Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Week 3: Banana Crescents

Week 3 was pretty hard; Monday was a holiday (and my sister's birthday!), so I didn't make my cookies until then. I feel like this threw me off, as it is now Tuesday night, and I am just getting ready to tell the world about these new cookies.

So, Banana Crescents. The dough was so very dry until I added the pureed banana; it just happened to come together perfectly at that point. I was worried that the dryness of the dough would result in a dry cookie, but I was pleasantly surprised; these cookies are a little drier than others that I have made, but they have been labeled "perfect for tea" by a few people who have tried them. I also hate using blenders and food processors, so this became a labor of love for those around me who would enjoy these cookies.

As you might guess from the picture, the three highlighted ingredients in these cookies are bananas (no...surely not!), almonds, and chocolate. There is actually very little sugar used in these cookie, which I found very interesting; I suppose the sweetness in the banana makes up for it. Also, I generally don't use margarine in my recipes, even if it calls for it; I always use butter. That might have made a difference in the texture or dryness, now that I think of it, but they did turn out decent. I don't think I would make these again unless requested. They are definitely not my favorite...but they are good enough.

Also, great tip for working with nuts like almonds--toasting them will bring out the flavor a lot. To toast, set the oven to 350 degrees F, spread the nuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake for 8-10 minutes. It really does make a difference.

Banana Crescents
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup margarine, cut into pieces
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 extra-ripe, medium banana, peeled
2 to 3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1. Pulverize almonds with 2 tablespoons sugar in blender.

2. Beat margarine, almond mixture, remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, flour and salt until well blended.

3. Puree banana in blender; add to almond mixture and mix until well blended.

4. Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into logs, then shape into crescents. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.

5. Melt chocolate in microwavable dish at MEDIUM (50% power) 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring once. Dip ends of cookies in chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate is set.

There are only 2 more cookies for January...tune in next week!

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