You guys! I thought I had zeroed in on the “perfect” healthy chocolate chip cookie when I posted my first recipe a little while back. But I have discovered a new variation that deserves its own post: Banana Cookies with Chocolate and Coconut. And you know what I’ve come to realize? Favorite recipes like these can always be tweaked and modified and transformed to something new and delicious. All you need is a good foundation to build from!
If you read my post on A Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, then you’ll already know I’ve spent some time testing out modifications to the classic NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® chocolate chip cookie. My ultimate goal was to get the calorie count down close to 100/cookie. I also wanted to reduce the sugar, replace the butter with healthier options, and add in some whole grains. Well, in my original post I finally found a combination of modifications that worked really well, both in flavor and in cookie texture. I thought my work was done, and I could forever just replicate this perfect recipe.
NOT SO FAST my friends. There are other cookie variations in our future…
Inspiration for Banana Cookies
Cooking is nothing if not a process. And a process that can always be perfected, right? Part of the fun is continual modification, optimization, and switching out of flavors. It all started with a casual comment Hubby made, while munching on one of my perfect chocolate chip cookies. “What if you tried adding in some banana?” What? Banana? Hmmm… not a bad idea! To make it even easier, I always have a few over-ripe bananas hanging out in the freezer, ready to be used.
I decided to take it slow. Banana can be a strong flavor, after all. And I wasn’t really trying to make banana bread… I decided to work off the fat component of the recipe. Traditionally, this is 1 cup of butter. I had already switched this up to 6 tablespoons of coconut oil, and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce. The obvious “substitution” to do was to replace part of the applesauce with mashed ripe banana, which has worked really well! So 1 cup of butter has now turned into 6 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of applesauce, and 1/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 whole banana).
While I was digging the bananas and chocolate chips from the freezer I came across some unsweetened shredded coconut in my bag of “baking goodies” that I keep in the freezer. It had been in there for a while, so I decided – why not? Use it up, and add it into the cookies. Well, what a fortunate afterthought! The combination of banana and coconut into these cookies made a REAL winner. I don’t know if I’d say better, but definitely just as good. And maaayyyyyyyybe better. You’ll have to try them both and make that decision for yourself 🙂
- Small strainer
- Half sheet pan
- Cooling rack
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup almond flour
- 1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 6 tbsp coconut oil (extra virgin/unrefined)
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce (drained)
- ¼ cup over-ripe banana (about 1 banana)
- 1 large egg
- 4 tbsp egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Goodies (see notes)
- 75 g butterscotch morsels
- 100 g semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- ¾ oz coconut (shredded, unsweetened)
- Pour applesauce into a strainer and let sit over the sink or an empty bowl while you prep the rest of the ingredients. This step helps to drain out some of the extra water. I have made this recipe without straining the applesauce and it works fine. But if you remember and have a few minutes, straining will make the final dough texture is a bit more firm.
- Mash the banana until you have about 1/4 cup, then mix that into the applesauce in the strainer to drain as well. This is especialy important if using a frozen banana, as it will have extra liquid.
Combine Dry Ingredients
- Combine all the dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl, except the oatmeal.
- Whisk together.
- Add the oatmeal to the rest of the dry ingredients and mix it in well.
Blend Wet Ingredients
- Measure the sugars into a mixing bowl that you can use either a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of your electric mixer with.
- Add the coconut oil, and mix until well blended.
- Add in the eggs, and egg whites, one at a time.
- Mix on the highest speed you can without flinging dough everywhere 🙂 and mix for 1-2 minutes on high – you are just trying to get some air incorporated for an extra "lift" to your batter.
- Add in the vanilla, blend to incorporate.
- Add in the applesauce and mashed banana (they should have lost some of the extra liquid by now), and mix at low-medium speed until well incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl periodically to be sure ingredients aren't getting left out!
Combine Dry into Wet
- Slowly add the dry ingredients into your wet ingredients. I usually add about 1/3 at a time, mixing on low speed, and let wet and dry fully incorporate between additions.
- Transfer the mixing bowl to a scale, and weight out the goodies into the bowl, then mix by hand to incorporate.
Chill, Bake, Eat
- Chill the dough for a couple hours up to overnight. I have made this recipe baking the cookies immediately. They turn out more flat, but have crispy edges and bake up just fine. If you chill first you will get more of a "mounded" cookie like you see in the pictures. So choose the option that matches your cookie preference!
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Scoop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat baking mat. I like to use a 1½ Tablespoon cookie scoop filled just below level, and this ensures I get about 36 evenly sized cookies. If I do it by feel they always turn out bigger, and then the calorie calculations are off!
- Bake for ~8 minutes, until just turning golden brown, but still very soft in the middle. This will get you a slightly gooey finished cookie texture.
- Let the baked cookies sit on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you transfer too soon, you will likely squish the warm cookies, and maybe leave some of the melted morsels behind, stuck to the sheet.
- Eat fresh within a couple days, or freeze for up to a month and enjoy straight from the freezer. Or freeze, and bring to room temperature for 10 minutes before enjoying.