I picked up a bunch of overripe bananas at the grocery store the other day and had been trying to find ways to use them up. Bananas are never wasted in my house- nor any other food, if I can help it. Both Desi and I love banana nut bread, and I know that if nothing else, I can bake one up for snacking on through the week.
This time, though, I wanted to try cookies. I've never before baked banana cookies and since I didn't have a recipe to follow, I was going out on a limb here. I just mixed up a bunch of recipes I use for cookies to come up with this one. The result was so good, I couldn't wait to share it with you.
As some of you who read my blog regularly know, one rule of thumb I have for most baked goods is that I use whole-wheat pastry flour which takes a lot of the guilt away from eating sweets. While I do use all-purpose flour or cake flour in the most delicate cakes, for cookies, breads and brownies, I always go with the pastry flour which, being made from whole grain, is higher in fiber and protein than refined flour. If you don't want to use it, or cannot find it where they live, you can easily substitute the pastry flour with all-purpose flour in all my recipes.
I also always use turbinado sugar which does not go through the refining process that regular sugar goes through. That refining process uses animal bone meal, incidentally, which makes it a no-no for vegans. Also, unrefined sugars like turbinado, jaggery, maple syrup and brown rice are absorbed more slowly into the body, which makes them healthier, particularly for those with high blood sugar.
This recipe made 42 cookies, so there is only about two-thirds of a teaspoon of sugar in each cookie, which (at least in my book) is not earth- or diet-shattering. And I used whipped vegan "butter" which is only about 65 calories in each tablespoon as opposed to regular butter which as almost two times as many calories.
I added some orange liqueur to the cookie recipe, on a lark. A banana liqueur might have been a better idea, but I had none on hand. The orange one, while not discernible at all in the finished product, did actually boost the banana flavor, in my opinion.
So here they are, my vegan banana nut cookies. Decadent and delicious and wonderful.
This recipe goes out to Sweet Vegan!, the event I'm hosting through the end of this month. Don't forget to send in your recipes before the end of October.
Vegan Banana Pecan Cookies
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp molasses
4 tbsp vegan "butter" like Earth Balance or Smart Balance
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp flax meal (ground flax seeds)
2 tsp orange liqueur like Cointreau (optional)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In a big bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, blend together the sugar, molasses, oil and "butter" until well mixed.
Add the flax seeds, liqueur and mashed bananas and beat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is thoroughly mixed.
Add the flour mixture to the bowl and mix on a low speed until the ingredients are just combined.
Add the pecans and mix with a spatula.
The batter will be quite thick. With greased hands, make 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil, about 1 inch apart.
Press down each ball until slightly flattened
Bake in a 300-degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the cookies are set and the bottoms are golden-brown.
Transfer while still warm to a rack to cool.