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.


Dolce said...

I have a similar recipe but use semi sweet chocolate chips to make is less sugary and more of an "adult" cookie. This is a great one!

Barbara said...

You are so funny, Lynn! Those dances! I remember them well. It always seemed to me that I was fixing up or introducing my friends with neat guys but nobody did it for me!
But that's OK 'cause I ended up marrying a neat guy!

Your banana-based chocolate cookies look delish!

Peabody said...

I prefer to be alone with these cookies. I so would not want to share. :)

We Are Not Martha said...

I've been craving bananas in baked goods so much lately, so this totally hits the spot for me!!


Cara said...

mmm I'm on a banana kick lately and I've never had banana in cookies. Sounds awesome!

grace said...

lynn, i just adore you and your writing. you've just described many a friday night sock hop (as we called them) for me. thanks for dredging up those dreadful memories... :)

Melinda said...

Yes, those dances were painful. The humiliation of never being asked to dance...not even the pimple faced short kid.

Here is another recipe for our, 'Big Book of Browning Bananas Baking Book', that we will complete wrting once we have collected another 1000 recipes. These cookies sound good.

Katrina said...

I've made these. I love lone bananas. I WAS one of those lone bananas. I don't care for grapes. ;)
Good stuff!

LyB said...

Oh, my gosh! I love that idea! I don't know how many times I've just thrown out a too-ripe banana because I didn't have enough for banana bread. My kids will love this. Thanks Lynn! :)

Anonymous said...

That's infinitely kind, setting up the banana with LOVELY friends like chocolate and walnuts. :)

I totally agree with 1 being a GREAT number. Ever had lunch with someone who made you wish you stayed in the office instead of heading out and 'braving it'? :)

Aimée said...

My goodness! Your rendition of the dance made me squirm.

Ah, but then one day Bruce showed up, right Lynn? ;) And you two were a match as perfect as bananas & chocolate.

Elle said...

School dances are highly overrated. Love the flavor combo of these cookies! YUM!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm definately going to try this. By the way I've found a cookbook with sure-to-please desserts. This one is a winner. With over 400 recipes from Ambrosia to Zwetschgendatschi, from favorites to traditional. The only dessert collection you will ever need.

eatme_delicious said...

Hm usually I stay far far away from banana or pumpkin cookies because I've found them to be cakey, which is a characteristic I don't like in a cookie! But you're making me think I should give these banana cookies a chance..