When I was visiting my brother over the holidays, he told me he wanted to say something, and that he hoped it wouldn’t upset me.
“Uh, OK,” I said.
“We’ve made the Banana Nuggets according to your recipe, they don’t turn out the way Mom’s did, and we think it’s because of the butter. We’re pretty sure Mom used shortening.”
At that moment, I wasn’t sure. Did she? Didn’t she? If she had, had I committed a grave sin by messing with tradition?
I found the email from her that contains the recipe. It calls for “3/4 c shortening” but her instructions say to “cream the butter and sugar”. Hmmm. It’s true that when I made them (with butter), they spread more than Mom’s did, which would indicate that she used shortening. But I found that chilling the dough before baking solved this problem and didn’t think about it again until the Banana Nugget intervention of Christmas ’09.
I bring all of this up because there are some bananas blackening on my table right now, and I’m thinking about making a batch.
But if you think I’m going to use anything but butter, you are sorely mistaken.
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
Preheat the oven to 325°.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 over mix.
Fold the oats and chocolate chips into the dough, just until evenly distributed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or longer before continuing.
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.
Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, just until the tops are set and starting to color. Don’t let them get very brown, or they’ll lose their moist, cakey texture. 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.
Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
yields about 5 dozen