Heath Bar Brownies

Heath Bar Brownies

  • Servings: 16 brownies
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Everyone needs a good brownie recipe to have in their back pocket, and this is the one we have in ours. These brownies are fudgy, chocolatey, and contain that little bit of surprise when you bite into a piece of caramel Heath Bar. We love this recipe because it comes together really quickly- even with a quick trip to the grocery store for Heath Bars, we still have these on the table in less than an hour. We have shown them photographed in bite sized pieces because #portioncontrol, but we are known to scoop them hot out of the pan and top them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate sweet treat.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2.25 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs coffee or 1 tsp coffee extract
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 oz Heath Bars, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 11 inch baking dish with parchment paper; spray the parchment with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add the butter and melt until it fully coats the bottom of the pan. Add the chocolate and melt completely. Remove from the heat immediately after the chocolate has melted.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and coffee together. When the chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, add that into the mix as well, whisking as you go to evenly distribute any remaining heat so as not to scramble the eggs.
  4. Use a mesh strainer to sift the salt, baking powder, and flour into the chocolate mix. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together, being careful not to over-mix. Add the Heath Bars to the brownie batter and gently fold them in.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. It will be quite thick, so use a spatula to make sure the batter is in an even layer and touches all sides of the pan.
  6. Bake the brownies for 20 minutes, or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides. Remove the brownies from the oven and cool before slicing. If you are a rabid animal like we are, carefully eat them hot out of the pan with a spoon.


Apple Pie Bars

We love apple desserts in the fall and are always seeking out variations of the traditional apple pie. Pies are great for holidays and have more of a show stopping presentation, but if we are craving a little weekday treat we don’t need to put in all that time decorating and rolling dough. We found this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and modified a few things to make it our own. These Apple Pie Bars have everything we crave from an apple pie but require just a bit less work. A rich crust? Check. Lots of fresh cinnamon apples? Yep. A crumbly buttery streusel topping? Oh yeah. We go the extra mile by topping them with our Bourbon Salted Caramel for the ultimate fall treat. Our resident taste tester, Myles (15 months old), was screaming for more when he tried them – so we are confident these can please any audience.

Apple Pie Bars
Makes: 16 bars
Prep and Cooking Time: 1 hour Inactive Time: 6 hours to overnight

Ingredients For The Crust:

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

Ingredients For The Apple Filling:

  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Ingredients For The Streusel Topping:

  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter, cold and cubed
  • Homemade salted caramel sauce for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 11 Pyrex dish with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Make the crust. Stir the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. The crust batter will seem wet and that’s okay. Press the mixture into the Pyrex using your hands to create an even surface. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. Make the apple filling. While the crust is baking, combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Toss gently so that all of the ingredients are coated on the apples. Set aside.
  4. Make the streusel topping. Mix the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and flour together in a medium bowl.  Take the chopped butter and knead it into the mixture with your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture should be course and resemble crumbly wet sand.
  5. Assemble the bars. Lay the apples on top of the crust in as even of a layer as you can. Gently press the apples into the crust to help combine the layers. Sprinkle the streusel topping on top of the apples in an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Remove the bars from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, before lightly covering them with foil and refrigerating them at least 6 hours, up to overnight. Remove the bars from the pan when you are ready to cut by pulling on the excess parchment paper. Cut the apple pie into 2 inch x 2.75 inch bars; there will be 16 bars. Drizzle with some salted caramel and serve warm or room temperature.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

When Tuck’s mom graduated from culinary school, she took her first cooking job at a bakery in Portland, Maine. The bakery was known for a number of great dishes, but one of the standouts was coffee cake. Tuck’s dad gained approximately 15 lbs that baseball season eating said coffee cake because it really was that good. A moist sour cream batter, lots of fresh blueberries (which are all over Maine in the summer) and a buttery crumb topping that is to die for. We decided to recreate the coffee cake into muffins as an homage to that year in Portland. All the same taste but a smaller portion size so you can eat them guilt free. 

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins 

Makes: 16 muffins 

Prep Time: 15 minutes     Baking Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients for Muffin Batter: 

  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen) 

Ingredients for Crumb Topping: 

  • 1/2 cup flour 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature) 
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put 16 muffin liners into a muffin tin and spray the linters generously with cooking spray. Set aside. 
  2. Make the crumb topping. Gently combine the topping ingredients (flour – cinnamon) in a medium sized mixing bowl. This works best by using your hands and pinching the ingredients together. The final texture should be similar to wet sand. Set the bowl aside. 
  3. Make the muffin batter. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and baking soda. Set aside. 
  4. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until the ingredients are combined and the texture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one and a time, mixing the first in completely before adding the second. Add the vanilla and mix again until combined. 
  5. Alternate adding the sour cream mixture and the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, adding about 1/2 of each at a time and mixing between each addition. When adding the first batch of dry ingredients, add all of the baking powder and salt to the mixing bowl and alternate with just the flour after that. Mix until the batter is just combined; do not over mix. Use a spatula to remove any of the batter from the bottom of the bowl between mixes. 
  6. Add the blueberries to the mixing bowl. Use a spatula to gently mix the blueberries in by hand, being careful to not crush them and turn the batter blue. 
  7. Use a a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter into each of the muffin tins. The batter should come up about 3/4 of the way to the top of the liner. Add about 1 tbs of crumb topping to each of the muffins, using your fingers to break it up across the top of the muffin batter. 
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, testing the center of a muffin with a knife or skewer after 20 minutes. Let the muffins cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. 

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Is there anyone who doesn’t like cookies over the holiday season? We don’t think so. We love these cookies because they can add to your holiday festivities in so many ways. If you want to have a holiday baking day like Tuck’s grandma and aunt in California, you can bake the cookies in advance and leave the frosting and decorating for guests who attend your cookie day. If you want to do the work yourself, they make great hostess gifts, teacher gifts, and presents for people like the mailman. It’s a little gesture that can mean a lot for someone’s holiday. 

We LOVE this particular sugar cookie recipe because of their shameless vanilla flavor. The added touch of vanilla beans to the dough and almond extract to the frosting makes these cookies stand out from the crowd. As for the decorating, we understand that people can get hung up over it. For an excellent tutorial on how to decorate with royal icing, watch this video from Food Network. All you need is a few tooth picks, a small tip piping bag, and food coloring of your choice. We always recommend using gel food coloring so that you don’t water down your icing giving it a color change! 

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies 
Makes: 24 cookies 
Prep Time: 15 minutes   Total Time: 30 minutes for cookies + about an 1 hour for decorating  depending on how many people are helping you 

Ingredients For Cookies:

  • 2 sticks butter, cold and cut into small cubes  
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 large vanilla bean, scraped 
  • 1 tsp almond extract 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 3 cups all purpose flour 

Ingredients for Frosting 

  • 1 lb powdered sugar 
  • 2 tbs meringue powder 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp almond extract 
  • gel food coloring
  • sprinkles, if desired 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, vanilla bean, and almond extract to the butter. Mix until thoroughly blended, scraping the butter from the bottom of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. 
  3. Add the baking powder and flour to the mix. Mix until just combined. Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a large sheet of saran wrap. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before rolling out. If you want to make the dough in advance, keep in the refrigerator for up to two days before baking the cookies. 
  4. Use a rolling pin and a bit of extra flour on the surface of your counter and the dough,  roll the dough into an even sheet- approximately 1/2 inch thickness. Use a variety of holiday themed cookie cutters to cut out the dough, and place each cut cookie onto a cookie sheet. Re-roll the dough as necessary until you’ve used it all up.
  5. Bake the cookies for 6-7 minutes. You want the center to be cooked through but do not want them to brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack before decorating.  
  6. Make the frosting. Combine the frosting ingredients in a mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 5 full minutes, or until the frosting gets a glossy sheen. Give it a taste and add more vanilla or almond, if desired. Mix well to combine.
  7. Divide the frosting into a few smaller bowls and use the gel food coloring to color each small bowl to your desired color. Decorate the cookies as you see fit, using the tutorial above! The frosting recipe is great for outlining the cookies and doing decorations on top of a full icing. We add another +/- 1 tbs of water to the full mix (or a tsp to each smaller bowl) for flooding the cookies. The amount of water can vary- test on a spare cookie until you get the desired frosting texture. 

Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Place Cards

At Tuck & Tate, we think you are never too old for a party favor. It is that little extra that leaves a great impression with guests long after the party is over. Since we always have place cards at Thanksgiving, we thought we would make cookies decorated with everyone’s names as the place card. We adapted this recipe for our pumpkin sugar cookie dough and bumped up the spices in the batter to really give it that fall punch. The cookies are not that sweet, so the frosting is a good and welcome addition. A quick trip to Michaels for some cellophane and ribbon and you have an easy, thoughtful take-home gift. 

Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Place Cards                                                                                                                      
Serving Size: +/- 24 cookies, depending on the shape you cut them                                                           
Prep Time: 15 minutes    Inactive Time: 2 hours    Total Time: 3.5 hours

Ingredients For Cookies:

  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice  
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 2 1/2 cups flour 

Ingredients For Royal Icing:

  • 1 lb powdered sugar 
  • 2 tbs meringue powder (you can buy this at Michaels or any baking store) 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 5-6 tbs water 
  • food coloring of your choice (use the gel type that won’t thin the icing)

Directions:  

  1. Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract, mixing until well combined. 
  2. Add the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder, and flour to the bowl. Mix on a low speed until the batter is just absorbed, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary with a spatula to make sure everything is combined. Pour the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  4. Use a small handful of flour to coat a countertop for rolling out the dough. Roll the dough until it is roughly 1/2 inch thick. Use the cookie cutters of your choice to cut out the cookies, placing them onto a baking sheet. 
  5. Bake the cookies for 6-7 minutes. They might appear pale, but they will be cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  6. While the cookies are cooling, make the icing. Put the powdered sugar and meringue powder through a sieve to make sure it doesn’t have any lumps. Add the vanilla, water, and food coloring to the mix, whisking to combine. When the cookies are completely cool, use a small tip piping bag to decorate the cookies with your guests names. Let the icing dry for at least an hour before placing into cellophane bags.