Caramel Apple Skillet Grunt

Grunt…that’s a fun or rather weird word for a yummy dessert, isn’t it? If I were to describe a grunt…I feel more like it’s fruit topped with a sweeter type of biscuit which they call “dumplings.” Since dumplings are traditionally cooked in a soup and therefor don’t necessarily get the nice browning these get, not sure I agree. It goes back to colonial times and is in the same family as crisps, cobblers, betty’s, and pandowdy’s, and slumps. Why? Because you’re cooking fruit with some sort of “crust” on top.

I accidentally subscribed to Taste of Home‘s annual recipes cookbooks. I got it for three years in a row before I finally managed to cancel. I kept two of the cookbooks with me and gave one away as a gift…mainly because I have too many cookbooks I don’t use enough anyways, lol.

So I first experienced a grunt thanks to the 2018 edition. That one is a Skillet Caramel Apricot Grunt. It takes canned apricots, homemade dumplings, and a nice brown sugar glaze. I have made this plenty of time using a variety of other kinds of canned fruits. Always is amazing.

When I was working on my caramel apple upside down pancake recipe (which I still need to post here), I also modified this recipe to go with the fall season and the wonderful apples I was getting from my aunt who lives next door.

I bought a bag of apples a few weeks ago since that seemed the best choice of fruit…especially since I bought fresh berries on Friday and by Monday (today) two of them were moldy all the way through. What the heck? I never had them mold so fast on me before. I was very sad. Anyways, back to apples. I ate half the bag fresh and had four leftover and I noticed today they were getting soft and wrinkly. Thus, I decided to put them out of their misery and make a caramel apple grunt. The recipe still isn’t 100% perfect, but it is definitely getting there!

Normally, I use like a quarter to half a cup of brown sugar depending on the tartness of my apples and like a teaspoon of cinnamon, but I had leftover hotteok filling from my foray into Korean street food, so I used that. It is just brown sugar with cinnamon and walnuts. I did not measure it so it was probably like a quarter to half a cup.

I thought it turned out a little sweet, but overall…this is such yummy, yummy goodness! This goes amazing with coffee or tea. If you have old-fashioned caramel dip and whipped cream…yowza is it good.

Caramel Apple Skillet Grunt

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A warm and sinfully delicious combination of spiced apples and sweet dumplings.

Modified from Taste of Home‘s Skillet Caramel Apricot Grunt.

Apple Filling

  • 4 medium apples, peeled & chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 2 tbsp walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup apple juice


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Brown Sugar Glaze

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp water


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. In a 10″ cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan, melt your butter. Add the chopped apples. Cook 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the juice. Stir to make sure its well incorporated. You’ll want to cook for about 5-8 minutes until it has reduced and thickened a little. Remove from heat and stir in your walnuts if you’re using them.
  5. Time to make the dumplings! In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Whisk it all together until well combined.
  6. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add milk and mix until combined. Don’t pour all of the milk at once, do it a little at a time. This keeps your batter from getting too runny or too dry.
  7. I take one of the larger serving spoons in my kitchen and scoop out the dumplings. You’re supposed to end up with 6. Depending on how I am doing on size, I can get anywhere from 6-8. Place on top of the fruit.
  8. Put in oven and bake until a toothpick comes out of the dumplings clean, about 10-15 minutes.
  9. While the grunt is baking, take your brown sugar and water and combine in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. I stopped every 10 or so seconds to stir until the sugar was completely dissolved.
  10. When the dumplings are ready, pour the sugar mixture over top and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  11. Serve warm with cream or half and half.

I didn’t have plain apple juice nor did I have some lovely apple cider. I would rather use apple cider, but I don’t always have it on hand. I didn’t want to use orange juice or to go into the basement to go through what juices I had available. I had this apple cranberry juice sitting on my counter and thought, why not? Mott’s is decidedly more apple and less cranberry. I was actually kind of hoping more for the acidity of the cranberries, but nope. Overall, you can’t even tell there’s cranberry juice in this at all.

So…go ahead. Use whatever juice you have on hand. Preferably something not too sweet. Actually, if I had thought about it and had the extra apples, I would have done “baked” apples in the slow cooker. These create a wonderful apple juice that I could have used, but I thought of that too late. Next time.


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