It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I’m still wondering what surprise I shall prepare for my love. I have to admit my deep attraction to everything pink, especially food related. As a real blond to the bones as I’m, this fact should not be surprising at all.
But love is (often) about sacrifices, so this year I’ll leave the pink for another time, when I’m in a selfish mood. And because Valentine’s Day this year is on Monday (the most stressful morning of all), I thought we better start the day with a special treat.
I also wanted to use the occasion to bake my own cookies with lots of almonds (as Sergey loves them a lot). At the end I based my creations on a recipe I recently tried from Smitten Kitchen. We found the original blondies a bit gooey and chewy but after modifying the recipe and the method, whoa . . . what a result! Crunchy and slightly chewy from the outside, but soft inside, with a deep almond banana flavor, and not too sweet.
I prepared a rather large batch of these almond-banana cookies for the Valentine’s morning, but I think they’ll also be a good afternoon snack or even evening sweet.
Makes 36 cookies
Preparation and baking time: 40 minutes
110g/8 tbsp butter, melted
200g/1 cup brown sugar
1/2 to ¾ cup mashed very ripe bananas*
1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla extract)
A splash of amaretto (I used Disaronno)**
200g/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
100g/ 1 cup chopped almonds, lightly toasted
*That is 1 large or two small bananas. I used ½ cup, but the next time I bake these cookies I’ll definitely increase the quantity – this way the dough will be a bit more spreadable.
**It was a perfect addition to my cookies, but if you’re going to offer them to kids, it’s better to skip over the liquor.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix melted butter and brown sugar. Beat until smooth and then beat in the egg. Add the mashed bananas, almond extract and a splash of Amaretto.
In a small bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt and add to the sugar mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir the chopped almonds into the mixture.
Using a tablespoon as a measure, start dropping equal amounts of the sticky dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. With the back of another (wet) spoon try to spread the dough a little bit. Don’t worry if the shape is not perfectly round – the cookies will spread and flatten, just leave some space in between them (around 2 cm/1 inch).
Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until firm and golden brown. Depending on your oven, you may need to shift the two baking sheet in the middle of the process. Let them cool completely on a rack.
You can store these cookies in an air-tight container for few days, and if you’re going to do so, make sure you separate the layers with waxed paper, to avoid sticking.