The sight of bananas blackening on the counter can only mean one thing: Time to make banana nugget cookies.
It’s a family favorite, the only cookie my mother made on a regular basis. Every time the bananas started to ripen on the table, my brother and I would cross our fingers that they would go uneaten, turn black, and be turned into these moist, chocolate-studded treats.
It is impossible to think of these cookies with out thinking of my mother. When my brother and I were young she had to hide them to keep us from eating too many. She made them for us as adults, too, shipping them from Ohio to Colorado, Boston, New York, California, wherever we were living. They almost always arrived intact, and I almost always consumed my allotment within a day. My nephew loves them too, and on some visits she would pack a little kit for her suitcase, the dry ingredients measured out, and they would make them together. Sure, she liked them, but she mainly liked making them for us.
This is a soft, cake-like cookie, with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. The dough is packed with rolled oats, a fact which I repeat to myself when I end up eating banana nuggets for breakfast, which has happened on more than one occasion. It’s just like eating oatmeal, right? Right? Maybe not, but it’s probably better than having a doughnut.
Keep a close eye on these as they bake: If they get too brown they will be dry, and lose the tender moistness that makes them so very good. The banana should be VERY ripe, beyond the point where you would just peel and eat it, so that it mashes to a nice puree and provides plenty of sweetness.
Banana Nugget Cookies
3/4 c (6 oz) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 c sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground or freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 t cinnamon
1 c thoroughly mashed ripe banana (from 1-3 bananas, depending on their size)
6 oz good quality chocolate chips, semisweet or bittersweet.
1 3/4 c rolled oats
1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
2. With either a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is pale, light, and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the egg to the butter and sugar and continue to mix until thoroughly incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
4. Thoroughly combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add about a third of this dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed for a few seconds. Stop to scrape down the sides and then mix on low until just combined.
5. Add half of the mashed banana to the dough and mix on low speed until just combined, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
6. Add another third of the dry mix in the same fashion, then the rest of the banana, and finally the last of the dry. Make sure everything is fully incorporated, but do not overmix!
7. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the oats and chocolate chips into the dough, just until evenly distributed.
8. Using two teaspoons, drop the dough into 1 or 1 1/2″ mounds onto an ungreased cookie sheet (you can line it with parchment if you want but it’s not necessary). The cookies should be about 2″ apart. Do not flatten the mounds.
9. Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, just until the tops are set and starting to color. Do not let them get very brown. Let the cookies cool slightly so that they don’t fall apart when you try to pick them up, and then use a spatula to transfer them to a rack to cool. If you only have one cookie sheet, let it cool completely before baking another batch.
10. Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
yields about 5 dozen