Treats for Your Cookie Jar (and You)

Chocolate and banana happens to be one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. On ice cream, in muffins or breakfast breads—it’s all good! One place I hadn’t tried this combo was in a cookie though. I started out wanting just a banana chocolate chip cookie, but thought the texture might be a bit off. It turns out that some hearty oats is just what this idea needed to come to life. The cookies below are nice and chewy with bits of chocolate and rolled oats throughout. The banana adds a subtle sweetness and familiar flavor that I bet you’ll love. Enjoy!

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 banana)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (check out our homemade vanilla extract recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Add in the egg and mix to combine. Mix in the mashed banana and vanilla extract; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing until completely combined each time.

3. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips until well combined. Chill dough for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in 1 1/2 teaspoonful scoops. Space cookies at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until almost set in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

SWWU Tip 1: Bananas going bad? When they start to turn, stash them in your freezer. We always have a few on hand. To defrost, just move to the fridge the day before you want to use them. They’re great for smoothies, banana bread, and of course, these cookies.

SWWU Tip 2: Try adding half a cup of walnut or almond pieces to this recipe. A bit of crunch could be a nice addition. (Someone in this house is allergic to nuts, so I wasn’t able to try this tip out though, I’m sure it’s delightful!).

SWWU Tip 3: Sandwich two of these around a scoop of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon—whatever you like) for a special treat.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract That’s Worth the Wait

While doing some spring cleaning Brian and I discovered we had a major surplus of vodka. We’re talking about an extra 4 or 5 bottles taking up space in our bar area. And since it’s not the go-to spirit for either of us, we needed another way to put the supply to good use. I’ve always wanted to make my own vanilla extract and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Homemade Vanilla Extract With Bourbon by

Homemade Vanilla Extract With Bourbon by

Actually mixing the ingredients together couldn’t be simpler. It’s the waiting, and waiting, and waiting that’s the hard part. But after 2 months, I have to admit I’m pretty impressed with the final product. I’ve already tried it out in Lemon-Blueberry French Toast Cups and a batch of Orange-Maple Popcorn, and we can’t wait to try more. There are a few different techniques to make this product, but I found the best result to come from the easiest one. Lucky us!

Homemade Vanilla Extract With Bourbon

Makes 1 375ml bottle

  • 13 whole vanilla beans
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 1/4 cup vodka

1. Use a pairing knife to put a slit down the side of each vanilla bean. Place them into your bottle and top with the bourbon and vodka, making sure the entire bean is submerged. If your beans are long you may need to cut them in half. Top with a tight-fitting lid.

2. Store the bottle in a cool dark place for at least two months. The longer you let it sit, the more the flavor will mature. Gently shake your bottle every week or so to help mix the contents up. When two months have passed, remove the beans. You can strain out the extract if you like, but I prefer to leave the little flecks of vanilla in for extra flavor. Transfer to smaller jars if you’ll be sharing.

SWWU Tip 1: Do not leave the beans in the extract unless you plan to top it off with more vodka after each use. Leaving them exposed will allow the beans to go bad and your extract will be ruined.

SWWU Tip 2: Save used beans to make a sweet vanilla sugar. I’ll post about that soon!

SWWU Tip 3: You can use any size jar or bottle for this that you like. We used an empty Hudson Whiskey bottle because it was the right size to fit into our spice drawer. 

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