spiced honey nut granola

I’m standing in my kitchen surrounded by the intoxicating aroma of baking granola.  The sweet, spicy smells and the anticipation of the perfect crunchy satisfaction are almost driving my bonkers, and my stomach is growling insistently.

There is almost nothing better than baking a batch of fresh, homemade granola.  It is so incredibly simple to throw together, and the scent of granola in the oven is just plain heaven.  The sweet, nutty, cozy aroma just screams fall!

honey nut granola | Sweet Anna's

Have you ever made homemade granola?  If you haven’t, now’s the time!  Making granola is about the easiest thing you can do in your kitchen.  (And it’s an easy hands-on project for the kids too, if that’s your sort of thing!)

With less than 5 minutes of prep, and into the oven, sometimes I think I could make granola every day.  We snack on it by the handful and enjoy it on our morning bowls of yogurt.

honey nut granola | Sweet Anna's

Of course, I rarely seem to be able to make the same recipe twice (there are just too many fun variations of granola to enjoy!) but this spiced, nutty version is definitely one of my favorites.

And really, what’s better than a quick bowl of homemade granola and yogurt on a busy fall morning?!

spiced honey nut granola

Yield: makes about 8 cups of granola

Ingredients

  • 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 cups sliced almonds, or other chopped nuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, spices and salt.

(I like my granola pretty mild since we usually eat it with yogurt and jam. If you want a sweeter granola, increase the brown sugar to 1/2 cup!)

In a small bowl, melt together the coconut oil and the honey in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until just melted (you can also do this in a small pan on the stove).

Stir the honey mixture into the oat mixture until well coated. Spread evenly onto a large, rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and stir in the nuts, and then bake another 15-20 minutes, until the granola is golden.

Remove from the oven and cool completely, stirring occasionally as it cools to prevent big clumps (unless you like big clumps, then by all means, leave it be!)

http://sweetannas.com/2014/10/spiced-honey-nut-granola.html

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What’s your favorite way to eat granola?  On yogurt?  With milk?  Just plain??

Perfectly Fudgy Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Brownies

You guys.  You guys!  I am so so so excited about these brownies.

I’m not even exaggerating saying I was tearing up when I tasted the first one out of the pan.  The first bite crackled as it hit my tongue and then dissolved into a dense, chewy, moist, fudgy bite of perfect brownie.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Perfectly Fudgy Brownies | Sweet Anna's

But why all the dramatic tearing up, you ask?

Here it is: I struggle with restrictive-diet foods.  I hate making something that is only “ok”, or even “good, for being gluten free”.  I currently don’t have anyone in my immediate family on restrictive diets, but I have so many friends and loved ones who are.  And it breaks my heart to only have half-way things to offer them.

Food matters to me.

Beyond nutrition and basic needs, food is important.  Food cements our memories and our experiences, infusing them with an unforgettable taste and aroma that have the power to bring up the face of our beloved grandma with just a bite of her famous cookie recipe.  Or a memory of the day we gave birth to our firstborn, because we ate spicy thai food that morning.

However your experience looks…  food matters.

And even when I can’t serve the people I care about my favorite treats,  I want to serve you something great.  Something memory making.  Something that makes you forget that there is any other option of that type of treat.  A just-as-good treat, if not better that the memory you have, instead of a good-enough treat that just barely reaches the edge of a craving.

So, I’ll stop talking and give you what you want now.  If you can’t eat gluten or dairy, I hope you enjoy these.  And if you can, I hope you can enjoy the feeling of having a great recipe to bless your gluten-free or dairy-free friends with.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Perfectly Fudgy Brownies | Sweet Anna's

I love you, friends!  Enjoy!

Perfectly Fudgy Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Brownies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix*
  • 1 1/2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13" glass baking dish with coconut oil, lay a piece of parchment paper down and then grease that.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and baking soda. Whisk in half of the melted coconut oil until smooth, then whisk in the hot water until smooth and thick.

Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, salt & eggs until smooth, then the remaining coconut oil.

*When you measure the flour mix, please stir it up well before scooping, or use a spoon to spoon it into your measuring cups so it's not overpacked. I use Namaste Perfect All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend because I love it and it's readily available at Costco and Amazon.

Sprinkle the flour over the top of the batter in the bowl and then 1 cup of the chocolate chips on top of that. Use a fork or spatula to gently mix in the flour, just until the flour is mixed in.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and bake for 30-40 minutes.

(Start checking them at 30 minutes, and then every few minutes until they are just set and the brownies start to pull away from the edges of the pan. Don't overbake these. They will finish off baking in the pan as they cool on the counter!)

Let cool completely before cutting for prettiest results (if you can wait that long!).

http://sweetannas.com/2014/10/perfectly-fudgy-gluten-free-dairy-free-brownies.html

Oh, and Costco chocolate chips (Kirkland Signature Brand) are naturally Dairy-Free!  YAY!

toasted coconut maple granola

It’s fall!  It’s fall!!

Wait, it’s not fall yet, is it?

Well, it sure is starting to feel like fall around here, and to celebrate…  homemade coconut maple granola filled my kitchen with delicious smells this morning!

Toasted Coconut Maple Granola | Sweet Anna's

It’s cloudy outside and I’m ready for boots and sweaters and scarves, and all things pumpkin…  mmm, I love fall!

Have you ever made homemade granola before?  Because the store-bought stuff really just doesn’t even compare.

I like my granola simple, lots of oats, some coconut, maybe some nuts, but if you like yours full of other things, feel free to substitute out some of the oats for whatever you’d like!

Whatever you do, get busy making some granola.  At this end of the summer season, there really is nothing better than a big bowl of fresh blueberries or peaches topped with plain yogurt and a generous sprinkling of homemade granola.

[Read more...]

Fudgy Twix Brownies

Because you can never have enough brownies…  especially when said brownies are chewy, fudgy, and loaded with chopped up Twix candy bar pieces, right?

Fudgy Twix Brownies | Sweet Anna's

I know, I know…  enough with the brownie recipes already.  You guys are probably sick of them by now, aren’t you?

I don’t know why I just can’t seem to stop.  Maybe it’s because they are so easy to make, so incredibly satisfying, or so crowd-pleasing?  Whatever the reason, I haven’t gotten tired of making brownies from scratch yet.

[Read more...]

Easy Cherry Amaretto Crisp

Because cherries are bliss.  And cherries + amaretto are a match made in heaven!

Easy Cherry Amaretto Crisp | Sweet Anna's

This crisp is just the best thing that has come across my table in a long time.  I can’t get over how lovely these flavors are, and I’m kind of mad at myself for taking this long to throw this simple, delicious dessert together!

Do you ever just have to bake?  Your mind and spirit feeling like it will burst if you don’t get in that kitchen right now and make something beautiful and delicious that will bring smiled to the faces around you (or even just your own)?  The need to fill your house with heavenly scents that stop a busy mind in its tracks upon entering your door?

Food is my love language.  Or rather, food is the love language I speak.  And creating in the kitchen is how I de-stress.  Maybe because I can usually control the movements and outcomes in my kitchen.  Maybe because mostly good things come out of my kitchen.  Maybe because it just smells so darn good in here.

Whatever the reason, my kitchen is my solace.  Baking is my passion.  And cooking fun meals for people who appreciate them is right up next to baking on the list!

(See how I didn’t just say ‘cooking is my passion’?  Because ever since I married had kids, I don’t find as much joy in cooking.  But if I know someone is easy to please, or extra appreciative of a good home-cooked meal, I am all over it!)

Anyways, end of my ramblings and back to the crisp at hand…

If you don’t have frozen cherries, you can absolutely use fresh.  The cooking time will be less, so just keep an eye on it for bubbling and a golden brown top!

I like a mix of about half tart cherries and half sweet cherries.  If you have all tart cherries, add a bit more sugar to the fruit mixture.  If you have all sweet cherries, cut the sugar back a bit if you’d like.

However you do it, throw this quick dessert together soon.  You will be sure to impress your loved ones with this one!

Easy Cherry Amaretto Crisp | Sweet Anna's

Easy Cherry Amaretto Crisp

Yield: serves 8-10

Ingredients

    for the filling:
  • 8 cups total, frozen cherries (4 cups tart cherries, 4 cups sweet cherries, if you have them!)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • for the topping:
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur*

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

In a 9x13" baking dish, mix together the cherries, sugar, flour, amaretto, cinnamon and salt until combined; Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, almonds, flour, cinnamon and salt until well mixed. Stir in the melted butter and the amaretto until combined. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the cherry mixture in the baking dish.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or lots of fresh whipped cream!

*If you don't have amaretto liqueur, feel free to substitute some pure almond extract. About 1 teaspoon of extract is equal to 1 tablespoon of liqueur!

http://sweetannas.com/2014/07/easy-cherry-amaretto-crisp.html

recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats