Besides banana bread, what do you do with the overripe bananas sitting on your counter? I’ve found the answer – banana cookies!
What to do with Ripe Bananas
Am I the only one who regularly ends up with a bunch of overripe bananas on their kitchen counter?
I swear sometimes bananas are a lot like avocados – they go from unripe straight to overripe, with approximately 10 seconds of the perfect level of ripe in the middle. I buy them unripe planning to eat them in a few days and the next day, they’re too ripe to just eat plain.
Luckily, there are plenty of ripe banana recipes, beyond the typical banana bread to use up all of your overripe bananas. In all honesty, they are kind of like banana bread cookies.
What Are Banana Cookies?
The recipe to these is very similar to the recipe for delicious sugar cookies, so what you get is essentially sugar cookies with a hint of banana. Yum!
They’re definitely “can’t eat just one” cookies….but, I mean, they have banana in them so that makes them healthy-ish, right? (Okay, probably not but let’s pretend anyway.)
The kids love making them and you will too. Sometimes we even smear peanut butter on the top or throw in some chocolate chips or caramel chips.
Banana Cookies Recipe ingredients
Besides the overripe bananas, the rest are simple ingredients.
- All-Purpose Flour– Flour provides structure for baked goods. We always use all-purpose unless otherwise noted.
- Baking Powder- The leavening agent used in this recipe, it makes little air pockets in the cookies which helps them rise and stay soft.
- Fine Sea Salt- Salt balances the sweet flavors and amplifies the banana.
- Ground Cinnamon– Check your cinnamon before using and if possible, grate your own freshly from sticks. It will give you the best cinnamon flavor, which starts to decay about 6 months after a jar of pre ground cinnamon is opened. Cinnamon is a naturally complementive flavor to banana.
- Ground Nutmeg- I’m a firm believer that nearly any recipe that uses cinnamon can also use a dash of nutmeg, but if you don’t agree with me, feel free to omit it.
- Unsalted Butter– Salt is great for bringing out flavor and balancing, but too much can also dry out baked goods. If using salted butter, omit the fine sea salt from the dry ingredients.
- Sugar– Regular white sugar.
- Light Brown Sugar- Molasses undertones help to caramelize and brown these cookies.
- Egg- Egg helps to bind the ingredients and gives a small amount of loft.
- Ripe – Overripe Banana- There is a tipping point at which brown bananas go from giving a good amount of natural sugar and banana flavor to going bad. You are looking for one that has some brown spots and is soft when pressed. If it is totally brown and mushy, it’s past its prime.
- Vanilla Extract– Provides an extra punch of flavor.
- Cinnamon Sugar– This simple blend can be made from scratch or buy a tin already blended at the grocery store.
Bananas range greatly in size, but I estimate about 2-3 average size bananas.
You don’t have to- you can use regular bananas, however, overly ripe bananas are softer and sweeter from natural breakdown of sugar, so they are better for baking. This brings out a stronger banana flavor. So while you can use regular bananas, you might lose some of the flavor you were looking for. Enhance even further with banana extract.
How to Make Banana Cookies
These is a super easy recipe to whip up, but be mindful the dough is sticky and does require refrigeration time, so plan for at least 3 hours. Yes, you can add more flour and skip the chilling period, but that will result in dry cookies.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. If you don’t own a sifter, whisk them together. Don’t skip this step, it ensures that all of the dry ingredients are evenly incorporated and won’t have little pockets of salt or leavener.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and light brown sugar. When fully creamed, it will lighten in color and be fluffy. This process takes 2-3 minutes and adds air, helping the cookies be light and fluffy. When blended, light and creamy, add the egg, vanilla and mashed banana.
- Gradually add the dry mixture to wet until fully combined, but do not overmix at this stage. Overworking can lead to more gluten being released from the flour and also air, which dries the cookie dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. More refrigeration time is fine, the dough will be easier to work with the colder it gets. For shorter refrigeration time, roll the doll in plastic wrap and shape into a flat disc.
- After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Make your cinnamon sugar or place premade in a bowl. Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Alternately, you can use a cookie scoop, but I recommend spraying it with cooking spray between each scoop. Place them on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Cookies won’t spread, but they do need space to get hot air to circulate around them well.
- Bake until cookie tops start to crack. Do not wait until cookies brown, they will be overdone. The centers might still be a little shiny; that is what you are aiming for.
- Allow the cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack using a spatula. Do not let them sit too long on the cookie sheet because the heat will continue to cook them and make them dry. Do not remove too early or they won’t be set enough and have the tendency to crumble.
Easy Banana Cookies variations
Making your own twists on these chewy banana cookies is easy. Here are a few ideas. We’ve love to hear what your did and how they turned out in the comments sections!
- Banana Nut Cookies– Like banana nut bread, add 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts or pecans to the cookie dough.
- Peanut Butter Banana Cookies– Stir 1 tablespoon of peanut butter into the batter along with the butter and sugars or use a peanut butter frosting to top them off.
- Chocolate Banana Cookies– Stir in 1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips to the cookie dough or top with a dollop of chocolate buttercream frosting.
- Swap the flavors– Try swapping vanilla extract for almond or rum extract for a fun, new flavor combo.
- Ice Cream Cookies Sandwiches– Sandwich two cookies together with vanilla, chocolate or peanut butter ice cream in the middle. Don’t store for too long in the fridge because the cookies will get too hard to bite.
How to Ripen Bananas Fast
- Microwave– The quickest way, but least likely to produce super sweet results. Nuke it for 30 seconds to one minute. Basically, you are cooking it and allowing the sugars to release a little before you put it into the recipe.
- Oven- the same concept as the microwave. Heat to 350 degrees and bake for 5-30 minutes.
- Brown Paper Bag – My mother used this technique, but it still takes about a day. Place your bananas in a brown paper bag and roll it closed. Ethylene will build up and speed up the ripening process.
- Tropical Environment – Everything ages faster in the heat. Place your bananas someplace warm, like in a sunny window. It will still take up to a day, depending on how ripe the banana was to begin with.
- Single them out – lastly, pull your bananas apart. They ripen much faster separated than they do still hooked together.
How to store Banana Cookies
Cookies are great for making ahead and bringing to parties and potlucks, But just like any cookie, they are best enjoyed within 1-2 days of baking. Store at room temperature in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. To keep cookies super moist, place a slice or two of fresh bread in the bag.
Can I freeze overripe banana cookies? You sure can! In fact, I suggest it. You can take just one out anytime you’d like!
Banana Cookies Recipe FAQs
Bananas can vary greatly in size and volume, but in general, 2 medium bananas make up approximately 1 cup.
Soft cookies come from making the sure the cookie dough it the correct temperature specified and that they cook until just lightly browned, or even a hair before. Store in an airtight container to preserve the moisture.
There is a line between overly ripe bananas, which are browned, but allowed the natural sugars to develop and turn sweet, and just plain rotting fruit. Ripe bananas will be brown, but smell sweet, while rotting bananas will have a putrid scent.
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Cookie Dough Recipe:
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and light brown sugar. When blended, light and creamy, add the egg, vanilla and mashed banana.
- Gradually add the dry mixture to wet until fully combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
- After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
- With clean hands, roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Dough might be sticky and not roll well, have no fear, just plop it into the sugar and coat.
- Place onto a parchment paper or silicone mat lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes or until cookie tops start to crack. Do not wait until cookies brown, they will be overdone.
- Allow the cookies to cool on cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack using a spatula.
- If you've tried this recipe, please come back and leave a comment to let us know how it went and if you made any modifications!