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Recipe of the Week: Best Sanibel Breakfast Cookies

By Staff | Feb 25, 2020

Chef Loretta Paganini

I remember almost 25 years ago when I was asked by a dear friend of mine, Donna Miller, to come and visit her on Sanibel. I told her thank you for your kind invitation but Florida was not for me, too crowded, too busy and so commercial. See my only experience with the Southern State was my visit to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, where my husband was considering a transfer from Cleveland and after visiting there we decided to turn down the offer. Donna, of course, would not take no for an answer and kept telling me that Sanibel was not like any other place in Florida – it is a special island, a piece of paradise. Now so many years later as I walk on the beach of this special island that I call home most of the year, I can’t help but to say thank you to my special friend, even though she is no longer here to enjoy it. I remember fondly the many outings we had with daughters, the restaurants that we enjoyed together, the cooking we did in her little kitchen, and the many rides we shared in her red convertible. She shared with me her love for Sanibel and its people and was also the person responsible for getting me to start teaching on the island, first at Timbers, then the Jacaranda, then IL Cielo and now at The Community House. Donna’s encouragement and friendly personality made her part of the cooking team year after year and was loved by everyone who met her. Today as I remember this grand lady, I want to share with you one of her favorite recipes that she always was asked to make for the cooking classes on the island. Makes 36 cookies. (Chef tip: For good results, make sure that you scoop and level your flour when measuring.)

2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

1 cup quick oats

2 cups cranberry almond crunch

1/2 cup all-bran cereal

1 cup raisins

1 cup dried cranberries or cherries

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 18-by-13-inch baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla sugar and salt, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined.

Mix in the eggs. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in with a wooden spoon the quick oats, cranberry almond crunch, all-bran cereal, raisins, cranberries and walnuts.

Scoop dough out and shape into 1 1/2-inch balls by rolling them to compact all the ingredients, place on to the prepared baking sheets spacing them two inches apart.

Bake in the middle shelve of a preheated oven until golden brown on edges and nearly set, about 15 minutes.

Let them cool completely before serving them.