I found this recipe for Banana-Nut Whole Wheat Cookies with Maple Icing a while back but I never seemed to have brown bananas around when I had time to bake. Well, low and behold, the fruit basket offered up some over-ripe bananas the other day. It just so happened that it was nap time and my schedule was free, so out came the mixing bowl and I was ready to go. I opted to make these cookies, versus banana bread or Banana Pecan Cake with Warm Chocolate Sauce – traditional brown banana outlets in my family, because this recipe intrigued me in several ways. First, the banana is mixed with the butter, chilled and then cut into the flour – like a crumb topping or pie crust. Second, it uses 100% Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour in the dough – no white flour at all. And third, it calls for a maple icing on top – not a flavor I had combined with bananas before. I love it when a recipe gets me thinking and gives me new ideas to try.
These cookies involve a little more work than your traditional drop-style cookies, but they’re worth the effort. My family was chomping at the bit once the banana bread-like aroma began to waft from the oven. Then they started hovering as close to the cooling cookies as possible while I drizzled on the maple icing. Once I gave the green light to try one, half the cookies were gone. It’s always a good sign when one becomes some. Needless-to-say, these Banana-Nut Whole Wheat Cookies with Maple Icing were a hit.
Here is the cast of characters: brown sugar, Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown banana and toasted walnuts. Grab some butter and you’re in business.
Begin by creaming the butter, banana and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours or freeze for about 20 minutes until firm. I put my butter mixture in a small plastic container with a lid before putting it in the freezer.
In a large bowl, whisk together the Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. I encourage you to grate your own nutmeg – the taste is so much better – but ground will work just fine. If you don’t like nutmeg – I didn’t before I started grating it myself – you can leave it out or add some extra cinnamon.
Set this aside until the butter has firmed up. Preheat your oven to 300˚F.
Once the butter mixture is firm, scrape it into the bowl with the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender, two forks or your fingers to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together. Stir in the chopped walnuts.
Pour the crumbs out onto a lightly floured work surface and separate into two piles. Form the crumbs into two balls by gently squeezing them together.
Roll the dough into about a 10×6 inch rectangle. There isn’t any baking soda, baking powder or eggs in the dough so the cookies won’t rise while they bake. This means you can cut them as thin or thick as you like– just adjust the baking time a little longer or shorter if you vary the dimensions.
Cut the rolled dough into 2 x 1 ½ inch rectangles and place them onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Put the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
Bake the cookies in a 300˚ F oven for 25-30 minutes or until the bottoms just begin to brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Whisk together the powdered sugar, maple flavoring and a splash of milk to make the icing thin enough to pour. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies and sprinkle with chopped nuts. If you don’t have maple flavoring, just use real maple syrup and powdered sugar until you get to the right consistency.
I think these Banana-Nut Whole Wheat Cookies with Maple Icing would be fun to cut out into little shapes the next time I make them – maybe flowers or stars. The Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour gives them a taste similar to graham crackers, but a little softer and more flavorful with the bananas, walnuts and maple icing.
The clink of the cookie jar lid has been a frequent sound in my house since these cookies were placed inside. We also shared a plateful with a neighbor and were told that the cookies had been eaten in the blink of an eye. I do believe these are a winner! The next time you find yourself with some brown bananas, give this recipe a try. They’re fun to make and a great way to get some extra whole wheat into your diet – cookie style. Enjoy!
Banana-Nut Whole Wheat Cookies with Maple Icing
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ¼ cup mashed ripe banana
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅔ cup finely chopped, toasted walnuts – plus a few extra for sprinkling
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon maple flavoring
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, banana and vanilla extract until smooth. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator or about 20 minutes in the freezer until firm.
Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the chilled butter mixture and mix together with a pastry cutter, two forks or your fingers until the mixture becomes fine crumbs and begins to stick together. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour the crumbs out onto a floured work surface and separate into two piles. Form each pile of crumbs into a ball by gently pushing and squeezing the crumbs together. Roll one ball of dough into a 10×6 inch rectangle and then cut it up into 2 x 1 ½ inch rectangle shapes. Place the rectangles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
Bake the cookies in a 300˚ F oven for 25-30 minutes or until the bottoms just begin to turn brown. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Whisk together the powdered sugar, maple flavoring and the milk in a small bowl until it’s of pouring consistency (you can use real maple syrup with powdered sugar if maple flavoring isn’t available). Drizzle the maple icing over the cooled banana-nut cookies to your liking. Sprinkle the remaining chopped nuts over the icing while it is still wet.
Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine
You can find this and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.