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


  • 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**


  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!

Salted Caramel Coffee Toffee | Sweet Anna's

recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen!

Fresh Strawberry Pie with Cardamom Shortbread Crust

Fresh Strawberry Pie with an Easy Cardamom Shortbread Crust & Fresh Cardamom Whipped Cream!

I just can hardly contain my excitement when it comes to our local strawberry season.  I become obsessed for the entire duration.  I wake up dreaming of berries and I go to bed with stained fingers.  No joke!

Maybe it’s the long-time city kid in me, but I just can’t believe that I get to drive 5 minutes to the most gorgeous berry farm and grab freshly picked berries all summer long.  You guys!  It is just bliss!

Fresh Strawberry Pie with a Cardamom Shortbread Crust  | Sweet Anna's

We can pick our own berries if we are feeling fiesty, but usually I just grab a couple of already picked flats and enjoy the fruits of my non-labor.  With 3 little kids always in tow, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Now, we all love berries, so we usually don’t get much farther than eating the berries as fast as we can, with a few batches of freezer jam thrown in for good measure.  But this morning I was hit with a bit of nostalgia and I just couldn’t resist whipping up a fresh strawberry pie.

Fresh Strawberry Pie with a Cardamom Shortbread Crust  | Sweet Anna's

Does anyone else remember the days of Marie Callender’s restaurants?  (Are they still around at all?!)  I don’t remember much about the food, but I do remember that I lived for their fresh strawberry pie when it came into season and I would just dream of the chance to go eat there and have a slice.  I was never disappointed with that slice of amazing strawberry goodness, and this morning I couldn’t figure out why I had never made one myself?!

I threw together a quick press-in-the-pan shortbread crust, and an easy glaze made out of my homemade strawberry freezer jam.  Adding a touch of cardamom was a given, as my norwegian blood can never get enough, but if you are not a cardamom fan, feel free to leave it out.

Fresh Strawberry Pie with a Cardamom Shortbread Crust  | Sweet Anna's

This pie is best served the day it’s made.  I can’t tell you how it is on day two, it will never last that long around this house!

(My pie philosophy is: “If you’re going to make a pie, you might as well make two!” which is why this recipe makes two deep-dish pies.  You could even make this in one big 9×13″ pan if you’d like!  As I’m sure you can guess, fresh strawberry pie is not the easiest thing to slice and serve, but even with a mess of a plate, I can promise that your tastebuds and your loved ones will be happy!)

Fresh Strawberry Pie with a Cardamom Shortbread Crust  | Sweet Anna's

Also, the amount of strawberries needed is just an estimate.  Use enough to fill your pie crust.  That’s what matters!

Fresh Strawberry Pie with Easy Shortbread Crust and Cardamom Whipped Cream

Yield: 2 deep-dish pies, or one 9x13" 'slab' pie


    for the crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • for the pie:
  • 4 lbs fresh ripe strawberries, washed & stems removed
  • 1 cup strawberry freezer jam
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom


  1. In a large mixer bowl, mix together the butter, flour and powdered sugar for the crust until just combined. Divide the mixture in half and press each half into the bottom and up the sides of a deep-dish pie plate. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes while the oven preheats.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the crusts for 12-18 minutes, until golden, and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
  3. When the crusts are cool, in a large bowl, whisk together the strawberry jam and water until smooth. Dump in the strawberries and toss very gently (use your hands!) to coat all the berries. Arrange them evenly into the two cooled pie crusts.
  4. Chill in the fridge while you make the whipped cream, and up to several hours, before serving!
  5. To whip the cream, whisk together the heavy cream, powdered sugar and cardamom in a cold bowl until very light and fluffy. Chill until you are ready to serve!

browned butter pasta with roasted root veggies

Browned butter, infused with fresh rosemary and tossed with a whole menagerie of roasted root veggies, pasta (and chicken if you’d like!).  I’m telling you, it just doesn’t get much simpler or much more ‘comfort-food’ than this!

Browned Butter Pasta with Roasted Root Veggies | Sweet Anna's

Our favorite little local farm store sells big grab bags of root veggies for roasting.  It’s so much fun to get a variety of things we might not normally try and everything tastes so great roasted together!

browned butter pasta with roasted root veggies | Sweet Anna's

This last bag had carrots, purple and russet potatoes, red and golden beets and what I think are parsnips.  :o)   I added a big red onion and some garlic cloves and tossed it all in a good dose of garlic infused and regular olive oils, salt & pepper, and a bunch of fresh chopped rosemary.

Let me just tell ya…  from the minute this was put in the oven, the whole house smelled amazing.  (When are they going to invent smell-o-vision anyways?!)

Of course, because I am a pasta addict – I boiled some penne and made a simple browned butter sauce to toss it all together with.  So simple, so easy, and absolutely packed full of flavor.  Serve this with freshly shaved or grated parmesan, if you’ve got some.  We love it with and without!

I’ve made this dish several times now, and it’s always a favorite, no matter how I mix it up.  Sometimes I change up the herbs.  Sometimes I skip the onions.  Sometimes I add some leftover chicken, if I’ve got it on hand.  However you do it, roast up some veggies, cook some pasta, brown some butter and toss it all together and you’ve got an easy crowd-pleasing meal!

browned butter pasta with roasted root veggies


  • 5 lbs, or so, root veggies, variety (carrots, beets, potatoes, parsnips...)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed or whole
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive or melted coconut oil oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • freshly shaved parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Cut all the veggies and onion into similar bite-sized pieces. Place all the veggies and garlic on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Drizzle with oil and salt & pepper to taste. Toss well with your hands to make sure everything is coated.

Place in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes, until all the veggies are tender and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the veggies are roasting, boil a large pot of salted water and cook the noodles according to package directions.

While the water is boiling, melt a stick of butter in a large skillet (preferably light colored interior, but not necessary!) over medium heat.

Continue to cook, swirling occasionally until the butter starts to foam and then turn golden. Watch closely at this point, as it can burn easily. As soon as the butter looks nice and golden (here's where the light-colored skillet helps!) and smells very toasty and fragrant, pull it off the heat & stir in the rosemary.

Toss everything together in a large bowl or in the now drained pot and serve with freshly shaved parmesan cheese if desired!