Banana Management

It’s a pandemic thing

Welcome to issue #26 of Susanality, a free weekly newsletter. Thanks for being here! If you’re loving this newsletter, please consider a paid subscription. Having your support would mean a lot to me, as I continue to work hard to bring you fresh content on a weekly basis with additional posts and recipes going out to paid subscribers at least twice a month. Thanks again!

I hope you’re all enjoying the last unofficial days of summer. I’m sure many of you are on vacation and not in the kitchen making cookies but save this one for when you are! These easy cookies can be thrown together with what you have on hand when you find yourself with a few extra overripe bananas. That’s what prompted me to pull this recipe from my archives (with a few updates, of course). 

I’ve been practicing my banana management skills since the pandemic started, with varying degrees of success. In the early days, when going to the grocery store felt like taking your life in your hands, I limited my trips as much as possible and did curbside pickups or delivery when things got scary. I like to keep a bunch of bananas in the house at all times, and it’s the one item you can’t really stock up on so it was often the indicator that told me it was time to shop (or risk being banana-less). I’d try to buy a really green bunch and an almost ripe bunch, but invariably, I’d end up with some overripe ones, which like many of you, I might have baked into banana bread. If I wasn’t ready to bake, sometimes I’d peel the bananas and freeze them for later in sets of three, which is the right amount for most recipes. 

Well, here’s something else you can do with three ripe bananas, which is a bit more spontaneous and has a shorter baking time better suited for summer weather. You can use whatever dried fruit (I used unsulphured apricots and golden raisins) and nuts (I used walnuts) you have around—any fruit or nut will do. Flaked coconut would also be a good addition. Add chocolate chips—or don’t. I personally think almost any cookie is improved by the addition of chocolate, but they’re very good either way, especially warm from the oven. They have just a bit of flour, which I am sure could be easily swapped for any gluten-free blend, and no eggs or butter, making them vegan too. 

These would make a great lunchbox treat, afternoon snack, or even breakfast, and you can keep the dough in the fridge for a few days, baking them off as you please. The somewhat crunchy outside does soften a bit once you store them in an airtight container, so keeping the dough in the fridge is a good strategy, especially if you like warm cookies and soft, melty chocolate—and, honestly, who doesn’t?

On Sunday morning, I’ll be sending out another sweet recipe just for my paid subscribers perfect for Rosh Hashanah, Earl Grey Ice Cream with Honey Caramel Swirl. You’ll love it even if you aren’t celebrating the holiday! Subscribe now to get it sent straight to your inbox.

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Banana-Oat Cookies

Click here for a printable version

Makes about 1½ dozen, depending on size

Use rolled oats for this recipe, not quick-cooking ones. Substitute a gluten free flour for the all-purpose flour if you like. You can pack these cookies with whichever fruits and nuts tickle your fancy. The exact amount doesn’t matter!

3 very ripe bananas
¼ cup almond or peanut butter
⅓ cup/73 g light brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup/64 g all-purpose flour
½ cup chocolate chips
⅓ cup nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, or pistachios, roughly chopped 
⅓ cup dried fruit, such as raisins, dried apricots, dates, or figs (cut into ¼-inch pieces if large)

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas thoroughly with a fork. Stir in the almond butter, brown sugar, baking soda, vegetable oil, honey, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon until well combined. Fold in the oats, flour, chocolate chips, nuts, and dried fruit and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to let the oats and flour absorb some of the liquid.

  2. Scoop the dough or pinch off into golf-ball size lumps onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork (the cookies won’t spread at all) and bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.

  3. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or freeze for up to a month.

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