Banana Cookies to the Rescue

cocoa nibs 12.15.12I say “to the rescue,” because they were the perfect vehicle for two ingredients I wanted to put to use—frozen bananas and my current focus ingredient, cocoa nibs—all in a tasty package that I could contribute to my friends’ second annual holiday cookie and beer swap. Yup, a fun twist. You go home with lots of great cookies and a lively assortment of beer.

I happened to have a lot of bananas in the freezer (I’m happy to say, quite a few less now), so I did a quick Google search for banana cookies and went with the first one I saw. It had all the right stuff: bananas, holiday spices, and nuts. The recipe suggested pecans, or walnuts and chocolate chips as alternatives. But I knew right away I’d be using hazelnuts (because they also go great with bananas, and I had plenty of them, too!) and cocoa nibs.

These turned out to be a really nice cookie. They rose nicely, and had a light, cakey texture. The cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves complemented without overpowering the smell and taste of banana, all rounded out by a little crunch from nuts and nibs.

A nice addition to the overripe-and-frozen-bananas repertoire of recipes.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 1/2 large bananas) (Note about using frozen bananas: I thawed my bananas, then, in a bowl, stirred the banana pulp with the liquid that had separated from each other, recombining them. Worked great.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup cocoa nibs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2. In a bowl, mix the mashed bananas and baking soda, let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas, giving the cookies their lift and rise.

3. Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. When I mixed these, I got what looked like egg curds, the reaction of the acid, baking soda, and eggs. Just combine. It’s fine, and all evens out as the rest of the ingredients are added.

4. Combine flour, salt and spices. You can sift to distribute the salt and spices throughout the flour, and remove any little lumps, or use a whisk, which is what I usually do, and what I did this time. Add this into the butter and banana mixture and stir just til combined.

5. Fold the chopped hazelnuts and cocoa nibs into the batter. I rounded one small spoon with batter and used another to shape and help drop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and baked for 11-15 minutes. When bottoms are browning, and the tops are starting to, that’s a good time to take them out. Give them a couple minutes to set. Then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

I made two batches of this recipe, and got 41 cookies one time, and 38 the next, the cookies about 2 to 3 inches round.

Enjoy.

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