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Try twists on traditional egg roll

I happen to really love egg rolls – making and eating them. I serve them every couple of weeks and my family thanks me for it.

I became a fan of the dish when I was a child and my parents took me to the Won Kow restaurant in Chinatown in Chicago. Sometimes they would just have egg rolls for dinner and those were some of the best meals I ever ate.

However, these days an egg roll isn’t just an egg roll. I know this because I’ve seen lots and lots of non-Chinese restaurants and fast food manufactures jumping on the egg roll band wagon. They have created interesting items such as Tex-Mex egg rolls, or fun fillings like pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, or a takeoff on a Philly cheese sandwich combining roast beef and cheese.

I’ve tried most of the store-bought and chain-restaurant versions and sadly, I find some of them at best, mediocre, and at worst, tasteless. That’s when I decided to search out some nontraditional egg roll recipes so that I can give my tried and true version a run for its money.

Apple Pie Egg Roll

2 Granny Smith apples peeled and diced (2 heaping cups)

1 lemon, juiced

1/3 cup sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons instant tapioca

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

16 egg roll wrappers

Vegetable spray

Cinnamon sugar mixture (mix cinnamon and sugar together to taste)

3/4 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. In a bowl combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix to combine and let sit for 15 minutes. Lay one egg roll wrapper onto a clean surface and brush around the edges with the beaten egg. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the filling (don’t over fill) on one side of the egg roll wrapper.

Fold the sides over the filling and then brush the folded sides with egg wash. Carefully, from the long end, roll up over the filling, making sure it’s tight, and press gently to seal.

Place the roll, seam side down, on the cookie sheet. Repeat until you use up the filling and wrappers. Spray the top of the rolls with the vegetable spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Makes 14 to 16. Serve immediately with sweetened whipped cream.

Sweetened whipped cream: Place the whipping cream in a mixing bowl and whip until it starts to thicken. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Makes 16.

Sloppy Joe Egg Rolls

1 pound lean ground beef

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard

3/4 cup ketchup

3 teaspoons brown sugar

Salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

1 package egg roll wrappers

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion and green pepper. Drain off any excess fat. Add the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place a scoop of the cooled Sloppy Joe mixture at one end of an egg roll wrapper. Fold in the sides then roll up from the end, making sure to keep it tight when rolling.

Before you finish the roll, brush the edge with water and place the egg rolls, seam side down, on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush the tops of each egg roll with water. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 8 to 10.

– Submitted by Angie Margolis of Chicago Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.