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Sunday 22 January 2012

Overripe bananas = Oatmeal banana craisin cookies!

I was eyeing with trepidation some forgotten about bananas on the counter that were so ripe, they looked like they had overstayed in a tanning bed. I didn't really feel like making banana bread, banana muffins or banana squares. Smoothies were out of the question as these babies were so ripe I'm certain they were packing some banana alcohol in their back pocket.   I wanted to make something different with these brown bananas languishing on my counter.  Well, after some  soul searching online, came across an interesting idea... banana cookies. I wondered if the texture of the bananas would be hidden like zucchini is often hiding inside a moist chocolate cake. So, I figured I'd go with an old oatmeal craisin recipe I keep kicking around and then tweak it to add in the bananas, add in some extra cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to brighten it up (and mask banana flavor if it came out too strong) and here are the results of my experimenting in the kitchen!

First up is assembling and measuring out all the ingredients:
Ran out of butter, so the cookies will be extra heart healthy with Becel

Next up was creaming the butter and sugar until it was all nice and fluffy. Used a fork cuz I was too lazy to dig out the hand mixer.  I used 1/2 white sugar and 1/2 brown sugar because I love the extra deep rich flavor brown sugar imparts to oatmeal cookies. Mmmm.
Cream it good so your cookies turn out nice!

Time to mush up the bananas along with the eggs and pure vanilla. Use the real stuff folks - its pretty inexpensive at Costco, and the artificial stuff is made with chemicals and paper pulp waste (appetizing no?)

Started off with a fork and being impatient, I switched to a potato masher within 30 seconds. Heehee.. I'm so lazy.. er.. efficient! :D
<="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Potato masher 1, Fork 0.

Mixed the banana mush mixture in with my creamy buttery-sugar, then added most of the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda, mixing well before I added in the quick oats and craisins.  No need to presoak the craisins as the bananas give plenty of moisture to the cookie. I omitted nuts because I wanted to bring some for my coworkers and I didn't want to epi-pen anyone allergic to nuts tomorrow morning before I've had my morning caffeine. (I like them I truly do! lol!)
Lotsa fibre in this batch of cookies!

Finally, the moment of truth after dropping them by the tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheets and 18min in the oven, my first dozen hybrid banana bread-oatmeal craisin cookies emerged and waited temptingly on my cooling rack
Mmmmm... slightly crisp on the exterior and warm and soft inside... *munch munch*

Overall, a pretty good way to use up my overripe bananas without going to the tried and true banana pineapple bread. The cookies are slightly crisp on the outside, but sadly soften once they cool off. The cookies essentially taste like an oatmeal craisin cookie, with the texture of fluffy banana bread, and a hint of bananas. Not too strong, but interesting as they look like a cookie, and taste like a cookie while warm, but taste closer to a cinnamony banana oatmeal "square" once they're cool.  Next time I'll add nuts and chocolate chips as its missing the textural element from chopped nuts (and who doesn't like chocolate?), and make a slightly less healthy version. Hope my coworkers like them tomorrow!
Cross section of the banana bread like oatmeal craisin cookie

Oatmeal banana craisin cookie recipe
Ingredients Makes 24 cookies.
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar (1/2 cup brown+ 1/2 cup white or 1 cup white sugar)

1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)

1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp each: ground cloves, ground nutmeg

1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans/almonds/macadamia nuts (optional)
1/2 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together butter and sugar.
2) Mash together bananas, egg and vanilla. 

3) Mix together the flour, spices and baking soda.
4) Beat together the 2 wet mixtures and then beat in the flour mixture.
5) Mix in oats, craisins, nuts and chocolate chips if using
6) Drop by the heaping tablespoon (about 1.5-2 tablespoons) onto parchment/foil lined cookie sheets or unlined silicone baking sheet about 1.5-2inches apart (or 6 cookies a cookie sheet) and bake for 15-18min until the tops are firm and golden brown.
7) Place on a cooling rack until cool. Use parchment or wax paper to separate cookies when putting them into containers as the bottoms will stick! Enjoy!

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