 1/4″ thickness. Be careful to not over-handle the dough, roll only as much as needed, in one direction, to flatten it. Use a 3.5″ biscuit cutter to create 12 circles. Roll each circle a couple of times to further flatten.

Scoop a spoonful of apple mixture onto each dough circle, fold over and press edges with a fork to seal. Cut three small slices in the top of each hand pie. Place pies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until crust is golden on the edges. Let cool before serving.

For the sauce:

Prepare coconut milk cream by scooping out the solid cream from the cans and separating from the liquid underneath. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the solid cream and set aside.

In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine sugar and 3/4 cup water. Whisk over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Simmer over medium heat until mixture begins to darken to a medium amber color. If available, use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature until it reaches 350 degrees. Be careful not to burn the sugar, if judging doneness with your eyes err on the side of too light. Add vanilla extract, salt and coconut cream. Be careful, mixture will bubble when you add to it, so stand back!

Use a wooden spoon to combine ingredients and stir the caramel sauce while cooking for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully pour into serving bowls (or a storage container to save for later) Sprinkle with additional Maldon salt when serving (optional). Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Re-heat in a pan over low heat when serving after refrigerated.

Thank you, Sarah!

P.S. More best recipes, including apple crisp and olive oil cake.

(Photos and recipe by Sarah Yates of A House In the Hills. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)