These 2 Ingredient Banana Nut Cookies are low-key genius. Combine nuts and banana, bake. When I first developed my 2 Ingredient Banana Coconut Cookies, I was amazed that something so simple as bananas and coconut could possibly combine to create anything that even remotely resembled a cookie. The same amazement applies to these 2 Ingredient Banana Nut Cookies (the basic version without add-ins is shown above, made with cashews). Now, Toll House these definitely are not, and they might be more accurately described as healthy snacks rather than dessert, but they’ve got me hooked.
The basic 2 Ingredient Banana Nut Cookies can be most accurately described as the quickest and simplest banana bread… with a hefty dose of nuttiness. Humble yet pleasing in their own right, they make an excellent base recipe on which to experiment with other flavor combinations. And they do serve an alternate purpose—replacing a classic treat (the conventional cookie) with a simpler and healthier alternative. They’re also free of some common allergens/digestive irritants: refined sugar, grain/gluten, dairy, and eggs.
To create the cookies (which, btw, are great for breakfast on-the-go), all you need are a few green-tipped bananas and nuts of your choice. When combined, they bake into soft, chewy cookies that are especially delicious when warm—and will fill your kitchen with the sweet smell of banana bread. When you’re ready to experiment with add-ins, I’ve included some favorite variations after the basic recipe at the bottom of this post. ♡
- Variation #1: Basic 2 Ingredient Banana Nut Cookies (bananas and nuts of choice)
- Variation #2: PB&J Thumbprint Cookies (bananas, peanuts, jam)
- Variation #3: Dressed-Up Chocolate Pecan (bananas, pecans, vanilla extract, cinnamon, dark chocolate, gold leaf)
- Variation #4: Chocolate Chunk with Strawberry Chia Jam (bananas, pecans, vanilla extract, dark chocolate, strawberries, coconut sugar, lemon juice, chia seeds)
Now I know what some of you are thinking. Five variations of a snack featuring bananas, an ingredient that’s neither seasonal nor local? And I’ll tell you: in addition to testing variations on this simple, delicious concept for y’all, I’ve been thinking a bit about the concept of “food miles”. Maybe because as we approach the deepest depths of winter, it seems more and more suspicious that grocery store aisles are still bursting with much the same produce as they were during the spring and summer. What faraway places do these fruits and vegetables call home? How much of our earth’s precious resources were expended to transport them to us here in the United States? With a recipe like these 2 Ingredient Banana Nut Cookies, one of the foremost sustainability considerations might be the impact on the climate resulting from the carbon footprint of imported bananas.
[clickToTweet tweet=”What other sustainability considerations may outweigh the importance of food miles?” quote=”What other sustainability considerations may outweigh the importance of food miles?”]
Determining the details of food’s carbon footprint is incredibly complicated. This article published back in 2014 effectively unpacks the nuances of food CO2 expenditure. Factors that may outweigh food miles in their impact on carbon footprint include:
- Growing conditions
- Storing and packaging inputs
- Waste reduction
What seems to have been known for a while (and yet still doesn’t seem to be widely acknowledged) is that fewer food miles do not equate with lower carbon emissions. Take the example of supermarket green beans imported from Kenya, mentioned in an even older article published in the UK in 2008. These are air-freighted to stores to allow consumers to buy fresh beans when local varieties are out of season, releasing carbon dioxide and trapping more and more sunlight… inexorably heating the planet. 😳 But the article makes a counter-argument:
“… A warning that beans have been air-freighted does not mean we should automatically switch to British varieties if we want to help the climate. Beans in Kenya are produced in a highly environmentally-friendly manner. ‘Beans there are grown using manual labor – nothing is mechanized,’ says Professor Gareth Edwards-Jones of Bangor University, an expert on African agriculture. ‘They don’t use tractors, they use cow muck as fertilizer; and they have low-tech irrigation systems in Kenya. They also provide employment to many people in the developing world. So you have to weigh that against the air miles used to get them to the supermarket.”
This isn’t simply a long justification for eating bananas on the regular—I suspect you probably already do—but instead a small summary of my recent investigation of a new-to-me twist (the effect of food miles on carbon footprint may be outweighed by other factors) that impacts a major topic (the merits of eating locally-sourced food). What’re your thoughts? Do you support local food? If so, to reduce your carbon footprint or for other reasons?
- 2 green-tipped bananas*2 cups nuts of choice
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Chop the nuts and mash together with the banana, or load both into a food processor and briefly combine.
- Spoon heaping tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet, shape into rounds, then bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until browned.
- Serve warm.