I usually bake a lot of cookies for Christmas, but this year I find myself in Germany and I'm having a little trouble locating the right ingredients for my usual assortment of cookies. I buy gift tins and fill them with at least 5 or 6 kinds of cookies. I think it is much nicer to give personalized gifts like this. I only buy presents for birthdays. Maybe the grocery stores I have been going to haven't been big enough but so far I did find something resembling molasses, but can't find corn syrup or Cream of Tartar. My best source for baking supplies was in the Netherlands when I was visiting my friend there last month. So here's what I will be making: Russian teacakes (using ground hazelnuts instead of my usual walnuts as I don't have a food processor), Molasses Ginger Cookies, Chocolate Crinkles, Almond Butter Cookies (see previous post for the recipe) and Eggless Banana Cookies - today's recipe. I got this recipe from an incomplete set of recipe cards that my mother got at a garage sale. I don't even know what happened to the card as I memorized the recipe years ago. What I like about it most is that it doesn't use eggs, which means that you can eat the dough if you are so inclined. It always made my kids happy to have one cookie dough that they could lick the beaters. It's actually a rather homely cookie - a little more cakey than most. So for Christmas, I top it with multicolored sprinkles. This is my son Alex's favorite cookie and I have to admit I love it too. It's a great one for kids to make as it is so simple and it tastes like banana cake. It's good with chocolate sprinkles too. It also freezes well so you can always pull it out and make a few fresh cookies - I used to do this after the kids got home from school. Hope you enjoy this recipe too!
Eggless Banana Cookies
1 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Multi colored sprinkles
Cream together the butter and sugar (can be done by hand, with a hand mixer or a stand mixer or a food processor). Then add the mashed banana and vanilla extract until well blended. In a separate bowl - mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Then add to banana mixture, blending in 1/3 of flour mixture at a time.If you can't wait to eat the cookies, turn the oven on to 375 degrees and place rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Press sprinkles onto cookie dough and place in oven.Bake for about 10 minutes or until the bottom edges become lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before removing to a wire rack and cooling completely.
If you want to save them for later, wrap in plastic wrap. The dough should be about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place in freezer and slice into 1/2 inch slices when ready to bake. No need to thaw them - just put slices in the oven. They actually turn out a little prettier this way.
Five Element Analysis
I will never claim that cookies are a balanced meal although they certainly make life a lot sweeter. Because they are so sweet, they obviously belong to the Earth Element and when made from a tropical fruit like bananas become even Earthier. The wheat flour brings in some Wood and the vanilla extract adds some Metal and the sprinkles give just a touch of Fire whimsy. When served with milk, you add more Metal and with hot chocolate, tea or coffee you bring in more Fire and clearly the other elements need to show up some other time and at a regular meal.