Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I’m trying not to post any more recipes without photos, but I dropped the ball on this one. Initially, I was too disappointed with the way the cookies turned out to take loving macro-lens pictures of them; the photo on the Martha Stewart site had led me to expect big, fat, cakey cookies, whereas mine spread thin and browned a lot. Then I tasted one, and from that point on I was too busy eating them to take pictures; between hormonal me, banana-loving A, and a few of our grateful friends, we made short work of them in a matter of days. Despite the less-than-perfect appearance of my cookies (which, until I’ve tried this recipe a few more times, I’ll chalk up to my own inept execution), this is a fabulous recipe that you need to know about immediately, photo or no photo. Postscript, August 2010: I've made this recipe many more times and the result remains rather homely, but reliably delicious; I'm finally adding a photo.

There are so many genius things about this recipe: it combines the flavor and moistness of banana bread with the awesomeness that is the classic chocolate chip cookie, and of course banana and chocolate pair naturally together. The flavor of the banana isn’t pronounced, but the tenderness it adds to the cookie is unmistakable. These aren’t too sweet, and the oatmeal (which I am such a sucker for in baked goods), nuts, wheat flour, and banana lend a wholesome aspect. The coarse salt (don’t substitute table salt!) adds little zings of savoriness. While you can use chocolate chips instead of chopping up a block of chocolate, the irregularly sized chocolate chunks add interest and incorporate the chocolate more fully through the dough.

I’m not even a banana fan and I loved these cookies. (To demonstrate how rarely I buy bananas: the one I used for this recipe was rescued from the depths of my freezer, and when I thought about it, I realized it was left over from when I made banana cake for A’s birthday in April!) A, who adores the banana/chocolate combo, was wild for them and would like to insist that I make them again, right now, please.

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into ¼-inch chunks
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (about 2 ounces), toasted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Whisk together flours, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Place butter and sugars into a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Mix in banana, then gradually add flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chunks, and walnuts by hand.

4. Using a 1½-inch ice cream scoop (or a heaping tablespoon), drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.

Yield: About 3 dozen
Time: Anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how many cookie sheets you can fit into your oven at once
Leftover potential: High—duh, they’re cookies. Martha notes that the cookies can be stored in airtight containers for up to 2 days; I will add that they will keep for weeks in the freezer and taste just as great straight from the freezer as they do defrosted. At room temperature you get the nice, soft texture, but I found the banana flavor to be more prevalent in the frozen cookie.

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