The cookie jar was empty with no time to run to the store so I gathered up what was on hand. I found bananas, bacon, chocolate, oatmeal, almonds and anchovies. Anchovies were voted off the island first. I almost created a chocolate, banana, and bacon treat but it was a little too out of the box for a sleep deprived crew. These cookies are the happy result of what remained. Their redeeming qualities – oatmeal, almonds whole wheat, and banana - outweigh the fact they include butter and some sugar. They’re light, airy, soft, chewy, and good. The almond flavor combined with the banana and chocolate is well placed. I think I’ll try ¼ tsp pure almond extract when making them again because the hint of almond makes me yearn for more. It entices me to keep eating, wanting to follow it to a land of marzipan. Perhaps it’s the subtle tease that excites me. You know how we are.
There are traditions during calving season that mimic Christmas eve. Someone is on duty all night long, checking on the cows and newborn calves every two hours. It is a frigid, lonely job. Cookies and milk are left out for whoever stops by the cabin or barn during those hours. They might not come down the chimney but, like Santa, the fireplace is their first stop.
The place I call home on a working ranch is not the home I ever imagined. During busy times such as calving season, the kitchen counter is not home to only food items. Binoculars and a flashlight are kitchen staples for a few reasons. A careful eye must be kept on cows preparing to give birth in case of breach or a difficult labor. There’s also the chance a wolf, mountain lion, or group of coyotes take a stroll through the baby calves. Or to your front door. Each door has a gun propped up next to it just in case. The visitors are not shot at. If livestock are threatened, the gun is used to send a warning shot to scare off the predators.
Jack Daniels sits out for any stoppers-by who need warming up. It’s also used for medicinal purposes – to ward off an evil spirited cold for those hard at work. They swear by it. One shot and a hot, steamy bath will knock out any illness threatening to take a cowboy down. At least that’s what they think. Emergen-C is my drink of choice, but I’m the lone minority. I’m known to withhold a shot of Jack until they drink a shot of Emergen-C. Bribery works. When the cold disappears, they are convinced Jack Daniels did the trick but we know the truth.
If you like bananas and almonds, you’ll like these cookies. They’re my favorites today. If you have any problems with them, or discover an improvement to the recipe, let me know. I’m here to learn.
1 cup mashed, ripe, blackening banana
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup butter (2 sticks) (at low altitudes, you can omit butter by 1/2 stick)
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs, medium or large (use one if you have extra large eggs)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1-cup milk chocolate chips
1 ½ cups quick cook oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
(I think I’d add ¼ tsp pure almond extract if making them again. I haven’t tried it though. Do it if you’re feeling adventurous and let us know how it was)
Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and oatmeal in a seperate bowl. Use a whisk to blend it well.
Cream the butter and sugar until well combined and light.
Add eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture. Continue mixing while adding eggs.
Add banana. Blend until thoroughly combined.
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, a little at a time until completely blended.
Mix in the chocolate chips and the almonds.
Dough will be wet and sticky. If it is too sticky to handle, add some flour.
Drop by the spoonful on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 – 16 minutes at 375. High Altitude, bake at 400. Until the edges are a golden brown. They looked much lighter than this when they came out of the oven. The continued baking as they cooled.