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.
- 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)