Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee

Yep, I said Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee.  Coffee Toffee…  Say that 10 times fast!  This sweet almond-roca-ish treat is easy to make, and more importantly – easy on the teeth!  (We all know, not all toffees can make that claim!)

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

All you need is a good pot, a cheap candy thermometer, and a whisk.  Easy, peasy!

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

If you really want to spoil someone you love this holiday season, this is the treat to make.  The hint of coffee and maple syrup are just out of this world in the sweet/salty toffee base, and chocolate and toasted almonds round out the topping!

You all know my love of Starbucks VIA instant coffee packets for baking (you remember this ice cream recipe from this summer, right?) and this toffee recipe is no disappointment.  Even if you don’t use them for anything else (I don’t drink them!) grab a box at the store and keep them on hand for baking.  Add them to brownie batter, cookie dough, ice cream, etc. and you will learn to love their versatility as much as I do!

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

I am a big fan of homemade Christmas gifts.  Now, if I was handy enough, I would probably do all homemade gifts.  But all I do is bake, so my usual MO is to add baked goods, treats, homemade vanilla, etc. to the Christmas presents we give.  A little homemade love + a little store-bought token = a perfectly well-rounded gift, in my opinion!

(Hint: It’s not too late to make Homemade Vanilla Extract for your friends/family this Christmas.  It’s such a fun, unique gift…  And about the easiest thing in the world to make!)

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pouch Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled**

Instructions

  1. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. In a medium-large heavy pot with a candy thermometer clipped to the side, dump in the butter, sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt and instant coffee*. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer registers 250ºF.
  3. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel reaches 290-300ºF.
  4. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the vanilla extract and then the baking soda. Pour onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the top evenly with the chocolate chips.
  5. Let the chocolate chips sit for about 3-4 minutes, until they are all soft and shiny, and then spread the melted chocolate gently with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Sprinkle the top with the toasted almonds. Let cool completely (in the fridge if your kitchen is too warm!) before breaking into bite-sized pieces and storing in an airtight container!
  6. *If you don't have any Starbucks VIA pouches, you can use regular instant espresso. I just hate buying that little jar and knowing how stale it was every time I wanted to use it!
http://sweetannas.com/2015/11/salted-caramel-coffee-toffee.html

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen!

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies

Chewy, moist, lightly-spiced, gluten free molasses cookies…  These cookies have all the comfort of your favorite family recipe with a fun secret ingredient and without the gluten (but you’d never know!).

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's

Here we go again!  Another gluten-free recipe conversion.  Now, I am definitely not going to be an exclusively gluten-free blog, but for now I have a child who can’t have gluten and that means you will be seeing several new recipes here and there.

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's

Sometimes I get so down about this whole gluten free thing.  I hate seeing Bjørn’s hurt and longing for things he used to have (we have yet to find a decent gluten free bagel or donut – tips appreciated!), and the extra brain-power involved is just plain exhausting.

I long for the days of easy food choices and grabbing anything handy to feed my kids, but that is just not our life anymore, and it’s time for me to to put on my big girl pants and get over myself!

Yes, this is hard.  But my love for him is huge, and every gluten free thing I make is a physical act of love for him.  And my goodness, you should see his joy when I can answer “Yes!” to his never ending “Is this gluten free?” question!

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's

These cookies were a no-brainer to put on top of the list of recipes to convert, because it’s a family favorite around here.  My grandma’s original Molasses Crinkles Cookie recipe (which is in my cookbook – releasing in June!) is one of our must-haves in the fall, especially on the Christmas table.  (And every time I get a craving during the holiday season!)

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's

The blackstrap molasses in these cookies makes them a bit healthier than the originals, and a few delicious essential oils are the perfect compliment to the warm richness of the dough.

Trust me, you won’t notice anything is missing, and you will love these as much as our family does!

 

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 3 drops clove Young Living essential oil**
  • 2 drops ginger Young Living essential oil**
  • 1 drop cinnamon bark Young Living essential oil**
  • 4 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. *I use Namaste brand Gluten Free Organic Perfect Flour Blend. As with all gluten-free recipes, your recipe may turn out differently with a different brand of gf flour!
  2. **PLEASE don't use just any brand of essential oils. Not all brands are safe for internal consumption, Young Living is the only brand I trust for my family! (Email me if you want to chat!) And of course, if you don't have essential oils right now, feel free to use 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in place of the oils!
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, coconut oil and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in the egg, molasses and essential oils until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour blend, salt and baking soda and then add the mixture carefully into the mixing bowl and mix until just well combined.
  4. Cover and place the dough into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. When you are ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop the dough out (with a small scoop) about 2-3 inches apart.
  5. Press the dough down gently with a fork dipped in cold water, and then sprinkle each pressed cookie with sugar. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until just set and no longer wet looking in the middle.
  6. Let cool on the baking sheets and then transfer to an airtight container to store in the freezer!
http://sweetannas.com/2015/11/gluten-free-chewy-molasses-cookies.html

Gluten Free Chewy Molasses Cookies | Sweet Anna's

No-Bean Pumpkin Chili (Whole30 & Paleo friendly!)

No beans and wholesome ingredients make this cozy pumpkin chili a perfect Whole30, or Paleo friendly meal.  It is rich, comforting, easy and the best part – it tastes even better the longer it sits.

Make a double batch if you have a big enough pot and freeze some for a busy day.  You’ll be so happy to have this ready to go!

No-Bean Pumpkin Chili (Whole30 & Paleo friendly!) | Sweet Anna's

I am on Day 5 of the Whole30 (If you’re not sure what that is, Google away! It’s great!)…  The only side-effect I’m having right now is that I am absolutely starving all the time, no matter how much I eat. (Starving!)

This chili is the perfect solution to that problem.  I really don’t think it’s even possible to eat this and still be hungry, there is so much meat and good things in it!

Don’t let the “healthy” part deter you, though…  if you are serving this to your kids, or you don’t care about Whole30 or Paleo recipes,  then by all means top this with some shredded cheese, sour cream and your favorite chips!  It will be a crowd pleaser, for sure!

No-Bean Pumpkin Chili (Whole30 & Paleo friendly!) | Sweet Anna's

I will absolutely be making this again and again, and I have to say… as much as I love beans, it was kind of nice to have a bean-free chili for once!

 

Pumpkin No-Bean Chili (Whole30 & Paleo friendly!)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons 21 Seasoning Salute*
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil**
  • 3 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 large onions, chopped and divided (3/4 + 1/4)
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños seeded and diced (if the flesh is too spicy, only use one!)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups pumpkin purée
  • salt & pepper
  • chipotle chili powder, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients.
  2. *"21 Seasoning Salute" is from Trader Joe's and Costco has an almost identical blend called "Organic No-Salt Seasoning". If you don't have either of those stores near you, don't worry. The chili will be just fine without it!
  3. In a large 4-6 quart pot or dutch oven, heated over medium high heat, brown the ground beef in two batches, seasoning each half with a generous spoonful of the spice blend. Remove the first batch to a plate while you are browning the second batch of meat and then scoop the second batch of meat onto the plate also. Don't worry about cooking the meat through at this point, just get a good browned sear on it!
  4. **If the meat was very lean, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot. If the meat was not as lean, drain off all but about two tablespoons of the grease and don't use any additional oil.
  5. Stir about 3/4 of the chopped onions, the bell peppers and the jalapeños into the hot oil or grease in the pot. Season with a generous spoonful of the seasoning, and some salt & pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to brown. Stir in the garlic and let cook for about 30 seconds, until very fragrant, before adding back in the meat (along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate!), the crushed tomatoes and the pumpkin.
  6. Stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to make sure you get up any good bits on the bottom, and add in the rest of the seasoning mixture. Stir well to combine, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for as long as you can!
  7. At this point, taste for seasoning and add more salt & pepper as needed, and if it's not spicy enough for you, add some chipotle chili powder (or crushed red pepper flakes if that's what you have!).
  8. Stir in the remaining chopped onions just before serving, or sprinkle onto the top of each bowl for a nice fresh bite!
  9. You can eat the chili right away, but like all chilis, it gets better the longer it sits. That's why the batch is so big... feed a crowd, or save the rest for other meals!
http://sweetannas.com/2015/10/no-bean-pumpkin-chili-whole30-paleo-friendly.html