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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Banana Nut What?

So last semester I decided to focus on cookies, my goal was to become a cookie master. Since I don't know all that much about baking I decided focusing on one thing imparticular would be the best idea so I didn't get too overwhelmed with learning it all.
I found that after getting down the actual make-up of the ingredients of a cookie and how to make the basic dough taste pretty darn good it became more about putting a new twist on things.
The thing about baking is, you wanna be creative, but not SO creative that people are like ehhh gross I'm not brave enough to try that.
That being said, my favorite thing became taking something really well loved and trying to make it into a cookie.
So how about banana nut bread?
I'm not a huge banana fan but I do lovvvve some banana nut bread. So I thought, there are two ways to add some banana to my cookies

1 - actual bananas
2 - banana flavored extract

I'm not that into cakey cookies and it seemed like any kind of cookie with actual bananas in them were going to be cakey - (same goes with pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, etc. not that they can't be good but I was being picky and wanted them a certain way)

so extract was my flavor and I was ready to experiment. My worry was a fake banana taste - you know like the banana flavored runts, or laffy taffy. Bleh. So I went to experimentation station to see what would happen.

Don't you worry, it tasted exactly how I wanted, like banana nut bread but as a chewy cookie.

My friend Zachary Beau Chick held a cookie photo shoot in his garage and I paid him in cookies, so I got some pretty sweet shots of these lovelies.

So here is the Cooks Illustrated Thick and Chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe mixed up and rearranged to be banana nut cookies -
(I have my own cookie dough recipe but it is kinda top secret - though, you pretty much can take any basic cookie recipe and add the flavor, walnuts, and marshmallows and you got it)

Chewy Banana Nut Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon banana flavored extract

2 cups toasted, chopped walnuts (to toast preheat oven to 350 spread them out on a baking sheet and leave in the oven about 15 minutes)

1 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows ( or more, or less, it's really up to you)

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 325*F (160*C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in egg, yolk, banana flavor and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in walnuts
  4. Roll scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and with jagged surfaces facing up, join halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth dough's uneven surface. Place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving 2 1/2-inches between each ball. Press mini marshmallows into the tops of the cookies. (don't mix into the batter or your cookies will stick to the pan like super glue)
  5. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets. When cooled, peel cookies from parchment.