Monday, June 20, 2011

Banana-oatmeal-apple-cinnamon-yum cookies

Today I was at what our family calls, "The Bread Store," which is actually a Franz outlet. (If you have never been, and you are lucky enough to have one near you, GO! $1 for a loaf of whole wheat bread? You can't beat that.). One of my impulse buys (5 for $6!) was 3 oatmeal/baking mixes. 3 kinds of oatmeal cookies! NOM.

Knit cookie source

However, when I got home, all excited to bake cookies, I started reading the recipe...and the first ingredient is 1 cup of shortening. Blech. Now, don't get me wrong, shortening certainly has it's is an excellent cake pan greaser, and I've heard it is great for pie crust (not that I would know, I don't do pie!).

So, I went on a trusty internet search.  (By the way, I don't google, I goodsearch.  Check it out!)  I searched for "healthy shortening substitute", and one of the first results was an eHow article.  They said that you could replace shortening with margarine designed for baking, or replace up to half with applesauce or pureed prune.  I had heard the applesauce before, but what they said next really surprised me.

"Bananas can be used measure for measure as a substitute for shortening."

Really? Are you sure eHow? We shall see.

Here is the mix I used:

I went ahead and replaced all of the shortening with bananas, after all, who better to experiment on then my kids?  The recipe called for 3 cups of the mix (there was closer to 3 and a 1/2 in the bag) but with the bananas the dough seemed way too soupy, so I went ahead and tossed in the other 1/2 cup.  I also added almonds (the only nut #2 is NOT allergic to!), but I followed the recipe to the letter for the rest of it.

My biggest concern with the banana substitution was that the cookies would be too sweet.  Surprisingly, even with the 1 cup of gran. sugar AND 3/4 cup of brown sugar, they still weren't too sweet.  I think when I try the next two mixes, I will keep the bananas, but reduce the sugar anyway. 

One more hint, I would highly recommend spraying your baking sheets with cooking spray.  I didn't until the third batch, and it made a huge difference.  (Aaaand then I forgot again on the last batch.  Sigh.)

Here is how they turned out:

I think Cookie Monster would approve.

As for my cookie monsters, here is what they thought:


  1. Oh, that sounds good;I had just stopped making any cookies that call for shortening. I will try this for sure!

  2. Wow, 5 thumbs up! Good to know about the banana! Now, was it a mushy banana? Or was it still all yellow? Just curious if that would make a difference!

  3. The banana was medium-ripe, yellow with brown spots. It definitely causes a banana flavor, so if it's something that would taste weird with banana, I would stick to the applesauce substitute.