Friends, followers, fellow cookie-lovers, lend me your ears…or, um, your eyes. Or even, you know, potentially your tastebuds:
I had overripe bananas.
I over-ripened them on purpose.
My purpose could be considered nefarious, if by nefarious you mean THE BEST IDEA EVER.
It wasn’t even my idea. You can blame my friend Sidney.*
As of today, there exists in the world Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread Cookies.
You heard right: Banana Bread Cookies.
You might ask, how can they be cookies and bread? And I appreciate that question. They’re not banana bread. But they taste like banana bread, and that’s the important part. I substituted stone ground whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour, and added in oats for texture, so these cookies took on a hearty taste. The addition of the banana kept them moist and soft, and the addition of cranberry and walnut? Well, see the reference to “nefarious” above.
Of course, I couldn’t just leave well enough alone. I made two batches of the cookies, one regular (your plain ol’ butter-‘n-eggs scenario) and one vegan.
Here are the substitutions I made:
Starting with the butter, I used equal amounts of regular unsalted sweet cream butter and vegan Earth Balance. For some reason, even though the Earth Balance is not actually butter, the vegan cookies tasted much more buttery than the butter-based cookies. I suspect this has something to do with the salt content of the Earth Balance, but methinks I need to do a little more research.
I also played around with flax eggs for the very first time. Eggs are the glue that hold the recipe together, and there exist a bunch of different vegan options…I felt bad enough about using fake butter, so I decided to shy away from using something like “Ener-G egg replacer.” (I’m going to make my own vegan butter as soon as I can figure out where I can get my hands on some liquid soy lecithin…). I used a flax seed “egg”, which means I whisked 1 tbsp of golden flax meal in 3 tbsp of water. The consistency was similar to the thick gooey mess you get when you use regular ol’ egg whites, so I figured that it would be a good sub. Moreover, you can’t go wrong with flax when you’re going for a more hearty healthy taste. (Not that these cookies taste “healthy” per se. Who wants that?)
I conducted a blind taste test with my trusted taste testers, and here is what they had to say:
On the day the cookies were baked, the vegan cookies had a fuller, more buttery flavor, and slightly more depth. Fresh out of the oven, there vegan cookies were the winner by a nose.
On the day after, however, the regular butter cookies set up beautifully. Somehow, the flavor just…blossomed. The vegan cookies, which felt fuller yesterday, tasted lighter & less hearty in comparison.
That said, there’s no clear winner. Neither cookie is exactly what I want it to be. I’m considering these a nice test, but I have some ideas for making an even better cookie. I also want to focus on making the vegan cookie work as well as the other, because I think it’s important to expand my vegan repertoire. Keep an eye on my blog in the upcoming weeks…as soon as I can get my hands on that soy lecithin, and as soon as I can ripen some more bananas, then we’ll see the Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread Cookie 2.0!
Love & Cookies,
*You can blame Sidney for my biscotti, too.