Monday, June 13, 2005

Mondays with Maida - Banana Rocks

Page 54 in the old book / page 88 in the new book

Another "rock" this week, which means another big, soft, chunky cookie. These cookies are called Banana Rocks, but there's a whole lot more going on... raisins, dates, prunes, walnuts, lemon zest, oats, and spices. Given that roster of ingredients, I guess it's not too surprising that you can barely taste the banana.

Then again, I may have been partly to blame for the rather subdued banana flavor in these cookies. I didn't plan ahead, and so had no ripe bananas on hand. The bananas I used were perfect for eating - sweet, but still slightly firm - but probably were not ideal for baking.

The glaze on these cookies, as with the Pumpkin Rocks, is applied as soon as the cookies are removed from the oven. It dries completely and interestingly, unlike the glaze on the Pumpkin Rocks, it stays dry even after the cookies have been stored for a couple of days. This glaze is simply a buttery sweet icing, with no lemon juice or other flavorings.

I liked these cookies very much, but not as well as the Pumpkin Rocks. I had one on the day they were made and another two days later. Initially the lemon flavor stood out, but it seemed to fade a bit after a couple of days, allowing the banana flavor to come through a little more. If you like a busy cookie with lots of "stuff" in it, you'll love these.

Banana Rocks got mixed reviews from the panel...

Suzanne: "The best part of this cookie was the icing and walnuts. The cookie looked like a "Banana Rock" but was soft inside. The prunes and dates were okay, but I still picked out the raisins. Rating - 3"

Denny: "Banana Rocks Rule! Even though they're not chocolate, I'll give them my first 5! Excellent, big chunky and flavorful. Couldn't taste too much banana but that was overwhelmed by the walnuts, raisins, prunes, and dates. Rating - 5"

Laura: Laura ate a cookie, but because of a sinus infection couldn't taste it, so she decided to bow out of the judging this week.

Phil: "Just looking at this cookie makes one pause to examine it more closely and wonder what's in store. A sort of fruit cake of a cookie with no noticeable trace of banana. While I liked all the ingredients, and as usual mine was cooked to perfection, the combining of these ingredients seemed more like a recipe created by a committee. Rating - 3.2"

Overall rating by the panel - 3.7

Next week - Date-Nut Rocks

Nutrition Facts


Anonymous said...

On the not-ripe-enough bananas--I've found that you can microwave bananas a little and they will break down enough so that they work in a recipe like this--I've done it when I want to make banana bread w/o waiting.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh...I like busy cookies! Those sound awesome! And I should thank mary g for that tip about softening bananas...I would never have thought to microwave one.

Cathy said...

Hi Mary - that's an interesting idea, and I'll bet it would make them easier to prepare. But do you think it would intensify the banana flavor? I find that very ripe (i.e. lots of black spots) bananas have a strong flavor which I don't like for eating, but which is useful in baking. I was able to mash my bananas OK, it's just that I don't think the flavor was well developed.

Hi Alice - thanks, I'll bet you would like them. Denny had said earlier that he liked lots of add-ins in his cookies and sure enough, he fell for these completely!

Reid said...

Hi Cathy,

While these cookies sound good, I'm not really a soft cookie fan. Having said that, I would probably eat these if they were baked into a "bar". They sound delicious.

Cathy said...

Hi Reid - now there's a thought! I've never tried converting a drop cookie to a bar cookie, but that would be interesting. Actually, there's so much stuff in these and so little cookie that I'll bet you wouldn't mind the cookie being soft.

Anonymous said...

On the microwaved bananas--it does intensify the flavor--it's more a baked banana flavor than a ripe banana flavor, but it's very good.
I sometimes microwave bananas just for a healthy dessert--a little honey and yogurt and you're in heaven.

Cathy said...

Hi Mary - yum! And I'll keep your tip in mind for the next time I'm short on ripe bananas - thanks!

Kay Hiller said...

I made these with ripe bananas, and the banana flavor was still subdued. We liked them a lot; my husband and I would rate them at least a 4.5 if we were voting.

Cathy said...

Hi Kay! If you liked these, I'll bet you'll love the pumpkin rocks!