Confession: I never really liked bananas until I moved into a house that had several banana plants on the property. I always found them a bit dry and starchy, and unless they were soaked in rum and set aflame in a pan (or blended with espresso in a frosty smoothie), I usually passed them up in favor of fruits like oranges. Peaches. Strawberries. Bold, juicy, refreshing fruits.
But then I tried one of the bananas that we grew. They were fat and short, unlike anything I’d ever seen in the market, and they tasted like a cross of banana and apple — light and sweet. Certainly sweeter than a standard banana, but not cloyingly so. Come to find out, our particular variety is called an apple banana!
In our Southern California coastal climate, our banana plants produce fruits (I mean, berries — you remember that a banana is actually a berry?) year-round and continue to multiply every season with new shoots. I swear that we started with only half a dozen banana stalks but now, five years later, we have a cluster of at least two dozen.
At harvest time, we typically overripen our bananas for the freezer (and for future banana bread) but we also use them fresh for donuts, pancakes, cupcakes, muffins, pies, milkshakes, and more recently, multiple batches of these bite-sized cookies. They’re crunchy-chewy and reminiscent of granola. Mashed banana and gooey dates bring together oats and spices in a cookie that’s filling and feels healthy at the same time. Keep a few of them on hand when you have a busy morning ahead and are running out the door — they’re a quick and easy breakfast in a bite.
Choco Banana Date Cookies aka Breakfast in a Bite
Makes 34 cookies
1 large very ripe banana
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
8 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside until ready to use.
In a medium bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Stir in the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
Add the oats, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and stir until no dry pockets remain. Fold in the dates and chocolate chips.
Using a spoon or a small cookie scoop, drop rounded mounds of dough onto the cookie sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Lightly flatten each ball with the back of the fork.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool, then enjoy!