Melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a soft, sweet, spicy and nutty centre and a crunchy, salty outer layer. Sweetened with just bananas and chocolate chips, these might just become your new favourite healthy snacks!
I’m always trying to think of ways to make my recipes healthier, especially because I have such a sweet tooth and I really think I hit the nail on the head with these cookies. You would never be able to tell there’s no added sugar! Using banana as a natural sweetener not only adds that distinct banana taste, but it also gives the cookies an almost cake-like texture on the inside. They’re kind of like a cookie and cake all in one and what's not to love about that?! Combined with the spiciness of the chai masala and the nuttiness of the brown butter, these Brown Butter Banana and Chai Chocolate Chip Cookies are unique, aromatic and extremely addictive!
Let’s talk ingredients
Of course, bananas are the main ingredient in this recipe and are used as a replacement for refined sugar. In order to get maximum sweetness out of them, you should wait until your bananas are overripe - I'm talking pretty much completely brown. The riper the bananas, the sweeter the cookies will be, so don't throw them out if they get to that stage!
Actually, using overripe bananas will also enhance their nutritional value as they become richer in 1) vitamin C and 2) antioxidants, which can help prevent or delay cell damage and thus lower the risk of diseases. They're also a lot easier to digest than underripe or newly-ripe bananas as the starchy carbohydrates in them convert into simple sugars and give them a greater glycemic index. That being said, if you are diabetic, it's advised to eat bananas that are not overripe as this can spike blood sugar.
Health benefits of bananas:
Excellent source of vitamin B6, which is needed for: - liver and kidney function - producing red blood cells - a healthy nervous system - metabolising carbohydrates and fats, transforming them into energy
High in vitamin C, which is needed to: - protect our bodies against cell and tissue damage - promote iron absorption - produce collagen (the protein responsible for healthy skin and bones) - support brain health
High in potassium and low in sodium, which, together, helps to control high blood pressure
Gluten-free oats are used as a replacement for flour in these cookies, making them more nutrient-dense and wholesome overall. I recommend using rolled oats when it comes to baking, but steel-cut will also be fine.
For this recipe, you can either leave your oats whole for added texture or blend them into a fine flour (I did the latter).
Loaded with important vitamins and minerals such as: - selenium - supports the immune system, fertility and cognitive function - zinc - strengthens immune system and metabolism function - vitamin B1- needed for nerve cell function, digestion and energy production
Contain a high amount of soluble fibre, namely beta-glucan, which is responsible for promoting good gut bacteria and lowering cholesterol levels, blood sugar and insulin sensitivity
Excellent source of protein and carbs
Substitute: almond flour or gluten-free plain flour
Chai masala gives these cookies a little kick, which pairs beautifully with their sweet and salty undertones. In order to keep them clean, make sure you’re using a chai masala that doesn’t contain any added sugar.
Good quality, pure chai masala is primarily made up of ingredients such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger. As a whole, these give chai many of its health benefits.
Rich in antioxidants
Helps improve digestion and prevent bloating
Can help to reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system
Improves brain health and helps balance blood sugar
Browning the butter adds a nutty, caramelised dimension to the cookies which truly is a game changer. It's super simple to brown the butter - all you need is a skillet or a frying pan with a light-coloured base and some unsalted butter. It's important that the butter is unsalted as salted butter tends to froth a lot more, making it harder to monitor the colour and determine whether its done or not.
Important notes for browning the butter
Do not add the butter to a pre-heated pan. Place the butter in the pan and then over a medium heat
Ensure you are continuously stirring the butter to promote even cooking
Butter can burn very quickly so it's important that it is transferred to a bowl as soon as it has browned
Before adding to the cookie mix, ensure it has cooled down to prevent it from cooking the egg (around 15 minutes)
I always recommend using grass-fed organic butter as it possesses a richer nutritional profile than regular butter. Some of the health benefits of grass-fed butter can be found in the article for my Passion Fruit, Mango and Ginger Cheesecake recipe.
To keep these cookies free from refined sugars, I used chocolate chips that are sweetened with coconut sugar by the brand Real Food Source. Dark chocolate cut into chunks would also be dreamy in these!
The cookie dough should be placed in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight, before baking. As we're working with melted butter and mashed bananas, the cookie mix will initially be quite wet so storing it in the fridge will help it to firm up and make it easier to mould into shape. It will also allow the cookies to form crispier edges and a softer interior.
Brown Butter Banana and Chai Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes: 18 small cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes (excluding refrigerator time)
115g unsalted butter
2 1/2 medium-sized overripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g gluten-free oats, blended into a fine flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp chai masala
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1. Start by browning the butter. Add the butter to skillet or frying pan and set the heat to medium. Once a layer of foam begins to appear, gently swirl the butter around. As the foam begins to subside and you see small brown specs at the bottom of the skillet, use a heat-resistant spatula to mix it using a stir and scrape motion. As soon as it turns into a chestnut brown colour and emits a strong, nutty aroma, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl (including the specs). Leave to cool for around 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the oat flour, baking powder, chai masala, cinnamon and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas using a fork until super mushy. Once the butter has cooled, add the browned butter, vanilla extract and egg and mix well.
4. Add in dry ingredients and stir until everything is just combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon or spatula and then place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 180°C. Take spoonfuls of the mixture into your hands, roll into balls and flatten slightly. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown.
6. Allow the cookies to cool on the tray for around 5 minutes, then sprinkle each cookie with flaked sea salt. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely then enjoy!
I hope you love this recipe!