About Heather @ Sweet Precision

Hi there, I’m Heather and welcome to my blog Sweet Precision. I’m currently plunging into my thirties and I love to bake cookies, dance in my pajamas, and curl up and read a good book. When I was younger I loved to cook, and I had a dream of one day opening my own peanut butter and jelly restaurant. These days, I live in Michigan with my wonderful husband Matthew and work as an analyst as I wait for the perfect PB&J business plan to materialize.

Apple Crisp Tartelettes

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I received a reminder from Word Press today that Sweet Precision is turning five years old! Sure enough, I took a trip down memory lane and discovered that I made my first post on October 4th, 2012. It’s hard to believe that five whole years have gone by since I worked up the courage to start my blog. In the beginning it was an intimidating process. I didn’t know if anyone would care what I had to say, or let alone take the time to look at my pictures or try the recipes. Now five years later, I’ve joined a wonderful community of bloggers and enjoy the release that comes with baking, photographing, and writing. Although the frequency of my posts ebb and flow, I’ve made a total of 143 posts… that’s hard to believe!

As many of you know, fall is my absolute favorite season. With the 80 degree weather we’ve had recently in Ann Arbor, it’s hard to believe that we’ve transitioned from summer. But the subtle signs of fall are there if you look closely. The air is crisp in the mornings, football season is underway, apples adorn the trees in our local orchards, and who could miss pumpkin spice EVERYTHING?!

My recipe today is a miniaturized version of one of my favorite apple recipes—apple crisp. From a young age, I’ve loved to make apple crisp. I got the original recipe from a Betty Crocker Cookbook and I’ve continually adapted the recipe over the years. It’s one of the few desserts that I don’t need a recipe to make! These miniature apple crisp tartelettes, are a breeze to pull together and will leave you wanting another… and another… and, well you get the idea!

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Miniature Apple Crisp Tartelettes

Ingredients
3 large apples, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter
15 Mini Phyllo Shells

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in center of the oven.

Mix apples, water, white sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon together in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer until apples are partially cooked, about 5 minutes; remove from heat.

Mix brown sugar, oats, flour, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a separate bowl. Use a pastry cutter or 2 forks to mash cold butter into the oats mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place about 1 teaspoon of apple filling in each mini phyllo shell. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of the topping over the filling.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let them cool before serving.



Heather’s Helpful Hints
This recipe will make way more than you need to fill your 15 mini phyllo shells. With the leftovers, I recommend using ramekins to make individual-sized apple crisps. They are perfect to warm up in the microwave for dessert or just because!

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Bananas Foster Monkey Bread

Hello my dear Sweet Precision friends! It feels as though it’s been a lifetime since I’ve written a blog post. You can rest assured that I’ve still been baking (this Key Lime Pie recipe has been a favorite of mine this summer). I’ve simply been remiss when it comes to taking pictures and writing up my recipes.

It’s hard to believe that summer is in full force and (dare I say) even beginning to wind down a little bit. I’ve begun to see some of the students return to campus which is a sure sign that autumn is just around the corner. Matthew and I have had a fun albeit busy summer. I’m looking forward to a couple upcoming weekends when I have nothing (insert gasp) on the calendar. It’ll be nice to relax and enjoy a little rejuvenation time.

I had a good friend from college come to visit Ann Arbor this past weekend. We had a lovely weekend filled with girl talk, pedicures, a barre class, and way more food than we needed to eat! I wanted to make some dessert for our dinner on Sunday and together we landed on this recipe. If you’re looking for a recipe with minimal preparation, this monkey bread fits the bill perfectly. The bananas have a strong smell when the loaf is in the oven but the flavor isn’t overpowering. I think this would be a perfect dish to bring to a breakfast or brunch!

Bananas Foster Monkey Bread
Recipe from All Recipes

Ingredients
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 (7.5 ounce) packages buttermilk biscuit dough, cut into quarters
2 ripe bananas, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
Place a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a loaf pan. Shake the sugar and cinnamon together in a large plastic bag; add the biscuit dough, bananas, and pecans to the bag and shake to coat evenly. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir the brown sugar into the melted butter until completely dissolved. Add the vanilla and stir well. Pour the mixture over the biscuit dough.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
I found baking this loaf in a bundt pan was perfect for the recipe. It cooked evenly in about 35 minutes. Although I placed a cookie sheet underneath to catch any drips, the pan didn’t overflow while cooking.

Touchdown Brownies

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Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Regardless of whether you’re a Patriots or Falcons fan, there’s a good chance you’ll be watching the big game. Although I love football and am a diehard Vikings fan, I usually feel pretty “meh” about the Super Bowl. To be honest, I get more excited about the food, commercials, and halftime show then the actual game. Since I consider dessert to be the best part of any meal, I know it’s important not to forget about sweet treats come game day!

With two posts in one week, the Sweet Precision Kitchen is back up and running in 2017! I had to share this recipe with you, because it’s SO easy and absolutely perfect for a Super Bowl party. So let’s have a quick chat about these brownies. When thinking about brownies you have one thing to consider. Are you the type of person that enjoys cake-like or fudge-like brownies? One reason I enjoy this recipe is because it meets somewhere in the middle between the two extremes. I also love it because it comes together in less than 45 minutes. You can even use boxed brownie mix to cut down on the time—there’s no shame in that!

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Touchdown Brownies Recipe
Adapted from Betty Crocker

Brownie Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Frosting Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 container white decorating icing

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center. Generously grease and flour an 8×8 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

To make frosting, melt butter in a glass bowl in the microwave. Combine 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar.

When brownies are cool, cut into football shapes with a football-shaped cookie cutter. Spread frosting on brownies. Pipe on decorating icing to look like football laces.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
It’s important that you don’t over-mix your batter. To help with this, make sure you beat your eggs before adding them to the mixture. This way they will combine easily with butter and sugar without requiring you to mix more than needed.

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Blueberry Hand Pies

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Okay everyone. It’s time to prepare yourselves. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s that time of year when we’re bombarded with candy hearts, stuffed animals, red roses, and cheap champagne. I’ve never been a big fan of the holiday myself, and Matthew and I never do anything overly extravagant to celebrate. This year we’re opting to cook a romantic dinner for two at home. This is exactly the type of low-key Valentine’s Day celebration that I can appreciate.

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I’ve just started finding my way back into the kitchen to do some baking. I decided to start with a simple recipe that I’ve done many times before. A couple of summers ago, I took a pie baking class at Sur La Table with a friend where they taught us how to make hand pies. Using the same recipe, I simply swapped out my circular cookie cutter for a heart shaped one! You can use any filling that you’d like, I just chose blueberry jam because it is what we had in the refrigerator. Regardless of my feelings about Valentine’s Day, one thing I definitely can support are these homemade heart shaped treats!

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Blueberry Hand Pie Recipe

Pastry Dough Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water

Egg Wash Ingredients
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

Jam Filling Ingredients
3/4 cup jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water

Directions
To make dough, combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Separate into two balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Place racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Remove pie crusts from the refrigerator and roll out to about 1/8 inch thickness. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut approximately 10 hearts from the crust. Place these hearts on a tray in the refrigerator while you’re working on the second crust. After rolling and cutting out each crust, you should have approximately 20 hearts.

Beat your egg and water together to form the egg wash and lightly brush half of the hearts with the egg wash. Place a small amount of jam in the center of each heart. Gently place the remaining hearts over the top and use your fingers to seal the edges. Go over the edges with the tines of a fork for a final seal. Use a paring knife to cut three small vents on the top and brush each heart with the beaten egg.

Place the hearts on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes. You want the tops to be golden and the filling to be bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
There is a fine art to rolling out pastry dough that only comes with practice. I’m still learning as I go along but have found two things that always help with the process. First, always work with well-chilled pastry; otherwise, the dough will stick to the counter and tear. Second, never roll out dough by rolling back and forth over the same section. Each time you press on the same spot, more gluten develops that can toughen the dough.

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Peppermint Meltaways

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There’s nothing like getting in the Christmas spirit. Yet somehow, every year I find myself wishing we could add on an extra week to the beginning of December. Between shopping for presents, decorating the house, attending holiday parties, and baking cookies—its seems as though there is never enough time! Although I do a TON of baking in December, I’m never able to post all the goodies I make. This year I decided to share one of my favorite recipes that I’ve made several times.

I made these peppermint meltaway cookies for a holiday party that Matthew and I had at our apartment. Let’s talk about these cookies a little bit… the addition of cornstarch makes for an incredibly delicate and flaky cookie. They truly do melt in your mouth! The addition of peppermint in both the dough and frosting makes these little morsels a true delight. I like to create fairly small cookies with the dough so you can just pop one into your mouth!

I’ll be signing off of Sweet Precision until the New Year so I hope that everyone has a truly special holiday season with family, friends, and loved ones.

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Peppermint Meltaways
Recipe from Taste of Home

Cookie Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch

Frosting Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

Directions
In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. In another bowl, whisk flour and cornstarch; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 350°. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in milk, extract and, if desired, food coloring. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread or pipe over cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before shaping the cookies into balls. This will help them retain their shape and prevent spreading in the oven. Add the milk to your frosting last and incorporate one teaspoon at a time. This way you can determine how “stiff” you want your frosting. I like mine to be a little less runny, which helps when piping onto the cookies.

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