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Banana Nut Bread Cookies

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Banana Nut Bread Cookies

Banana bread is one of my go-to recipes when I have ripe bananas in my kitchen. The quick bread is easy to make – especially if I’m using a one bowl recipe – but these Banana Nut Bread Cookies are even quicker, thanks to the shorter baking time that cookies require over full sized banana bread loaves. The cookies are soft and cakey, not unlike “regular” banana bread, and have a great banana flavor that is accented with hints of cinnamon and vanilla. To give the cookies some texture, I threw in a generous handful of chopped toasted walnuts and pecans. Feel free to use one nut or the other, but a mix will give you very good results.

I like to make these cookies to be a bit oversized. For a cakey cookie like this one, they’ll retain their soft texture a bit bitter if they’re not made too small, as smaller cookies are easier to overbake. If you want to make yours smaller, reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes and watch your cookies carefully. The finished cookies should be allowed to cool completely and then either stored in an airtight container or frozen (if longer storage is desired). I recommend stacking the cookies with pieces of parchment or wax paper to prevent them from sticking together, both for cookies that are stored at room temperature and for cookies that are frozen. The fresh cookies will keep well for at least a few days in an airtight container.

The finished cookies can be eaten just as they are. They’re sure to please both banana bread fans and those who love soft, cakey cookies. But the cookies are versatile and it is easy to turn them into whoppie pies by pairing them up and filling them with a dollop of cream cheese frosting. You can also turn them into ice cream sandwiches by putting a scoop of vanilla, chocolate or butter pecan ice cream between them. IF you’re going to go the ice cream sandwich route, remember to tuck them back in the freezer to firm up before serving!

Banana Nut Bread Cookies
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 medium)
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts (or a blend)

Preheat oven 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, followed by vanilla extract and mashed banana. Add in the flour mixture and mix until dough is completely uniform. Fold in chopped nuts. The dough will be less stiff than some cookie doughs.
Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 3-inches of room between each ball.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown and completely set.
Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 8-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

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