If you’re a fan of banana bread, you’re in for a treat with these scrumptious banana nut cookies! With all the delicious flavor of banana bread, these cookies are the perfect size for a quick snack or dessert.
Sometimes, I’m in a mood for banana bread, but I don’t necessarily want to commit to a whole loaf. So I thought I’d make a cookie version just for fun.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that I like developing base recipes for most baked goods that I can re-use and play around with. One of the first recipes I developed was my brown butter chocolate chunk cookies. That base recipe has been so good to me. I’ve used it multiple times in several different ways, and with various different flavors. It really is a solid basic cookie recipe that’s so versatile, so I used it as the foundation for these banana nut cookies.
These cookies came out so delicious! These are softer cookies, but the outside still has some light crisp which adds a nice texture to the more tender center.
What if I don’t have overripe bananas?
If you really want to make these banana nut cookies, but you don’t want to wait for your bananas to overripe, don’t worry! There are two ways you can expedite the process depending on how much time you allow yourself. If you have some bananas that are not even in the yellow ripe stage, but you can wait up to 36 hours before baking, you can use the paper brown method. Put your unripe bananas in a brown paper bag with an apple or another fruit that produces ethylene gas (also known as climacteric fruit). The ethylene gas released by the fruit will cause the bananas to ripen more quickly. Other fruit that you can use besides apples are: avocados, figs, mangoes, papayas, peaches, pears and tomatoes. You’d want your bananas to be in the brown paper bag for at least 24-36 hours.
If you don’t have 36 hours to ripen bananas, and want to make the cookies the same day, take your bananas and put them in a foil-lined baking sheet. In a 300-degree preheated oven, bake the bananas for 15-20 minutes until the skin is mostly brown or black. Carefully peel them, then mash them in a small bowl. Just make sure that the mashed bananas are sufficiently cooled down before adding them to the rest of your ingredients.
Can I add other nuts or fruit to this?
If you don’t like walnuts, you can use other nuts or seeds that you prefer. You can also add raisins if you’re into that. Alternatively, you can add chocolate chips if you want to be extra indulgent. Just don’t add more than 1/2 cup or 1/3 cup of each add-in.
Why do I need to use brown butter?
As you can tell, I really like using brown butter instead of regular softened or melted butter in my baked goods. You make brown butter by cooking regular butter over low heat until the water evaporates and the milk solids begin to caramelize. Maillard reaction occurs, which is a type of chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars. This process changes the chemical composition of the butter, resulting in a nutty, almost caramel-like flavor. So when we use brown butter in baked goods, such as cookies, it contributes to a rich, nutty flavor that you just can’t get from regular melted or softened butter. Don’t worry, browning your butter doesn’t take long! It’s worth the extra step for more depth of flavor.
Do I really need to chill my cookie dough?
Unfortunately, you’ll have to be really patient in making these cookies. Chilling cookie dough in the refrigerator (not the freezer) before baking is an important step in the cookie-making process. When you chill it, it allows the fat in the dough to solidify. This, in turn, slows down the spreading of the cookies while they bake, resulting in a more substantial texture. Additionally, chilling the dough gives the ingredients time to meld together and develop a more complex flavor. This is because the flavors in the dough have time to interact and intensify, resulting in a more flavorful cookie.
Because we added mashed bananas in, the cookie dough is wetter and softer than normal — which makes it even more important to chill it. It’ll give it more time to solidify so they don’t flatten too much too fast in the oven. Ideally, it would be best to chill them overnight. However, if you’re really impatient, you can chill for at least 3 hours.
Tools you’ll need
- 3/4 cup mashed overripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Brown the butter in a small saucepan. You're aiming for a golden brown color, and you'll also smell the nuttiness once it gets to that point. Be careful though and make sure to keep your eyes on the butter. It doesn't take long for it to go from light brown to burnt.
- Pour in a medium mixing bowl. Chill in the freezer for just 10-15 minutes.
- Take out your brown butter from the freezer. At this stage, some of the butter probably started to solidify, but that's okay. Whisk vigorously until the brown butter looks creamy and homogenous.
- Add both sugars and whisk thoroughly. Add the egg, mashed bananas, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well-combined.
- Pour all the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, kosher salt, baking soda) into the bowl and mix everything. At this point, you may need to switch to a silicone spatula. However, just don't forget any good batter bits from the whisk! Fold in the chopped walnuts*.
- Scoop out your portions of cookie dough into a parchment-lined baking sheet. I normally use a medium-sized ice cream scoop (2.8 tbsp or 1.4 oz). Because you'd want to space out the portions with enough room, you may have to use two pans. These cookies spread while baking, so plan accordingly.
- Now comes the hard part. You gotta chill the dough in the fridge overnight! I know, it's torture to have to wait for it, but it's worth it! If you really can't wait that long, at least chill the cookie dough for 3 hours. But, I really recommend the overnight chilling.
- Once your cookie dough has sufficiently chilled, bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Edges should be light golden brown.
- When you take them out, they'll be a bit fragile, so wait for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
*If you want to go the extra mile, try toasting your walnuts briefly either on the stove or in the oven. If you're toasting in an oven, put the chopped walnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 8 minutes.
// ON THE SCENE
- Back backdrop: Replica Surfaces — Herringbone Marble
- Bottom backdrop: Replica Surfaces — Cement
- Props: cooling rack, kitchen towel