As usual, I am inspired by what is rotting on my counter. That sounds delicious, doesn’t it? But in the throes of summer, fruit seems to go from unripe to soft and mushy in a millisecond. I just bought my bunch of bananas two days ago, and by this afternoon they were looking brown and soft and needing to be loved immediately as in tout de suite! Sweet, soft and chewy banana chocolate chip cookies would be the ultimate way to honor my withering bananas.
Lucky me, I had two willing twelve-year-olds coming home from school this afternoon, and I had this sneaky suspicion they wouldn’t mind helping me with baking banana chocolate chip cookies. I was crossing my fingers that my daughter’s friend liked bananas. As I was waiting in front of the school, I was thinking, “Please like bananas, please like bananas.” Weird I know. I am an oddball on a good day and certifiable on a bad one. Ah well, sane people are boring I say (only the crazies say that, but that’s ok by me).
The girls hopped in my car, pushing the big, slap happy Golden Retriever off her seat and scooting her over to the next one. Sadie is sure she is a human and sits in the minivan like any other passenger. The first thing out of my mouth was, “Do you like bananas?” The friend first looked at the dog, taking up a human spot in the car, then looked a bit quizzically at me but ultimately answered yes. Yippee!
As we arrived home, we happily all washed up and got out ingredients and then proceeded to throw them in one by one. I am not a precise baker, nor a neat baker, so cooking with kids for me is a joy, not a hindrance. Kids tend to get talkative when they are wrapped up in a project like baking. I find baking to be a great conversation starter for any child, teen or preteen. Even for us adults as well. As our happy hands do the work, and our mind focuses on measuring and following a recipe, our words seem to flow from within and rather uninhibited as well. That’s where the loose lips come in!
If you have one of those quiet, roll your eyes kind of teenagers, offer to bake cookies together. A) Chocolate chip cookies are ALWAYS a hit. B)Even if they roll their eyes, they are secretly saying, “Awesome” in their head somewhere. Please ignore the text they have just sent to a friend that says, “Ugh, my mom is trying to DO SOMETHING with me!” C) They will have to PUT DOWN THE PHONE because it’s nearly impossible to text while your hands are busy with dough, measuring cups and spatulas, and D) I bet you one million dollars you will have a better conversation than you have had in days. See? All good things!
Oh, you just thought about the mess you will likely have to clean up ALONE afterward…but as my brilliant 15 yr. old son informed me yesterday,“Mom, just put away the ingredients as you use them…one by one…and WIPE the counters when you put the cookies in the oven. Then just wash what’s left. It would be a lot easier if you did that.” He said this very seriously…with a straight face if you can believe that.
I would have said “Heck NO!,” if he wasn’t my son, but he is, so I just smiled blankly and said, “Mmhmm…great idea!” What? Normal people bake like that?!!! That is very disconcerting. Please DON’T TELL MY HUSBAND! Ah well, as mentioned many times previously, that is just not how I roll or bake…now, before or ever in the future.
So back to our little bet…will you take me up on it? Try it…and see if you get a good conversation going while baking cookies. In the end, you get to pour two big cups of milk, sit at the table together and dunk. So even if the conversation wasn’t everything you had hoped for, the cookies are still YUM, the milk is cold and there’s just nothing wrong with that at all.
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter (just barely softened…not mushy)
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 t. Vanilla extract
1/2 c. thoroughly mashed bananas
1 c. good quality chocolate chips
Optional: 3/4 c. chopped walnuts
To make the cookies: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure one of the oven racks is in the middle of your oven and either place sheets of parchment paper or Silpats (nonstick rubber mats) on two baking sheets.
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Add one egg at a time, beating in between each one. Scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and cream together on medium until everything is incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and cream together again on medium. Mix in your chocolate chips and walnuts (optional).
Drop small icecream scoop fulls of dough onto the cookie sheets. I usually do three across and four down. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden and soft, but not mushy to the touch. Let cool and store in an airtight container. Pour a glass of milk, dunk, bite, repeat and enjoy!