These cookies are a fabulous treat, and a great way to make use of those overripe bananas! They're also a fun change to banana bread, muffins or pancakes (my usual staples when I have too-ripe-to-eat bananas lying around), are easy to pack for lunch or picnics, and will surely be enjoyed by all age groups.
Like any drop cookie recipe, these ones are so easy to make, and quite forgiving with what you can add and take out. I've finally come to an adaptation of the recipe that I really like. I like to add a half cup of shredded coconut for some added texture (this cookie is all about flavour and texture), and replace the walnuts with pecans. I also like to pull out the "healthy" card when it comes to these cookies, but let's be honest, they're not really that healthy besides having oatmeal and some whole wheat flour in them (hey, at least you get two servings of fruit with the banana and coconut, right?!). You can make them a bit healthier though by replacing the chocolate chips with some dried fruit, like chopped dates or apricots.
The banana keeps the cookies incredibly soft and tender, and the flavours really intensify the day after baking. I always love making a batch and throwing them in the freezer; they make for a quick treat on-the-go when you've got nothing else around the house. Just take two or three out of the freezer in the morning and pack them into your lunch, and they'll be defrosted by the time the afternoon rolls around for the perfect pick-me-up with your coffee or tea. Kids will also these with a glass of milk. And while I've justified calling these "energy" cookies because of how chock-full they are with goodies, you're probably just going to get a quick sugar-high. But then again, who really cares as long as they're tasty, right?
Banana Oatmeal Energy Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 dozen
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
3/4 to 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans (about 1 large handful), toasted
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flours, rolled oats, shredded coconut, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.
Put butter and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
Drop dough, shaped into 1 1/2 inch balls, 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 on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 2 days, or can be frozen in an airtight plastic bag for up to 1 month.