Reality check

True confession:  I am no longer shopping all-local.  COVID restrictions have caused me to reconsider my food choices. As much as I support local produce, I have had to shop beyond my 10 mile preference—by a long shot. 

For fresh fruit, I regularly buy local apples and pears, but beyond that, I must opt for what is available and affordable. At first I argued with self, but then there’s the banana situation. I have always been able to justify buying them from other countries because bananas aren’t readily available in US.  Plus, they ship well, arrive in their own thick-skinned wrapper, and supply plenty of much needed potassium.

Then, it was blueberries, a much loved Oregon staple. I struggled at first, but rationalized they were not locally in season. Still, they remain competitively priced and readily available —arriving clean, plump, and juicy from Mexico, Chile, and elsewhere.  Another reality check, and I’ve moved on. 

So, today’s cookie may cause some to freak out —but, consider the Blueberry Banana Cookie!    

Blueberry Banana Cookies

This is the time to use any soft aging banana you may have on hand. These cookies mix up quickly in one bowl with a whisk and spatula. A touch of nutmeg blends beautifully with both the berries and bananas.

Throw in a handful of fresh blueberries and you will have soft cookies peppered with purple pockets. A scoop of quick oats gives fiber, deliciously absorbs any excess berry juice, and contributes to their shelf-life. 

Of course, lacking fresh blueberries, you can always substitute an equal amount fresh nuts, seeds, or chocolate.

Blueberry Banana Cookies

From Banana-Oat Cookies, Counter Cuisine

Ingredients
1 cup AP flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp each salt, cinnamon, nutmeg
1 egg, room temperature
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 banana, mashed
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted or vegetable oil
½ tsp vanilla
 1 cup quick oats
½ cup or more cut up fresh blueberries (or nuts, seeds, fruit, chocolate bits)
1 Tbsp demerara sugar

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat, or spray with non-stick spray. 
On waxed paper, combine flour through spices.
In large bowl, combine egg through vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing to just combine. Stir in the oats, plus blueberries.
Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheet. These will not spread much.  If desired flatten tops slightly. Sprinkle with a pinch of demerara sugar. 
Bake for 12-16 minutes, until evenly browned; rotate pan once.  Cool slightly and remove to rack,   Makes 24 cookies

One Mug, One Serving

As a follow up to the previous Small Batch, One Bowl, today’s post further down-sizes.

Think of this small personal cake the next time the need hits for a minimal-mess-quick-fix.  You can’t go wrong with the satisfying combination of sweet ripe banana and quick hearty oats. If time permits finish it with a honey-oat topping.

Simply mix all the ingredients in a microwaveable mug and pop it into a microwave oven for 1½ minutes. It’s just that easy.

But wait!  If you haven’t used the microwave for baking before, there are a few things to keep in mind.  In small scale baking such as this, details matter and every second counts.

  • The microwave draws moisture out of food. 
    With our small cake, the size and ripeness of the banana become a key factor. To lighten the cake and provide additional liquid, use either one beaten egg white or 1 egg yolk plus 1-2 teaspoons liquid. When all ingredients have been combined, if the batter is quite heavy adjust by adding a dash at a time of additional liquid to reach a thick cake-like batter.
  • For the optional honey-oat topping Old fashioned oats provide an interesting nut-like quality. Because they are very dry, a bit of milk or water added to the oats will help to moisturize them before adding the honey.  (The honey will soak into the dry oats and become a sticky mess without moisturizing the oats first.)
  • For the cake to rise evenly, turn the cup once half way through baking.
    It is cooked when the cake begins to shrink away from the edges of the mug.
  • When done, let the cake rest for 5 minutes.
    The cake will continue to cook and release moisture.
  • Unmold by running a knife around the edge of the cake.
    If pretty is important, dress it up with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, or a drizzle of warmed local honey.
  • Enjoy!
    For breakfast, snacking, or individual dessert.

Banana Oat Mug Cake with Honey-Oat Topping

Inspired by Quaker Oats Banana Oat Mug Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ tablespoons quick oats
  • 2 tablespoons AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ ripe banana, well mashed
  • 1 egg white lightly beaten; or 1 egg yolk + 2 tsp milk, water or other liquid, lightly beaten
  • Topping
  • 1½ teaspoons old fashioned oats moistened with 1 tsp milk or other liquid
  • 1 teaspoon honey, agave or syrup
  • Pinch each cinnamon and salt

Instructions

  1. In microwaveable mug, blend together oats, flour, baking powder, sugar and nutmeg.
  2. Add the banana and egg white or egg yolk mixture and combine evenly to form a batter. If quite thick, thin with a dash of milk or water.  Scrape bottom and sides with a spatula.
  3. Combine the topping mixture and distribute over the top.
  4. Microwave on HIGH 80 to 90 seconds until risen and just firm to the touch. Half way through, stop and rotate the mug. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes to further cook and set up before serving.  Yield: 1 serving