Going bananas – easy cookie recipe

Bananas at sea - August 2013 (Leaving Raivavae)
Bananas at sea – August 2013 – en route from Raivavae to Tahiti.

While Doug works away on the boat, Toby and I are back in Vancouver. Given that Toby is sick every time we go on a bus, I’m starting to see the (unconventional) wisdom of Jean-Marie , the broker for our harbour neighbour’s boat, who took one look at Toby splashing around in a bucket in the cockpit, asked his age, and said, with a smile but in all seriousness, “Ah, he’s too young to be on land.” Brilliant, eh?

Anyway, here we are on land, looking for ways to enjoy the summer without Doug, van or boat. It’s going pretty well, considering (you know, minus the odd moment of ‘aaaagh, I’ve run out of diapers and it’s bedtime’) and when we do brave the bus we get rewarded with sights like this:

Stanley Park
Stanley Park

And this:

View from Crab Park
View from Crab Park

And this:

Sunset looking over Coal Harbour
Sunset looking over Coal Harbour

And sometimes this:

Stanley Park resident
Stanley Park resident

But, given the bus-sickness thing, we’ve had some stay-at-home-and-nearby days. Yesterday was one such day and, as a result, baking happened! It occurred to me that it might be worth sharing the super-duper-easy ‘recipe’ as 1) it’s such a simple way to make a yummy healthy snack, 2) it’s an alternative to banana bread when you’re trying to work out what to do with all your over-ripe bananas and 3) it’s totally perfect for boat galley baking, as you don’t need eggs or butter (sometimes hard or expensive to get hold of), you can totally improvise with whatever you happen to have in the cupboards and you don’t even need to measure out the ingredients.

Bananas on the boat
Bananas on the boat

Anyone who’s sailed in the Tropics has probably experienced having a huge bunch of bananas, all ready at once, and needing to come up with creative ways to use them. (Edit: just found this great post with a load of ideas, check it out!)We made a lot of banana bread on Raivavae and Tahiti! And Janice did amazingly delicious ‘caramelised bananas’ to go with pancakes. I also like making ‘banana pancakes’ using just bananas and eggs. But right now we’re trying to avoid eggs for Toby so my current favourite is these baby friendly ‘cookies’ which somebody suggested in a baby Facebook group I’m in. (Don’t know where they originally came from, but I just found various mentions online with a quick google, like here and here!) The great thing is they’re very quick both to make and to bake, so, if you’re making them on a boat, you use up less propane and they’re easy enough to do under way or while busy with other boat jobs (or at home in the kitchen while the baby naps and you’re trying to fit a million jobs into not many minutes).

I am something of a ‘lazy baker’ – I am not as accurate as I should be, like to experiment, and can never quite tell you what I’ve put in or how it will come out. Hmm, perhaps I’m not the best person to share recipes? That said, it’s fun doing your own experiments to create the mix you like, so here’s the basic idea and you can play around with it. The best bit about this ‘recipe’ is you can just throw stuff in – a sprinkle of this, a handful of that – or just use the two main ingredients if you have nothing else to hand!

Ingredients:
Ripe bananas (mashed up)
Oats

My first attempt - the second batch I made a bit smaller.
One of the recent batches I’ve made

That’s it!!! But you could choose to add:
Shredded coconut
Cinnamon
Ginger
Peanut/almond butter
Apple sauce
Vanilla extract
Chocolate chips/Toffee bits
Blueberries
Chopped nuts or dried fruits
Flaxseed meal (I soak it in water or almond milk)
Coconut oil

Method: Choose quantities depending on how much you want to use up or make. (My latest batch I had two bananas, and added about two cups of oats, plus some baby oat cereal and flaxseed meal, along with a bit of apple sauce, a couple of spoons of peanut butter, ginger, coconut and choc chips in half the mix, for me!) Mix it up. If it seems too dry, add something runny like milk or apple sauce or water. Make little circular shapes – it doesn’t really ‘spread’ while baking so the shape you make will likely be the shape and size of your final product. Try to remember to grease the tin. Bake at about 175 degrees C (350 F) for about 15 minutes. Eat while hot for extra yummy-ness, though they also seem to keep pretty well. Great for babies and kids, and, with chocolate chips, a tasty grown up treat too! No, they’re not regular cookies, but if, like me, you’re looking for easy ways to be a little bit healthier, these are a decent alternative. If you make them, let me know if you have other favourite additions I haven’t thought of….

Enjoy out at sea, or on your back deck, along with some homemade iced tea!
Enjoy out at sea, or on your back deck, along with some homemade iced tea!

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