Friday, January 2, 2015

Granola Cookies

by Sheila Connolly

Recently I visited my local supermarket and came upon a not-young couple offering free samples of their locally made granola. They were parked at a card table between the vegetable and fish sections, a rather unlikely place for any food giveaway, much less a breakfast/snack one, but at least they got a lot of foot traffic there. I’m not much of a cereal eater, much less granola, but as a writer who has spent a lot of time sitting in unlikely places doing book signings (or hoping to have anyone at all ask for a signing), I felt compelled to stop and chat. And taste, of course.

It was good stuff, I have to say. The couple operate their Golden Girl Granola business out of Carlisle, MA, their hometown, and started small, working in their kitchen and selling at local farmers’ markets. Now they have a commercial kitchen not far away, but they still hand-stir the granolas, and they make a range of flavors. My husband favored the “Creative Cranberry” while I opted for the “Forest Maple.” We bought one of each.

Our purchase came with a mini-cookbook, so of course I went straight for the desserts (although they did include some savory recipes), specifically cookies. I was going to make their Cranberry Cookies, but my husband ate all of that flavor before I could get around to baking, so I used the Forest Maple instead (which tastes very maple-y, not artificial), and threw in a few dried cranberries. It turned out to be a nice combination. In fact, the cookies are kind of addictive.

Maple (Cranberry) Granola Cookies

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups granola (whichever flavor you like)
1 cup white chocolate chips
(1 cup dried cranberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two baking sheets.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange zest.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended.

Stir in the granola and white chocolate chips (and cranberries, if you’re using them).

Drop by spoonfuls onto the baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for a few minutes (if you try to remove them from the pan too soon, they fall apart). When cool enough to handle, remove the cookies to a rack and finish cooling.

Makes 3 dozen. Watch how quickly they disappear!

An Early Wake, arriving in one month! 

My protagonist Maura Donovan does not cook (hard to believe, isn't it?), but I'm thinking of sending her young employee Rose Sweeney to a local cooking school--there are some good ones in the area, and the local products are outstanding (believe me, I've sampled them).  

Do you think Rose should learn to cook?


  1. Happy New Year, Sheila! Yes, I think Rose should learn to cook. You could use her skills to introduce some delectable Irish fare to your readers!

    1. I keep buying Irish cookbooks and drooling. They've come a long way from cabbage and potatoes six different ways!

  2. sounds like a good idea to me Sheila, maybe just have her bring the goodies back to Maura:). Those granola people hit the jackpot with you!

    1. Rose needs some direction in her life, and cooking credentials would work well for her. There's a kitchen in the back of Maura's pub, but she's barely looked at it. But in the "real" pub, when I talked to the owners in August, they were thinking about opening a local-foods-based restaurant there, in addition to having music events. Let Maura manage the front of the house and Rose handle the kitchen!

    2. That sounds perfect! Plus think of the potential for bringing in new characters: the man who delivers farm-fresh produce, the woman Rose buys eggs from, and of course, the young truck drivers!

  3. If Rose doesn't want to go, I'll happily take her place and share what I learn!
    These cookies sound yummy. I'd go for "real" chocolate chips, though.

    1. I'm right behind you. The most famous cooking school in Cork is at Ballymaloe, and they started a literary festival there a couple of years ago. I told the coordinator I write books set in Cork AND I write for Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, and I'm on the "maybe" list for 2016. The best of all worlds!

    2. Best of luck! That sounds fabulous!

  4. Yes, yes, she should learn to cook. Then her future family won't have to suffer so much through her attempts at cooking then.

  5. I think Rose should learn to cook and then bake me a batch of these amazing cookies. Until that happens, I'll have to whip them up myself. LOVE this recipe, Sheila.



  6. Happy New Year, Sheila. I envy your granola purchase. I've had some amazing granola, but it almost never came from the supermarket. Wish I had the mix I bought last year at the Union Square Market. I'd whip these cookies up tonight..

    ~ Cleo