Recipe: The Banana Graveyard (aka Chocolate Chip Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies)
No matter how much I ration my banana purchasing, I seem to have a never-ending banana graveyard in my freezer. I must have bananas in my life – my oatmeal calls out for them and years of running had me believing in their magical qualities to reduce nighttime leg cramps. But I have this depression era mentality it seems to actually eating my bananas. Eat them too quickly and I won’t have enough for the week of oatmeal. But then they start to get spots. And I don’t really like a spotty banana - too sweet for regular noshing and too mushy for oatmeal. So then I watch them as they get bigger spots until they practically walk themselves into my freezer to be used later in smoothies.
Or even better, used in “High Protein Cookies,” as the title on the recipe says. I fondly call them “Hippie Cookies,” because they contain soy flour and my mom was making these when I was a kid, before using different flours was very common or avoiding gluten was a thing to do. You can call them “Chocolate Chip Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies” if you like and if you feel you have the time to say that before one jumps into your mouth.
The original recipe calls for regular flour, but due to the high moisture and taste factor of the bananas it is an ideal cookie recipe for gluten-free conversion. Add the taste of peanut butter and some spices and you have a complex cookie that satisfies that chocolate chip cookie urge (I get it at least once a week). I also like to think it has a few other redeeming qualities over your average cookie with its walnuts and higher protein flours. This is a very forgiving and open-minded cookie – substitutions work well and won’t give you a lot of attitude. Plus they freeze exceptionally well.
Hippie Cookies - Chocolate Chip Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 1/4 sifted flour (I used 1 cup King Arthurs Gluten-free flour, and one 1/4 cup sorghum flour, but you can mix this up. Even some bean based flour will be okay, as the banana covers that bean taste right up.)
- 1/4 sifted soy flour (I leave this in as a nod to the original recipe but you could use some other type.)
- 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup soft butter
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (or almond butter, or experiment with another nut!)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup mashed banana (This is about 3 bananas. You can freeze them smashed or freeze them whole, then microwave for 10 -20 seconds, cut off the end and squish out the banana, like a tube of tooth paste.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 quick oats (I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats. To make them smaller and more like quick oats you can toss them into the food processor and grind them up a wee bit. Or just go with it. It’ll work just fine the way they are.)
- 1/4 cup wheat germ substitute (Obviously don’t use wheat germ if you are avoiding wheat or gluten! I substitute either walnuts finely ground up, or flax seeds or a combination of flax seeds and sesame seeds. Depends on what is in the nut/seed shelf in the refrigerator.)
- At least 1 cup of chopped nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, etc. (I usually do a “generous pour” of the chocolate chips, or mix up chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Or add some nuts. I haven’t tried cranberries or dried cherries but they might go in the next batch.)
- Sift flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda and spices.
- In the mixer or large bowl beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar, and egg until fluffy.
- Beat in the bananas, then add vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Gradually stir in sifted flour mixture, oats and wheat germ (or substitute!).
- Scrape sides of bowl occasionally and mix until combined well.
- Stir in the optional add-ins.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Drop by tablespoonful on lightly greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 15 minutes, depending on oven, until golden.
- Cool on a rack.
Once cool, freeze a bunch for later nibbling. It will be hard to not eat them while they cool, so you might have to go for a run while they cool and fill the house with tasty smells!