Thursday, April 22, 2010
Banana Without A Bunch
The high school that I attended had a specialized form of torture - the stomp. No, no, it did not involve hobnailed boots. It involved dancing. Whenever our football team had a home game, there was a dance, a "stomp" following the game. It wasn't a formal dance, no dates or long dresses, just show up and dance. I loathed it.
There were clumps of friends clustered around the dance floor, like bunches of grapes draped decoratively around a banquet platter. Occasionally a brave boy grape would detach himself from his cluster and head over to a girl cluster to ask a girl to dance. The etiquette was that it was (almost) always a boy who asked, and the girl was (almost) never allowed to turn him down.
My torment was twofold. The cute guys I liked never asked me to dance. They would ask my friends. And then when my friends were all out dancing, I had to try to look cool hanging out all by myself, radiating something like, "Oh, I prefer to be here alone. It's so annoying to have to dance with cute guys."
Then, the Jaws theme would start playing in my mind as I spied Him, the short boy with the greasy hair and sweaty palms, threading through the crowds, inexorably drawing closer, inevitably to ask me to dance. And I couldn't say no. I had to dance with him. I didn't yet know the excellent line from Romy And Michele's High School Reunion - "Would you excuse me? I cut my foot before and my shoe is filling up with blood. "
Strangely, it took me almost two years to figure out that it was better to stay home alone on Friday nights and read a book than to subject myself to this torment. Being alone has such a bad rap, but sometimes, one is not the loneliest number, sometimes it's the happiest number.
Like one lone banana browning on the countertop. Not enough for banana bread, banana cake, or banana muffins. Is it destined to die a sad and lonely death in the compost bin? No, not since I've discovered the goodness of banana, walnuts, and chocolate in cookie form.
These cookies are amazing. Seriously moist, sweet without being cloying, with pockets of crunch and bursts of chocolate. They're fabulous the day they're made, and stay wonderful in the cookie jar for up to 2 days (like they'll last that long).
If you have a solo banana turning brown, play matchmaker and set it up with nuts and chocolates for this Friday night!
Banana-Walnut Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
- adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 oz. milk chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
1/2 cup walnuts (about 2 oz)
1- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Assemble all your ingredients.
2- When oven is preheated, place the walnuts in a thin layer on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, till fragrant. Remove the nuts and turn the oven heat up to 375 deg. F. Coarsely chop the nuts and set aside.
3- In a small bowl whisk together the flours, salt, and baking soda.
4- In the bold of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugars on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. Mix in the banana. Add the flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chunks, and walnuts.
5- Using a 1-1/2 inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart (the cookies will flatten and spread as they bake).
6- 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. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.