I love taking something that’s already good and making it better. There is something satisfying, for me, about looking at recipes as if they are always in beta, with things that can be tweaked or improved. I’m notorious for rarely making a recipe the same way twice so I always feel like I’m experimenting and growing.
It’s one of the reasons that I kept remaking my goat cheese brownies. Sure the first version was delicious, but I couldn’t help but continue tinkering endlessly until I felt like perfection had been achieved. This time I felt inspired by the Banana Split Biscotti I made back in March. Being an unabashed banana split lover I really enjoyed the combination of flavors and how the biscotti translated my favorite ice cream dish into something more appropriate for enjoying year round. However, I know that not everyone enjoys the crunchy twice baked texture of biscotti. It definitely took me awhile to get there. So I decided to come up with a soft cookie version of the original.
When I was doing searches for banana split-inspired goodies it became clear that everyone has a different idea of what that means. In fact, if Google is to be believed, there is quite a bit of debate over what constitutes an authentic banana split. Because my inspiration for the original was my time as a teen working at Dairy Queen, I use their formula, which is described as:
Delicious DQ soft serve nestled between sweet banana slices covered in luscious strawberry, pineapple, chocolate and whipped toppings.
In my newest recipe, the fresh banana gets mashed and incorporated into the cookie dough. I also included chopped dried bananas to makes sure the banana flavor was as prominent as possible. The dried bananas I buy are referred to as flattened bananas at Trader Joe’s. I don’t care for them straight out of the package. They have a tacky, chewy texture that gets stuck to your teeth and a very sugary, concentrated banana flavor. But they’re great in baked goods, like these where you want to add natural banana flavor without a ton of additional moisture.
The strawberry and pineapple also came in the form of dried fruit as well since it is much more texturally friendly for a cookie and the chocolate sauce morphed into chocolate chips.
After a trip to the oven, they come out tasting exactly like a banana split, in cookie form. In fact, with the small pieces of strawberry and pineapple sprinkled throughout they actually reminded me a lot of the Banana Split Blizzard. They are a great substitute for your standard chocolate chip when you’re craving something a little different.
And as for the texture, I feel I must comment on this since Elina inquired about it with the Banana Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies, which I used as the base when making this new version. These almost have a hybrid texture to them. They’re a little bit chewy and a little bit cakey and light with nice texture from the dried fruit and oatmeal. I find them to be a bit like your classic oatmeal cookie. Any time you add fruit purees into the mix it always switches up the texture a bit, but these are still close enough to a cookie to me. I know some banana cookies can end up tasting like a glorified muffin top or a filling-less whoopie pie, but these definitely do not. In my spirit of endless tweaking, I definitely want to experiment may way to a truly chewy banana cookie (I have some ideas about how to achieve this, but welcome your tips/suggestions in the comments), but in the meantime, these have been satisfying my banana split cravings quite nicely.
Adapted from this recipe
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
-2/3 cup sugar
-1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
-1 large egg
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1/2 cup thoroughly mashed or pureed overripe bananas
-1 cup old-fashion rolled oats
-1/4 cup chopped dried pineapple
-1/4 cup chopped dried strawberries
-1/4 cup chopped dried (sometimes called flattened) bananas
-1/2 cup (3 ounces) milk chocolate morsels
-4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
-1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease several baking sheets or coat with nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until very well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until evenly incorporated. Beat in the banana, then the flour mixture, until evenly incorporated. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients (oats through chocolate morsels) and add to the flour mixture until just evenly distributed. Using an ice cream scoop or spoons, drop the dough onto the baking sheets in scant golf ball-sized mounds, spacing about 2 1/2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the upper 1/3 of the oven for 10 to 14 minutes, or until lightly tinged with brown all over and almost firm when pressed in the centers. Reverse the sheet from front to back halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let stand until completely cooled.
Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer over a burner. In a glass bowl combine the dark chocolate and shortening. Place over the saucepan (the water should NOT touch the bottom of the bowl) and stir until chocolate and shortening are melted and well combined. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly (You don’t want it to be so hot you burn yourself working with it.) and pour into a zip top bag. Seal and clip one corner of the bag and holding it like a pastry bag, drizzle the chocolate over cookies. Allow chocolate to set before serving.
These cookies are best when fresh but may be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to one month.