Birthday Granola and Funfetti Cookies

My little sister, Jamie, is about to turn 32 on May 3rd. She lives in Denver with her fantastic husband, John and their sweet little boy Dezmond. She is strong, smart, loyal and loving. She is a great mother. I miss her terribly. The years speed up once you have kids. That saying “the days are long but the years are short” rings more true now than ever. The miles that separate us frustrate me. I miss her. I miss my nephew. The days go by too fast. Slow it down. Lets just stop for a minute and breathe. I wish I could hop on a plane and be with her for the start of her 32nd year but I can’t, not this time. So instead I bake two of her favorite things to eat and ship them to her hoping that when she opens this package she will know that I love her and think of her often.

Happy Birthday Jame.  Miss you so. xo

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Basic Granola Recipe

slightly adapted from Cannelle at Vanille

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Ingredients

3 cups  rolled oats (you can use gluten-free)
1 1/2 cups  nuts and seeds – I used a combination of whole almonds and pumpkin seeds (any kind of seed and nut combination can work here)

1/2 cup  apple juice
1/2 cup  maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 cup coconut oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cup (180 g) dried fruit – I used dried blueberries, strawberries, bing cherries and cranberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 325F

Combine the oats, nuts and seeds in a large bowl.

Mix together apple juice, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sea salt and black pepper in a medium saucepan. Gently heat all together until salt is dissolved and coconut oil is melted. Pour liquid over the dry oat mixture and toss to coat. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes until golden. Be sure to stir the mixture about every 15 minutes to make sure it is evenly baked.

Let the granola cool completely. It will become crunchier as it cools. Stir in the dried fruit when completely cool. Store in an airtight container for a few weeks. Makes a great gift too!

Funfetti Cookies

barely adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

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Ingredients:

1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature

1-¼ cup sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 egg

2-½ cups flour

¼ cups cornstarch

¾ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoons salt

½ cups rainbow jimmie sprinkles

2 tablespoons nonpareil sprinkles

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Cream the butter and sugar in stand mixer (or hand mixer) for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg. Beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sift in the flour, cornstarch, soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and continue on low-speed until it’s all added and combined. Mix in the sprinkles (don’t overmix or the sprinkles will start to bleed into the dough). I mixed them by hand.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop cookie dough onto cookie sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart (fits 8 cookies per sheet). Bake for about 15 minutes. (Note: Only bake until they very slightly start to turn light golden brown just on the edges. You don’t want them to totally turn golden or they’ll be crisp cookies. Check them around 10 minutes, then 12, and so on.) Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 4 days.

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