Thursday 23 December 2010

Banana, caramel and date cookies

I'm afraid that this is another case of the finished product looking rather less than it tastes. These small, round brown blobs looking distinctly unfestive are probably one of the best things I've made this year, which is pretty high praise given the amount of baking that I've done over the past few months! I can't put my finger on what makes them so tasty, but I will share the recipe so that you can share my joy at the taste of these biscuits. I would wholeheartedly recommend you make them for loved ones, or just for yourself this Christmas time as a real treat. You won't regret it!

The recipe for these lovely cookies comes from a recently acquired book 'Biscuits & Macaroons' published by ACP publications and bought from Marks & Spencer. It contains so many delicious looking biscuit and slice recipes that I am having trouble deciding which ones to try first. What decided it for this recipe was the presence of a manky ripe banana and some dates left over from the I should Cocoa challenge a while back. I'm so glad I had these ingredients to hand because this recipe is a keeper. I have altered it slightly from publication, and will give my instructions for making them too.

Banana, date and caramel cookies
125g soft butter
220g light muscovado sugar
1 medium banana, very ripe (about 140g with skin)
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g finely chopped dried dates (I snipped mine with scissors)
18-20 chewy toffees (I used Werther's chewy toffees - a 135g packet gave just enough with one left over as cook's perk!)

- Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Line two large baking sheets with silicon parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar until combined and light. Add the banana, mashing it against the side of the bowl and then mix it in.
- Mix in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and then when combined, the dates.
- Chop the toffees in half (I did this with scissors again). Form balls of the mixture (about walnut sized) and push half a toffee into the centre of each, moulding the ball closed with your fingers.
- Place on prepared trays and then bake for 20-25 minutes. I baked for 25 minutes, but wished that I'd taken them out after 20 because the edges were a little too crisp. They did soften after a couple of days though, which was delicious!
- Allow to cool a little on the trays - this is important because otherwise the toffee sticks to the paper, pulling the cookies apart when you try to lift them (....speaks the voice of experience!) then allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Yeah, try and contain the piece of caramel in the middle of the biscuit dough when shaping. I clearly didn't manage it and some tried to escape..... still delicious though! The edges of the cookie were slightly crisp, but softened after a couple of days. They were lovely and sweet but with the caramelly and slightly complex edge that the muscovado sugar and dates give, and deliciously chewy in the middle from the toffee. I would like to try them again, perhaps pushing a piece of bitter chocolate into the centre with the toffee to add a different flavour note to them. I seem to have found another way to enjoy dates, the dried fruit of which I never think that I'm very fond, and equally good, a way of using up just one overripe banana.

My colleagues loved these, and quite a few people commented on how good they were, a sentiment with which I can only agree.


Suelle said...

It's strange that some of the best tasting cakes and cookies don't look the best, isn't it?

I've seen this technique used with Rolos in the middle of chocolate cookies, but this is a more unusual combination of flavours.

Katie said...

I think they look delicious and loeveling homemade. Have a wonderful Christmas

Chele said...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think these look like they've been made with love, which is the most important ingredient after all. Have a great Christmas, can't wait to see what you have planned for next year ;0)

Caroline said...

Suelle - it's such a pity that delicious cakes and biscuits just aren't the most attractive! I'd definitely recommend these - the dates aren't overpowering and neither is the banana, but the combo is great.

Katie - thank you, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas too!

Chele - thanks! Hopefully the blog will continue thriving in the new year - I can't wait to see what you're planning either, you always make such delicious looking inspiring things!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...