You know those black-spotted bananas on your countertop?
They’re ready for a love match. With oats.
Mix these two together and in a matter of minutes, you have cookies. Staggeringly simple, scrumptious cookies. Cookies that are sugar-free, frugal, vegan, and gluten-free. You can eat them for breakfast, dessert, as a snack, to fuel up before a workout, to refuel after a workout, or even for dinner on one of those days when you need cookies for dinner; you will feel virtuous, satisfied and happy no matter the occasion.
If you’re feeling like a fancy-pants, you can add a splash of vanilla, a pinch of salt and some ground cinnamon. But honestly, they are great without embellishment, too.
When your bananas reach that uber-ripe stage, no need to make cookies immediately (although you certainly can). Simply peel and freeze for future batches. Let the frozen bananas thaw at room temperature, or, if you share my level of impatience, shove into the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds until defrosted and mushy.
Be sure to let the oats and bananas sit for about 5 minutes after combining. The oats become softer, resulting in extra-tender cookies.
If you have some dribs and drabs of ingredients–dried fruits, seeds, nuts, sprinkles, etc.–in the cupboard, feel free to add them to the cookies! You can either stir them in or sprinkle them on top before baking. In the case of the jam, make indentations in the drops of cookie dough before baking; fill with a smidge of jam, then slide into the oven to bake as usual.
The nut or seed butter can be stirred right into the batter; nuts and seeds can be sprinkled or pressed into the dough before baking (no pre-toasting required!).
Now for a showcase of the possibilities!
Cacao nibs + goji berries are yummy options. I am a jumble-it-all-together kind of woman, at least when it comes to cookies.
Cinnamon and pecans. This is my husband’s favorite, hands down. We picked these very pecans last Thanksgiving while staying with his parents.
These are expressly for my peanut butter-loving Dad. I’ll make them with sunflower seed butter for my peanut-allergic sister :). The power and flexibility of home cooking!
Toasted coconut, my favorite. I like to add a smidge of almond extract to the dough, too.
Can you guess my son’s favorite (below)? 🙂
Just a little bit of dried fruit and a scant amount of chocolate chips make these taste super-indulgent.
Have fun experimenting!
- 2 large, very ripe bananas (peel should have black spots), peeled
- 1 cup rolled oats (quick or old-fashioned, not instant; GF if needed)
- Optional Flavor Boosters:
- *pinch of sea salt
- *1 tsp vanilla extract
- *1/2 tsp ground spices (e.g., cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, pumpkin pie spice)
- Optional Stir-Ins or Toppings:
- *1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (gluten-free or vegan, as needed)
- *1/3 cup chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, goji berries, prunes)
- *2 to 3 tbsp cacoa nibs
- *1 to 2 tbsp nut butter, seed butter or coconut butter
- *1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- For thumbprints:
- Prepare as directed or make with nut /seed butter. After scooping dough onto baking sheet, make an indentation in each cookie; fill with ½ tsp jam, preserves, jelly, apple butter, etc. Bake as directed.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet (parchment, foil or silpat) or lightly grease/spray with cooking spray.
- in a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until almost no lumps remain (mixture should be almost liquid if using really ripe bananas). Stir in oats until well-blended. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Mix in any optional ingredients, if using.
- Drop by heaping tbsp onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart (they don't really spread). Sprinkle with any of the suggested toppings, if using.
- Bake in preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch at the center. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.
Storage: Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.