Thursday, April 16, 2020

Going Bananas: Frosted Banana Cookies

I am picky about the bananas I eat. I prefer a little green tinge to the bananas I consume for breakfast. Randy is less discerning. (Read less picky, if we're honest.) He'll cut up bananas that are way past their prime (in my humble opinion) for a swim in his cereal bowl.

But, I still seem to end up with bananas ripening on the counter, 90 percent of the time. During this Covid-19 pandemic, it seems we are all a little more creative in using up leftovers and past-its-prime food. After all, some of us remember standing side-by-side in the kitchen with our grandmothers. After a Sunday chicken and noodle meal, Grandma Neelly had us washing foil and plastic bags along with the pots and pans. In her mind, those "disposable" goods could be used again. Waste not, want not: I may have rolled my eyes at the time, but it was a good lesson to learn. (I'm not to the point of reusing foil, but I may be paying more attention to the squares of toilet paper - just saying.)

Back back to the bananas: My languishing bananas often end up in Byers Banana Bread. I usually have enough bananas to double the recipe so that I can stash some small loaves in the freezer for a rainy day or for when the kids come home for a visit. (I hope that will eventually happen again, don't you?!)

But this time, instead of turning to my go-to banana bread recipe to re-purpose a bunch of aging fruit, I tried a new recipe - Frosted Banana Cookies. When I was growing up, my sisters and I made a lot of chocolate chip cookies. Big surprise that we kids liked them the best, right?

But my dad would prefer soft oatmeal raisin or some alternate to the chocolatey morsels. These soft Banana Drop Cookies are more reminiscent of a cake-like treat, rather than the crisp outside-chewy inside of a chocolate chip version.
I frosted most of them with a flavorful icing. No sugar and milk sweet toppings for my cookies, no sir. I much prefer a butter and/or cream cheese cheese-based icing that has some substance and flavor.

I used the majority of the dough for the frosted version and stashed them in my freezer for a Palm Sunday reception at church. I like providing a little fancier alternative for these special occasion reception tables. Alas, there are still cookies in the freezer because the Holy Week services got canceled. Or maybe that's not such a bad thing. It's always good to have cookies on hand for Cookie Monster cravings.

I also decided to take a portion of the unbaked dough and add chopped walnuts and Ghirardelli Caramel Bits. I left those unfrosted. They were a delicious alternative, too. Unfortunately, I neglected to get a photo of the unadorned cookies before we ate (or shared) them all.

If you prefer more texture to your cake-like cookies, you could also add chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans or even cashews) to the unbaked dough and still frost them when cooled. Other add-ins would also provide some variety.

Frosted Banana Cookies
Adapted from Shugary Sweets blog


½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup sour cream
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2½ cups flour
1½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Beat butter and sugars. Mix in the sour cream, bananas, vanilla and egg. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Use a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a small scoop, drop dough onto paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until light brown and set. Cool and frost if desired.

Optional: You may add nuts and/or other add-ins to the unbaked dough. I used walnuts and Ghirardelli caramel bits in a portion of the dough for some variety. Any kind of nuts, cinnamon chips, chocolate chips or other additions would also be tasty.

Note: I doubled this recipe. The cookies freeze well.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
4½ cups powdered sugar

    Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Frost  cookies when cool.

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