Banana Cream Cookies – A Bite-Sized Piece of Pie

I remember feeding my two little brothers a lot of banana baby food when they were small. It is no wonder that children like bananas. They are high in carbohydrates or sugar and are an excellent source of energy. Your average banana has about 105 calories, but it also has a lot of good things. It is high in vitamin C and in B6, high in potassium and high in dietary fiber. It is very low in sodium and in saturated fat and has no cholesterol. It comes in its own convenient wrapper and it’s a great addition to smoothies. Best of all it is one of the least expensive fruits in your grocery store.

With this recipe you don’t have to wait until the banana ripens. It is better, in fact, if the banana is not too soft, since you will be folding in slices of it at the very end.

If you like banana cream pie, you will like this easy, flavorful recipe. It calls for ¼ cup of whipping cream. Whipping cream has a fairly high quantity of milk fat, usually between thirty to thirty-six percent. Light cream has between eighteen and thirty percent, depending on the company that makes it. I have used half and half to make these cookies, which comes in at ten to eighteen percent. It works well, but the flavor isn’t quite as rich and creamy. I’ve also noticed that the cookies dry out faster when I use less milk fat, so use your own judgment. My husband likes them even with the half and half.

Beat an egg with 2/3 cup of brown sugar for 3-4 minutes. If you don’t have brown sugar, use white sugar and add 2 teaspoons of molasses. Now that I know that brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses added back in, I never buy brown sugar. That way I never have to worry whether it will be hard, just when I need it for a recipe. I vary the amount of molasses depending upon whether a recipe calls for light or dark brown sugar. Figure about 1 tablespoon of molasses per cup of white sugar for light and 2 for dark.

Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and stir in the ¼ cup of whipping cream (or half and half) and 1½ tablespoons of vegetable oil. Separately, whisk together 1¾ cup of flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder. For those of you above 5000 feet, use ¾ teaspoon of baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the rest and chill the dough.

While it is chilling, turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a banana and slice it lengthwise twice into 4 long strips. Then cut the strips into ¼ inch pieces. Gently fold the banana pieces into the dough. Drop by cookies scoops (about 1 tablespoon of dough) and bake for 16 to 18 minutes until the cookies are light brown puffy balls. You can grease the cookie sheet, but parchment paper is better, since it won’t add calories. These won’t spread, so you can put more of them on a sheet. The recipe makes 25 cookies. Each tablespoon-sized cookie is about 75 calories with whipping cream and no powdered sugar.

You can dust the cookies with powdered sugar after baking to make them more festive, but it isn’t necessary. Also, I’ve been told that cognac goes well with this cookie. If you are making them for adults, try using cognac instead of the vanilla extract. You can also add a pinch or two of nutmeg to the recipe for a more adult flavor. These are best right out of the oven, but I store them in the refrigerator because of the cream and find that they seem to disappear.

Alicia D. Walker

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