Thursday, April 16, 2009

Banana Mac Cookies

Although I'm a big fan of the old-fashioned favorites such as peanut butter, chocolate chip, and plain old sugar (as made by my mother), it's nice to try something new now and again. I first made these cookies when I was faced with some aging bananas (which the Oxford Picture Dictionary would have you deem rotten, although I always tell my students such spotted beauties are merely perfectly ripe) and a general lack of enthusiasm in the house for another loaf of banana bread. As much as I love banana bread, I dread facing a dwindling loaf day after day when no one else in the house is willing to eat some. Cookies disappear with no effort. As a teacher, I can always count on other teachers or office staff to consume any excess.

These cookies resemble fluffy snickerdoodles. They are light and not overly sweet, with a surprisingly restrained flavor of bananas and nutmeg. They seem to store fairly well and taste as good four days later as they do on the day they are baked. Dunked in coffee they are a great treat. They are laden with fat and sugar, but you wouldn't know it by eating one. My version is tweaked from a recipe by Shanna Masters in The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook, a cookbook that has a large number of different and delicious recipes.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts, roasted, unsalted

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 nut of nutmeg, grated (1/2 tsp ground)

Preheat oven to 350º

Cream butter and sugar. Add banana and egg and mix well. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Stir in macadamia nuts. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill at least one hour.

Form tablespoons of chilled dough into round balls. Roll these in the sugar-nutmeg mixture. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets, leaving room for the cookies to spread. Press the bottom of a glass on the cookies to flatten them slightly. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Cool on racks.

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