Bananas are an amazing fruit. They contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol while providing dietary fiber, vitamins B6 and C, potassium and manganese. A serving of banana even contains 1 gram of plant protein. While 110 calories per serving may seem high for a fruit, a large apple actually contains 116 calories. Bananas provide complex carbohydrates which means your body cannot quickly burn the energy provided, translating into you feeling full longer. They must be the world’s most popular fruit for a reason besides their fashionable yellow jackets, but there is something wonderful that many people may not realize about bananas: they are a great stand-in for flour in many recipes. What? Yes, you can make amazing gluten-free delights if you use your bananas wisely.
Now, I am not one to advocate eating dessert often, so I make these cookies for breakfast. Why not? Oatmeal and bananas both have a long-standing place on the breakfast table. You will need to use over-ripe bananas just like mom used to make banana bread (if mom ever made banana bread.) You know, the kind of bananas that they say inhibit the growth of cancer. These slightly sweet drop cookies may look a little messy, but that adds to the fun! They taste great, so you may have to hide the cookie jar after baking.
2 1/2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter, creamy style
1 tbsp. natural honey
1 tbsp. pure high grade maple syrup
(for vegan option, replace honey with 1 tbsp. agave or an additional tbsp. of maple syrup)
1 softened (not melted) tbsp. coconut oil
2 1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips ( for vegan option, make sure the chocolate chips are vegan)
1/2 cup raw walnut pieces (bite-sized)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cocoa/ chipotle chile blend
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or prepare it in your preferred method.
2. In a large bowl, mix the bananas, peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, honey (or agave) and vanilla extract until well blended.
3. In another bowl, add the dry ingredients – oats, baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa/chile blend and sea salt.
4. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix well either by hand or with an electric mixer.
5. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix by hand to combine the ingredients.
6. Spoon cookies onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes. Don’t overcook. Let cool for a few minutes after removing the baking sheet from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, if desired.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
Notes: If you are avoiding gluten because of a weight issue or a sensitivity, it is a good idea to purchase gluten free oatmeal. While oats don’t contain gluten, oatmeal that is not labeled gluten free probably has cross-contamination from products that contain wheat. Gluten free oatmeal is processed in a facility where cross-contamination is certified not to occur.
If you have celiac disease, you have a slight chance of reacting to avenin, a protein contained in oats. In that case, oatmeal must be avoided. If you have questions about what to eat that’s right for you, contact a registered nutrition expert or your medical provider.
Don’t stop at chocolate chips! Why not mix it up. I have baked them with blueberries, and once I added shredded coconut and dried cranberries with the chocolate chips. You could make them with raisins or chopped dates. So many possibilities and so healthy, so why not?