The Cookie Lady

The other day a friend introduced me to her daughter-in-law as “The Cookie Lady”.  Can I just tell you how much that warmed my heart?

You see, it wasn’t about pride or feeling like she was giving me a pat-on-the-back, but rather… My sweet Grandma, who entered heaven’s gates a few years ago, was often referred to as “The Cookie Lady”.

grandma b 1

Grandma was known and loved for her generous heart, always wanting to take care of others, and make them smile, especially by blessing them with a favorite treat… So often fresh baked cookies.

The Cookie Lady

I hardly remember a day that Grandma wasn’t baking something and she was so great at letting all of us grandkids help in the kitchen. (Goodness, I wish she was still here to ask for tips in that area… I so struggle with letting my kids in the kitchen with me!)

Yesterday I made one of her most famous cookie recipes. Untouched and unchanged, I measured and mixed and baked just as she did so often.

The card I looked at (unnecessarily, as I could make these cookies almost in my sleep!) was written in her own distinctive handwriting and pulled at my heartstrings.  I could almost feel her next to me, gently nudging me along and smiling.

I was thrilled when my family happily devoured the cookies, and some friends with distant connections to my grandma stopped by and got to have a few cookies with us.  My heart was fuller than it has been in a long time that day, and you know what?  I believe Grandma was watching all along and smiling at me from heaven.

She was a marvelous soul, my sweet grandma.  And I am honored to stumble behind in her footsteps as “The Cookie Lady”.

grandma b 2

**I am so sorry about the lack of posting lately!  I have been computer-less for several weeks, but my new one is coming this week, and I have a glorious new Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free PERFECTLY Fudgy Brownie recipe coming your way as soon as it does!**

cinnamon chip pumpkin blondies

Pumpkin already?!  Well, it’s raining and cool here today.  My kids start school in a week and a bit, and yours are probably close to it if not there already.

It doesn’t get much more fall-ish than this!

Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Blondies | Sweet Anna's

So, to celebrate the beginning of fall (my favoritest season!) and the excitement of back-to-school (yay!), and the return of my all-time-favorite-cinnamon-baking-chips… here is an easy, delicious, fall-filled treat that will make your house smell amazing and your tummies happy.

If you’re looking for something different than your usual pumpkin bars/breads and you’re as ready for fall as I am, make these pumpkin blondies soon!

They are sweet, dense, flavorful, everything you love in a great brownie, but loaded with pumpkin and spices instead.  Delicious!

cinnamon chip pumpkin blondies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted & slightly cooled
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pure pumpkin purée (one 15oz can)
  • 1 2/3 cup cinnamon chips (one 10oz bag), divided (1 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9x13" glass baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted & cooled butter and the sugars until very smooth (and not warm at all). Whisk in the egg, vanilla & pumpkin until smooth.

Gently whisk in the flour mixture and then fold in the 1 1/3 cup cinnamon chips.

Spread the batter into the greased 9x13" baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup cinnamon chips over the top of the batter.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.

Let cool completely before cutting and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 weeks if you'd like!

http://sweetannas.com/2014/08/cinnamon-chip-pumpkin-blondies.html

recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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