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Granola Cookies with Dried Cherries

In my never ending quest to replace ingredients (usually oats) with granola, I recalled a time when a customer at the Flint Farmers Market once told me that she had used my granola to replace oats in oatmeal cookies.  What a great idea!  I have used dried cherries instead of raisins in oatmeal cookies ever since I started making granola, and today I replaced oats with granola in oatmeal cookies.  I actually had an accidental mixture of two different granola flavors (cherry almond and cherry pecan) on hand and had been wondering what I would do with it aside from just eating the granola with yogurt.  Cookies seemed like the perfect answer. 

I have used the recipe for oatmeal cookies that’s printed on the underside of the top of the canister of Quaker Oats since I started making oatmeal cookies with my grandma (probably age 5), and I haven’t done much to change the recipe except swap out the oats for granola and the raisins for dried cherries.  This slight change is also good for people who hate raisins (which seems like 50% of people in general).  If you happen to love raisins, I’d suggest using cinnamon raisin granola in place of your oats.  You’ll need 2 large bags of granola for the 3 cups of granola needed for this recipe (and you’ll have some left over). 

What I used (modified from package of Quaker Oats):

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teas vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teas baking soda
1 teas cinnamon
1/2 teas salt (Kosher)
3 cups granola (flavor of your choice)
1/2 – 3/4 cup additional dried fruit (cherries, raisins OR chocolate chips if you’ve opted for maple walnut chocolate granola

How I made it:

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and whisk together.  Set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown and white sugars until creamy and light in color with electric mixer.  Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating.   In two pours, add in the flour mixture and beat on low speed until fully combined (increase speed as the mixture comes together).  Add in 3 cups of granola and the dried fruit and stir by hand. Let the dough sit in the fridge for 2 hours and up to overnight. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Use a spoon or dough scooper to make balls of dough and really pack the dough together with your hand.  This is important.  Packing the dough and allowing the dough to harden in the fridge will help the cookies to keep a nice form while baking and prevent the cookies from turning into pancakes in the oven – my worst nightmare.  Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until they are golden brown.  Cool the trays on a cooling rack and enjoy warm oatmeal cookies with a cold glass of milk. 

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