banana choco-nuts cookies.

This may (not) come as a surprise to you, but I have a difficult time leaving well enough alone when it comes to food. I have a particular fondness for screwing with…well, everything. Often, my screwing around results in massive, almost laughable failure. I had one of those days the other day where I had too many things planned to cook/bake, and I ruined each and every one of them. Nothing worked. My own lunch didn’t even work. Oh, and the biggest blunder of the day? my experiment in a retro pineapple-upside-down cookie, which looked like a moon rock and had the texture of doughy velvet. Embarrassing.

I actually enjoy failures, because they teach me about what works and what doesn’t with food. Thankfully, I have the luxury of cooking for you all and not for say, a party of 50 waiting for dessert. If I mess up, no big deal; I try it again until I get it right.

Such was the case with these delicious little cookies. Say what you will about Martha Stewart (and I do indeed, say what I will), but she is a treasure trove of great ideas. I love going through her magazine each month, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. She’s got some great recipes in there; good, solid ones that don’t usually require a crazy amount of effort. I consider her recipes a starting point most of the time; a great basic idea you can fool with.

This was originally a recipe for a simple nut cookie. nothing more, nothing less, just a “you pick the nut butter and the coordinating nut and it should work” treat. I liked that you could customize it to fit your nut preferences. I did not like, however, that she “strongly suggested” that you not use different types of nuts together.

And I don’t like being told what not to do.

So that was the first idea: a mixed bar nut cookie. Awesome! And I love a good peanut butter cookie, so I knew that would be the nut butter I used as a base flavor. But then…then I remembered I had a semi-sweet chocolate baking bar and some freeze-dried bananas in the pantry. So I channeled my inner Tosi and started messing around.

First attempt? Failed. Although I hesitate to say it was truly a “failure;” it wasn’t. The cookie was very good, but the banana just wasn’t coming through as much as it needed to, and I had chosen to drizzle chocolate over the top, it was messy, and I wasn’t getting as much chocolate as I wanted to, either. Back to the drawing board.

This time, I went with fresh bananas and upped some of the dry ingredients to make up for the moisture. I used mini chocolate chips, which ended up being a fantastic choice because they disbursed their little selves all over the cookies and made tiny chocolatey pockets without producing a gooey end product. I also added more nuts than the original recipe called for to give it even more texture.

Second attempt: raving success. I was amazed, actually, at how much I liked them and how they actually worked. The banana flavor is really in there, and it somehow reduces the natural oiliness of a normal peanut butter cookie, giving it a lighter, slightly soft crumb. The chocolate chips finished off the whole thing really nicely, and I daresay you could add as much as 1 cup of chips (and I really would suggest using the minis) if you wanted a bit more chocolate.

A word of caution: i think this is due to the less-oily nature of this nut cookie, but they are addictive a little bit. More than a little bit. I ate way too many. You or someone you know will also eat way to many. So I’d suggest gifting (some) of your finished batch, as you won’t want them lying around your house for any length of time.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, April 2012 issue.
Banana Choco-Nuts Cookies
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar (although i see no reason why you couldn’t use light)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used a natural peanut butter)
  • 2 small-ish to medium ripe bananas
  • 1 cup mixed nuts or nut of your choice (I used Planters mixed nuts, which have a combination of peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, and brazil nuts), coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 to 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 3/4 cup)
Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring until toasted, 5-7 minutes. Spread oat mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let cool.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat together the remaining 1 stick of butter and the sugars in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer) on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add egg and nut butter and beat again on medium-high speed until well combined, about 5 minutes.
Add toasted oat mixture (if it’s still a little warm, that’s ok, chopped nuts and mini chocolate chips and beat on low speed until combined, about 30-45 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat until combined, another 30-45 seconds, but no longer than a minute.
Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls and place cookies close together on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and small enough to fit in your fridge. Cover with a sheet of wax paper and then tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and leave to chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove dough balls from the refrigerator and set them onto your prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake until just starting to get golden, 11-13 minutes, checking at the 10-minute mark for doneness. let cool completely on baking sheets. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Makes about 35-40 cookies.


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  • Reply Jen @ Juanita's Cocina March 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I’m upset that your pineapple upside-down cake cookies didn’t work.

    But, I couldn’t stay upset for too long. Because now you’re offering me banana…which is my #2 favorite thing besides lemon. Okay, #3 behind Sour Patch Kids, but I don’t talk about my obsession with them very often. Okay, Sour Patch Kids and Skittles. And I’m totally not going any further…(*cough*Starbursts*cough*)

    Pinned these dahling. Because I MUST devour them soon.

    • Reply Jen @ Juanita's Cocina March 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      Why did I say “between” lemon?

      Because it’s Friday, that’s why.

      • Reply shannon March 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

        i fixed it, sweetie. you’re in the middle of a web thing-a-ma-move. you’re allowed typos/exhaustion/fits of crying.

    • Reply shannon March 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      oh MAN, Jen, me too! I wanted them to work, but i should have known it was an off day. I’m going to monkey around on them and get it right, just for you. And honestly, they tasted pretty good; but no one cares what something tastes like when it looks like a spongey moon rock.

      I am so, so with you on starbursts and skittles. sometimes i packs of them, then eat some, then hide them from myself, then find them, then get excited and eat them…it’s a sad little cycle. and sour patch kids! it’s been so long since i had those i can’t remember what they taste like; it has been decades. i’ll be filing this info away for a special occasion. 🙂

      • Reply Jen @ Juanita's Cocina March 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm

        I’ll be waiting for the (NOT) moon rocks/pineapple upside-down cookies.

        Don’t forget about the Sour Patch kids. I found Sour Patch jelly beans for Easter. I left for work and came back home and they were all gone…except for a few yellow ones and yellow is my LEAST favorite color. I asked my wife, “Heeeey, soooo, I thought you didn’t like sour candy?” She was all, “Well, I didn’t USED to. And then I married you.”

        So, now I’m going to have to hide my Sour Patch Kids from me AND her. *sigh*

        I need banana choco-chip cookies.

        • Reply shannon March 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm

          I do that with Starburst – the red ones are my least favorite – so there’s always a little pile of the reds left over. 🙂 don’t you hate it when the “better halves” start liking things you like and then proceed to drain the pantry of said item? That happens around here quite a bit, so your wife isn’t the only guilty party.

          i hate having to hid things from myself. so tiring, and for what? the hiding place is never good enough.

          they’re really good. and i mean, it’s a fruit…? right?

  • Reply Amrita (Beetlebuggy) March 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    This whole story sounds exactly like my life. I start off on top of the world with some exciting ideas to experiment with and then come crashing down when it turns to shit. When that happens, I always right things in my world by baking cupcakes I’ve tried and tested. Cookies are good too! Especially when they’re packed with all the goodness you put in these babies! Bananas, chocolate and nuts….I’ll eat a truckload!

    • Reply shannon March 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      I am so right there with you. And you know, sometimes those exciting ideas and experiments work, and those are the fun days. The other times, when everything just fails, and miserably so, you feel like you should just have known better and stopped before you started. You are so right; picking yourself back up with some self-esteem cupcakes is SUCH a great idea to get back on track. I don’t know if i always consciously do that, but I do feel like after a bad food day, i find myself going back to a “confidence-building” recipe. 🙂
      i hope you try these! they were fun to mess with, and the result was, after all the failures, a happy surprise.

  • Reply Elisa March 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    YUMMMMMM what better thing to do with all my favorite snacks in the world 🙂

    • Reply shannon March 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

      yay! you like them! it’s a pretty irresistible combination for me, too. 🙂

  • Reply Elisa June 1, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Is it ok if we use frozen bananas instead?

    • Reply shannon June 2, 2012 at 5:34 am

      hi elisa! i’m sure it’s fine to use frozen bananas; after all, you’re smooshing them up, so it wouldn’t be a texture issue, or shouldn’t be. i’ve used frozen bananas before in other things versus fresh, with great results. go for it! and let me know how you like them. 🙂

  • Reply Elisa June 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Alright thank you! 🙂

  • Reply Aruna June 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    I love banana nut things! Especially with chocolate. I enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your lessons, as I am terrified of things not turning out right…which is why I’ve only printed recipes and not made anything yet. I’ll add this to the list. 🙂

    • Reply shannon June 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      yay! then i hope you really like this recipe; it’s very banana/nut/chocolate, but one thing doesn’t overpower the other things. it’s a good balance, i think. and don’t be terrified of things not turning out right; certainly i have failures all the time, and the biggest lesson i learned is just to not let it discourage you. it makes finally doing it right all the better. 🙂

  • Reply Aruna June 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Oh…gorgeous photos, too! And so many of them!

    • Reply shannon June 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      thank you! you are too kind. 🙂 i feel like sometimes photos can be more instructional than words, so i like to try and do a step-by-step with most of the food i make.

  • Reply Aruna June 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I only have one nonstick baking sheet. Is it okay to use the same baking sheet throughout the whole recipe: for toasting the oats, chilling the dough, and baking?

    Also, is it okay to use non-stick cooking spray instead of parchment paper?

    • Reply shannon June 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      i don’t see a problem with using the one baking sheet throughout the whole recipe. One thing i would watch for, however, is how cold the pan gets in the fridge. Since you have to bake with the same pan, you don’t want it starting out colder than a room-temp pan, because that could alter your cooking time and possibly put you at a disadvantage. If you can, when you remove the pan from the fridge, remove all the cookies from it and run it under hot water for a minute or two to get it closer to room temperature, then proceed as normal.

      • Reply Aruna June 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

        Thanks. 🙂

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