white chocolate cinnamon chip pretzel bark & BIG news!

You guys…  guess what?!?  I AM WRITING A COOKBOOK!!!  (Yes, all-caps on purpose…  I am excited!)

Some of you have been wondering what’s been going on behind the scenes here at Sweet Anna’s (I know I’ve been pretty quite lately and I’m so sorry about that!!), so here it is…  I am writing a cookbook!

My first ever, really real, printed and bound cookbook!!

I can’t wait to share more with you as I work on this big project over the next several months.  One thing I can tell you now…  keep your eyes open for a Holiday 2015 release date!  (Eeeeek!)

And the real reason you are here reading this…  White Chocolate Cinnamon Chip Pretzel Bark.  Just 5 ingredients and less than 5 minutes of work, and you’ve got a fabulous, sweet & salty treat you will love.

White Chocolate Cinnamon Chip Pretzel Bark | Sweet Anna's

Whip this up soon (or get one of your kids to make it for you…  it’s that easy!)… you won’t regret it!!

white chocolate cinnamon pretzel bark & some BIG news!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white chocolate baking chips
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon baking chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup small pretzels
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Directions

Place the white chocolate chips in a small bowl. Place the cinnamon chips and 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil into another small bowl.

Microwave both bowls for 20 seconds at a time, stirring REALLY well in between each round until just melted and smooth. You don't want to heat the baking chips too much, just melt them!

Spread the melted white chocolate chips onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper, about 1/4 of an inch thick. Dollop the melted cinnamon chips all over the top of the white chocolate and then gently swirl with the tip of a butter knife until pretty and swirly.

Immediately press the pretzels gently into the top of the bark, covering as much area as you would like, and then sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Let the bark cool at room temperature for 1-2 hours until completely set. Cut or break into pieces and serve immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. (If they last that long!) ;o)

http://sweetannas.com/2015/01/white-chocolate-cinnamon-chip-pretzel-bark-big-news.html

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!