For Chocolate Lovers only  

Banana-Oatmeal Jumbles

Tips: The number of cookbooks I have approaches the “frightening” threshold, but there are occasions when that proves useful. I was looking around for inspiration for another banana recipe when I came across the idea for cookies based on them. Thumbing through several other cookbooks, I came across two other recipes for banana-based cookies that were remarkably similar. While none of the recipes I found used chocolate, I think it fits in extremely well here.

These are cake-like cookies, not thin and crisp ones. The bananas you use must be very ripe in order to give a good flavor, but they should still be firm, not mushy. For variety, change the type of nuts (walnuts or almonds would be good choices), use different spices (try a smaller quantity of nutmeg instead of the cinnamon, and use a pinch of ground cloves in place of ginger), or add a bit of grated lemon or orange zest. A friend has suggested using dried cranberries rather than raisins; this might work (I haven’t tried it), but I’m not sure that either bananas or cinnamon really go with dried cranberries.

If baking in the lower third of your oven tends to brown the bottoms of your cookies excessively, place an empty baking sheet under the cookie-filled sheet. These cookies keep nicely for a couple of days at room temperature, and they freeze very well.

Yield: About 3-1/2 dozen

  • 1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips OR chunks
  • 1 cup dark raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, graded “large”
  • 2 to 3 bananas, very ripe but still firm (to make 1 cup pureed)
  • 1-3/4 cups old-fashioned OR quick-cooking oats

Adjust racks to divide oven into thirds; preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil and set aside.

Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, and salt; set aside briefly. In medium bowl, combine chocolate chips, raisins (break up any clumps of raisins with your fingers), and chopped pecans. With a large spoon, stir to evenly distribute ingredients. Take about a tablespoon of the sifted dry ingredients (no need to measure) and stir into the chip-raisin-nut mixture thoroughly, until all pieces are coated. Set aside.

In large bowl with large spoon, cream butter and sugar until well-mixed, about one minute. Beat in egg. Now prepare bananas: peel, discard any bruised spots, and slice into workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Process briefly at high speed until smooth and “liquidy”; measure out one cup of pureed banana and immediately add it to the brown sugar mixture in the large bowl, beating in well (mixture will appear curdled—OK). (Alternatively, mash peeled bananas vigorously with a potato masher or other implement until smooth; measure out one cup and add as above.)

Stir in sifted dry ingredients, then oats. Finally, add chip-raisin-nut mixture (and any extra sifted dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl); stir in until evenly distributed.

Drop heaping teaspoons of the batter onto the foiled-lined cookie sheets, placing 12 mounds of batter on each 10-1/2 by 15-1/2 inch sheet (these spread somewhat while baking). Do not flatten the mounds. Bake two sheets at a time in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, switching pans from back to front AND upper rack to lower rack about every 5 minutes. Cookies will brown only lightly on tops and lose their “raw” look. Do not overbake!

Remove baked cookies from oven; allow to stand 2 to 3 minutes on baking sheet before carefully transferring to cooling rack with a broad-bladed metal spatula. Cool completely before storing. To store, place in airtight container with a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper between each layer (these sometimes get a bit sticky on top after they sit for some hours). Freeze for longer storage.

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Related Links:
  • Banana-Banana Dessert Cups from Sonia El-Nawal
  • Forum: Smoothies: Great for Any Meal

  • ...Published: January 2005