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~ Butter-Rum Frosted Banana-Walnut Spice Cookies ~

IMG_3470Spice is nice, particularly in spice cakes and spice cookies, and, when Summer turns to Fall, I find myself gravitating to spiced sweet treats.  I generically refer to them as the "apple pie spices" -- you know the ones -- spice rack essentials.  They're exotic and aromatic, and, they play oh-so-well together:  allspice, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg.  Sometimes I choose just one or two, other times I use three or four, occasionally I use all five.  That said, I'm always reminding folks to use them judiciously, as, too much of any one, is overpoweringly wrong.

These spice cookies are puffy & light, &, cake-like.  

IMG_3439They soak up milk or coffee faster than crunchy cookies.

These cake-like cookies are lightly and nicely, yet noticeable spiced.  If you're not a fan of cookies with a soft cake-like texture, move along without expressing any criticism.  For a dunker like me, a cake-like cookie soaks up my milk or coffee faster than any crunchy cookie does, and, near the tailend my beverage, it has acquired a pleasant tinge of spice -- spiced milk or coffee -- yum.

IMG_3370For the dry ingredients:

3 3/4  cups all-purpose flour

1  teaspoon baking soda

1  teaspoon baking powder

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon ground ginger

1/8  teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8  teaspoon ground cloves

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

~ Step 1.  In a medium bowl, place and stir together all of the above dry ingredients.  Set aside.

IMG_3379For the wet ingredients and add-ins:

1 1/2  cups sugar

1/2  cup salted butter, at room temperature, very soft (1 stick)

1  large egg, at room temperature

2  teaspoons pure banana extract

1  teaspoon butter-rum flavoring

1 1/4-1 1/2  cups fork-mashed bananas, from 3 large, over-ripe bananas (Tip from Mel:  If the bananas are not soft enough to mash easily with a fork, they are not IMG_3397ripe enough to use for banana bread, cake or cookies.)

1 3/4 cups chopped, lightly-toasted walnuts (total throughout recipe, 1 1/2 cups to add to cookies, and a generous 1/4 cup, reserved and ground, for sprinkling on finished cookies as directed below)

~ Step 2. Chop and place walnuts on a small baking pan as you work.  Place on center rack of 350º oven or toaster oven for 5-6 minutes, until lightly-toasted and fragrant.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool, 20-30 minutes.  Remove and reserve a generous 1/4 cup walnuts.

IMG_3374 IMG_3383 IMG_3388 IMG_3392~Step 3.  Using a fork, in a 2-cup measuring container, mash 3 large, peeled overripe bananas. You should have 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups mashed bananas.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, place the sugar, butter, egg and extracts.  On medium-high speed of hand-held electric mixer, cream the ingredients together, constantly scraping down the sides of the bowl with a large rubber spatula for 1-1 1/2 minutes.  Add bananas, increase mixer speed to high and thoroughly incorporate.

IMG_3399 IMG_3401 IMG_3403 2 IMG_3408~Step 4.  Lower mixer speed to medium-low.  In two parts, add the dry ingredients (the flour/spice mixture), mixing thoroughly while scraping down the sides of the bowl with the spatula each time. Remove the mixer.  Add the nuts and use the spatula to fold them into the cookie dough.

IMG_3422 IMG_3423 IMG_3427 IMG_3429~Step 5.  Using a 1 3/4" ice-cream scoop as a measure, place firmly-packed balls of cookie dough, well apart, 12 on each of three 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans that have been lined with parchment paper.  One-pan-at-a-time, bake on center rack of 350º oven, 12-13 minutes until puffed up through to the center and lightly-browned.  Remove from oven.  Using a thin spatula, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat this process two more times with remaining pans of cookies.  Prepare cream cheese frosting and frost/top cookies as directed below.

Remove from oven & transfer to wire rack(s) to cool...

IMG_3444... prior to frosting & topping cookies as directed below:

IMG_6408For the cream cheese frosting :

8  ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, very soft

1  cup Confectioner's sugar

2  teaspoons butter-rum flavoring

1  tablespoon milk

1/4  cup chopped lightly-toasted walnuts, reserved from above 

IMG_3447 IMG_3452~ Step 1.  In a small-capacity food processor, place the walnuts.  Using a series of of 12-15 rapid on-off pulses, followed by the motor running for 8-10 seconds, grind the walnuts to a fine-grained "sprinkleable" consistency.  Set aside.

IMG_3464 IMG_3453 IMG_3456 IMG_3462~Step 2.  Place the cream cheese, butter-rum flavoring and Confectioners' sugar in work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade.  Using a series of 12-15 rapid on-off pulses, followed by the motor running for 8-10 seconds, process until it's got an ultra-smooth consistency, adding milk, by the teaspoonful, if necessary, to reach the desired consistency -- I added 1 teaspoon today.

IMG_3478~ Step 3.  Place the wire rack of cookies atop a piece of parchment or paper towels.  Using a knife, spread some frosting over the top of each cookie (do not dip the cookie top into the frosting).  While the frosting is still moist, sprinkle ground nuts over the the frosted cookies. The parchment paper or paper towels will collect the excess underneath.  Allow cookies to sit, uncovered, for several  hours, to give the frosting time to set.  

Spread frosting over tops of cookies & sprinkle w/ground nuts:

IMG_3476Fall has arrived.  Are you ready for some spice?

IMG_3482Butter-Rum Frosted Banana-Walnut Spice Cookies:  Recipe yields 3 dozen, 2 1/2"-round cookies.

Special Equipment List:  2-cup measuring container; cutting board; chef's knife; small baking pan; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 3, 17 1/2" x 11 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; 1 3/4" ice-cream scoop; wire cooling rack; butter knife; mini-food processor; food processor

IMG_6433 IMG_9233Cook's Note: It's never to early to start thinking about your holiday cooking baking.  For two more of my favorite lightly- and nicely-spiced cake-like cookie recipes, one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas, click on the following links to my posts for:  pumpkin cookies and eggnog cookies.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)


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