Save your appetite for apple dumplings: Elbert Women's Club makes treats for Christmas Bazaar

Chancy J. Gatlin-Anderson
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 11/4/21

Yearly for the past few decades, Elbert Women's Club members have crammed into the tiny kitchen of the Russell Gates Mercantile Building in Elbert to make more than 1,000 apple dumplings in …

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Save your appetite for apple dumplings: Elbert Women's Club makes treats for Christmas Bazaar

Posted

Yearly for the past few decades, Elbert Women's Club members have crammed into the tiny kitchen of the Russell Gates Mercantile Building in Elbert to make more than 1,000 apple dumplings in preparation for the Elbert Christmas Bazaar.

The Elbert Women's Club has been active since 1925, with the Christmas Bazaar being held for 55 years. With this being the first year for the bazaar since the start of COVID-19, the ladies of the Elbert Women's Club hope that this year's event will be bigger than ever.

“Last year we didn't have the bazaar, so we took pre-orders,” said Irene Brown, club president. “We made roughly 600 dumplings last year. We sold less than usual, but it was nice not having extra apples left over.”

The club has a goal of selling 1,100 apple dumplings this year. Each dumpling is sold for $5 with all proceeds going toward upkeep of the Russell Gates Mercantile Building. Brown estimates that the club makes roughly $1.50 profit for each apple dumpling sold. The apple dumplings are so beloved by the community that they usually sell out by 2 p.m. on the day of the bazaar.

It takes an extraordinary amount of ingredients to make so many apple dumplings. This year, the club purchased 100 boxes of apples, 12 pounds of butter, 100 pounds of bread flour, and over 1,000 pounds of brown sugar to make both the dumplings and the caramel topping.

Margie Ashura, longtime member of the Elbert Women's Club, is responsible for combining hundreds of pounds of ingredients in a large, commercial mixer to create the sugary pastry dough for the dumplings.

“We typically make about 30 to 35 batches of dumplings each year,” said Ashura. “It really depends on how thick people are rolling them out.”

From preparing the dough to when they pop out of the oven, the process of making over 1,000 apple dumplings takes the ladies of the Elbert Women's Club four full days to complete. Early batches are frozen while those made in the final day are not. Regardless, each dumpling is served hot and gooey with a cup of handmade caramel sauce.

In addition to apple dumplings, a few pies are made each year to be sold at the bazaar. The pies are typically sold for $18.

“Normally when we have a bad apple, we'll cut out the bad spots and then use them to make apple pies,” said Brown. “The pies have gotten so popular that we usually make at least 10.”

The famous apple dumplings will be sold during the Elbert Christmas Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 13. They can be purchased for $5 at both the Russell Gates Mercantile Building and the cafeteria at the Elbert School building.

For more information about the Elbert Women's Club and the upcoming Elbert Christmas Bazar, visit facebook.com/TownofElbert.

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