By Victoria Abbott
Fall means something different to all of us. Not only is September a celebration month for us, because of the release of The Marsh Madness, our fourth book collector mystery, but it’s the return to school. Then October will bring cooler days, cozier evenings and your favorite sweaters.
If you’re off to the office, it may mean packing a different kind of lunch. If you’re at home, perhaps it may mean you no longer fear heating up the oven for something baked. And we sure wanted to heat up that oven because fall is one of the best times for cookies! Lunchboxes love cookies and who doesn’t want to have a roll of cookie dough in the fridge or freezer ready to bake if visitors arrive unexpectedly or even just if the mood hits?
Put this all together with the fact that we had one overripe banana and you have the ‘back story’ for this cookie post. Most banana bread and cake recipes call for two or even three bananas. How unfair is that?
The banana was not long for this world and the suspense was mounting. I know we’ve all been there. To tell the truth, I’d been hoping to manage banana chocolate chip loaf, but I was thrilled with the results of this recipe. It’s an adaptation from a ‘recipe of the week’ book: the one called COOKIES, by Sally Sampson, a fun find.
These are ‘log’ cookies and it means that you can bake one batch and still have another one in your freezer for future cookie moments.
Chocolate cranberry banana cookies
¾ cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar (we used Splenda brown)
1 extra large egg, room temperature
1 very overripe banana, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (we used Penzey’s)
1 ½ cups unbleached white flour
1 cup rolled oats (not instant – but quick cooking or old-fashioned are fine)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
5/6 cup dried cranberries
5/6 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugar in mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides. Add the egg, mashed banana and vanilla, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a bowl, mixed well with a spoon to distribute the salt and soda. Add the flour mixture to the mixer in thirds and mix until well blended.
Add the cranberries and the chocolate.
Mix with spoon until they are nicely distributed.
Form into two logs and refrigerate for at least two hours (or up to two weeks!) This dough is very soft and sticky and it will need that time! You can freeze one for a month: we did! You can reshape a bit when it’s in the fridge so that log is nice and round.
Preheat oven to 325 F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper (you’ll be glad you did)
Slice the cookies about 1/3 to ½ inch thick are arrange two inches apart on the sheet.
The original recipe said ¼ inch, but we found that tricky with the cranberries and chocolate.
Bake about 15 minutes or until edges start to brown. We had to put ours back in for a couple of minutes. If your cookies are ¼ inch, bake for about 12 minutes.
Cool slightly on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack (easy with the parchment paper!)
These are extra lovely when served still warm.
That shadowy figure known as Victoria Abbott is actually artist and photographer, Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane, author of three other mystery series.
They are celebrating (explains the hats!) the release of The Marsh Madness, the fourth book collector mystery, out this month.
I highly recommend The Marsh Madness to readers of all ages who appreciate excellent writing, exciting plots, and fun, small-town people. -- Open Book Society
The Marsh Madness is a mystery that will keep you guessing and entertained every step of the way.
-- Fresh Fiction
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