Apple - is missing and isn't being made automatically

The finder.plist isn't in /Library, it's in
That would be why you couldn't find it.

Quick way to get there…
From Finder
Cmd ⌘ N for New Window
Cmd ⌘ Shift ⇧ G for Go To…
Copy/paste ~/Library/Preferences/ including the tilde ~
Hit Enter ⌅

I'd also consider clearing the Saved Sate at
~/Library/Saved Application State/
It's safe to delete the entire folder contents - data, window etc.