Chocolate Espresso Cookies with Banana and Walnut

I’m off to Puerto Rico this weekend for a wedding, so this will be my last post for a few days (I know, poor me). Unfortunately, I haven’t done my bikini body any favors by deciding to test several batches of cookies prior to leaving. I’m pretty darn sure it was all worth it, though, because these may be the best flavored cookies I have ever had. Ever. Ok, maybe I’m just a little amped from the caffeine kick (there’s 1 tablespoon of ground coffee per batch), which is perfectly fine with me because I need to stay up to pack!

I like to use Spectrum Organic Shortening when baking cookies, but for some reason I’ve been having the darndest time finding it anywhere! Even my neighborhood health food store — a usually reliable shortening source — has been out of it for about a month. Has anyone else been having this problem? Please tell me this isn’t going to be a permanent thing. Anyways, I went with my second go-to: Earth Balance Buttery Spread. It’s vegan and there are several varieties, soy-free and organic options included.

I’m confident that everyone will enjoy these cookies as much as I did. They are kinda cakey in texture, but also gooey, chewy, and crisp — all the things that cookies are supposed to be. It’s essential that you toast the walnuts beforehand, because that is where the depth of the flavor comes from. The diced bananas add a nice contrast of texture and are sort of reminiscent of melted chocolate chips in texture. Oh, I just love these cookies!

Yield: about 15 cookies

Gluten Free Espresso Cookies with Banana and Walnut:

1 cup sorghum flour

1/3 cup potato starch

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon ground coffee (your favorite roast)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread (room temperature)

2/3 cup agave nectar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped (see below for directions on toasting)

2/3 cup diced banana (about 1 small banana)

Directions:

1. Toast nuts: preheat oven to 350. Lay chopped nuts flat on a baking sheet. Bake nuts in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, or until fragrant and browned. Watch closely to make sure the nuts don’t burn. Remove nuts to cool. Leave oven temperature at 350.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together buttery spread, agave and vanilla until smooth and there are no lumps. Slowly add dry mixture and beat on low until incorporated. Fold in banana and toasted nuts.

3. Drop batter onto a pre-greased baking sheet in rounded tablespoon-sized drops. Leave a little space between each cookie. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes (give or take about a minute depending on whether you like them gooey or more firm). Let cookies sit on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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