The official title of this recipe should be Chewy Banana and Cashew Butter Cookies with Toasted Honey-Cinnamon Cashew Bits on Top but a title that long is just recipe marketing suicide. I stuck to the short version but I did make sure that the long version was right there in the first sentence of the introduction that way you’d really get the whole drool-triggering story from the beginning.
So want to hear the good news of the day? My bread-loving, gluten-worshiping, carb-stuffed chéri has decided to go the gluten-free route. That’s right, Freddy who usually divides his plate in 25% protein, 2% vegetable, 150% pasta (yes, literally you have spaghetti falling off the rim of the plate) and who regularly tells me “you know I’m not that much into the whole vegetable deal” when I gently try to encourage him to take a second serving of sauteed greens, casually threw in at dinner the other night that he was thinking more and more about his health and that he felt he might be better off giving the whole “gluten thing” (as he put it) a try. Can I get a Hallelujah??!
Now I’ve been in this for the most part on my own since the beginning, trying not to push my views onto people or influence anyone who’s not interested, all the while remaining happy to give information to those who saw that I was getting good results on my health and overall shape with the paleo lifestyle. I have several people in my friends and family who have come to me in the past months asking me for advice and I always encourage them to try out paleo if they think it can be suitable for them given how convinced I’ve been with this way of eating. Freddy’s been super supportive and understanding, he always makes sure I am happy with the options on the menu when we go out to eat and has never rolled his eyes once at me when I lectured him on the toxicity of hydrogenated margarine and vegetable oils or on the effects of wheat. Ok maybe he rolled his eyes a few times. And while he was happy to support and plow through the gluten-free goodies I baked, he was not the least bit interested in hopping on the gluten-free train himself, let alone buying a ticket for a seat in the paleo wagon. I mean, this is a man who regularly eats pasta with bread for dinner.
Until a few days ago. And the best part is that it came from him, I swear I didn’t push it on him. I like to consider myself a positive influence, or a leader by example if you will. I can hear people clearing their throats and going “hum hum” in the background and I’ll chose to ignore that. He won’t be trying paleo, just eliminating gluten for now and trying to cut back on dairy which is a huge step. But reasonable portions of rice, homemade gluten-free bread, legumes and starches like corn and potatoes are still in. However I got him on board for paleo meals at dinner with lots of protein and veggies.
I’m having a blast with all of this because I finally have a buddy with whom to share this stuff with. I’m probably more excited about this than he is and I think he might actually bail on me if I open my mouth again about the benefits of eating healthy fats. But, I think this might actually get us to reconcile to cook more together since the kitchen has always been kind of cold war territory for us where we’d be unable to agree on the most basic things to eat together. To get a better idea, just picture the two of us in the kitchen, each one with our little saucepan over the stove looking judgmentally over at the other’s food. Ok fine you got me, he’s peaceful and content with his reheated pizza-flavored casserole and I’m the one judging his grub. I still think I’ve been a positive influence overall. Let’s just see how long this challenge lasts. In the mean time I’ll be keeping his spirits high with gluten-free, paleo goodies like these awesome cookies. I must have made about 100 of these overall, man were they addictive.
Recipe: Chewy Banana and Cashew Butter Cookies
Makes 15-20 cookies
3 heaped tablespoons of cashew butter (about 1/2 cup or 100g)
7 dates (Deglet Noor), soaked and pitted
3/4 cup of coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of baking soda
For the toppings:
1/2 cup (60g) raw cashews
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Soak the dates in hot water for 15 minutes until you can easily separate the flesh from the skin. You can speed up this process by microwaving the dates in a container with water for 1 minute.
2. Start by making the toppings: Chop the raw cashews into smaller pieces and toast them in a skillet on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring them around to avoid burning. At the end, add the cinnamon then the honey, stir around for 15 seconds to coat and lightly caramelize the cashews then turn off the heat and transfer to a bowl. Reserve to add as a topping on your cookies before baking them.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
4. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork and incorporate the soaked dates (I remove the skin from the dates but this is optional). Add the egg, cashew butter, vanilla extract and lemon juice.
5. In a separate mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and whisk to combine.
6. Drop small amounts of dough (about 2 teaspoons) onto a greased and parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten them with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle caramelized cashew toppings on top and bake for 15-20 minutes in the oven until lightly crispy around the edges and soft in the middle. Let cool for 30 minutes before eating.