Monthly Archives: January 2016

Auntie Ruth's Cinnamon Brownies

Cinnamon Brownies

I admit it.  I’m a brownie snob. I have no interest in brownies from a boxed mix because they lack personality and usually taste like chemicals.  But with that being said, there are four boxed mixes I love.  They are from a small business I owned in the 1990’s called Auntie Ruth’s. The brownies taste home-made because there are no preservatives, and to make the brownie mixes, you add melted butter and real eggs. Plus, my mixes included a flavorful frosting mix.  I never made money from the business, and eventually stopped production of the mixes. Since my recipes made ten batches of brownies, I only made them for special occasions after I stopped production.

A few years ago, I wanted to make my brownies and looked for the recipes. I couldn’t find them anywhere and think the recipes had been in a box I took to the shredder.  I had also saved them on an old floppy disc that is long gone.  It doesn’t really matter, I don’t have a computer that could open the disc.

I figured out the recipes as closely as my taste buds remember and am sharing one of my favorite flavors.  It’s a cinnamon brownie with my secret ingredient – a hint of white pepper which gives it a very complex taste.  The cinnamon taste comes through the frosting, so don’t leave it off.  My taste buds are watering just thinking about those buttery sweet chocolate  brownies with a bit of spice. They are so easy, you’ll wonder why you ever made brownies from a box.

Meet my Alamo Annie Brownies – guaranteed to make a brownie snob out of you, too.

Cinnamon Brownies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy to make melt in your mouth brownie with a fudge-like cinnamon frosting.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12 - 20 bars
  • Brownies:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla powder or vanilla extract
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs*
  • Frosting:
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sifted unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  1. Brownies:
  2. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl, add to dry ingredients and stir well.
  6. Spread the mixture in the greased pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool.
  9. Frosting:
  10. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  11. Add the butter and milk, stirring well.
  12. Frost the cooled brownies and cut into desired size. ( I am rarely that patient. I often frost the brownies while they are still warm.)
  13. * Two eggs produce a cake type brownie. If you prefer a fudge like brownie, use just one egg.


University of Washington Suzallo Library

Suzzallo Library

It’s no big secret that I love libraries. Just check out my History Spy Pinterest Board.  One of my favorite libraries is on the University of Washington campus.  Also, referred to as the Harry Potter library by recent patrons, the Suzzallo library is worth a special trip to the campus next time you find yourself in Seattle.  Bring a book or some research to do though, because as you enter, the ambiance makes you want to sit and study.

It opened in 1926 and named the Suzzallo Library in 1933 after the death of former university president, Henry Suzzallo, and considered the crown jewel of his administration. The architecture is an example of the Collegiate Gothic style.

As you walk up to this magnificent library, you see eighteen statues along with many coats of arms.  While studying the history of the library, I found that the statues depicted Moses, Louis Pasteur, Dante, Shakespeare, Plato, Benjamin Franklin, Justinian, Sir Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Goethe, Herodotus, Adam Smith, Homer, Gutenberg, Beethoven, Darwin, and Grotius – all chosen for their contributions to learning and culture.  The coats of arms are from many outstanding universities around the world in the early 1900s.

As you first enter the library, you’ll find the Grand staircase where you can see the worn marble treads from so many years of use by dedicated students. It ends in a beautiful room with a vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows called the Grand Stair Hall, but my favorite part of the library and the part which invoked the Harry Potter name, is the adjacent Suzzallo Reading Room. Suzzallo envisioned a cathedral of learning, and it does have the look of a cathedral with a ceiling that’s 65 feet tall.  It has beautiful huge oak bookcases topped with hand carvings of native plants. Much of the light comes from the 35 foot tall leaded and stained glass windows. Other light comes from old brass lamps hanging from that enormous ceiling.  The students study silently in there, and I did not hear a noise above a faint whisper until a student stood up accidentally dropping a book.  All eyes immediately looked up from their studying assessing the source of that unwelcome disturbance.

Suzzallo Library Reading Room

Mysterious doors behind a locked glass wall.

There are rows of thick oak desks with quaint little lamps, and what really caught my interest was a glass wall with a locked oak door.  Behind the glass is a whole row of ornate wood doors  which have called out to me ever since to write a story about the mystery which lies behind those doors.  For those of you who have been to that library, have you ever noticed that intriguing area?

If you’ve been to the Suzzallo Library leave a comment on your favorite area, and if you never have been there, I hope you’ll take the time to visit next time you’re in the Seattle area.