Are you craving a delectable treat that combines the richness of shortbread with the delightful flavor of bananas? Look no further than banana shortbread! This heavenly dessert is incredibly easy to make and will leave you wanting more.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore two unique recipes for banana shortbread and provide step-by-step instructions to ensure your baking success.
The History of Shortbread Cookies
Before we dive into the recipes, let’s take a moment to appreciate the history of shortbread cookies. Shortbread has been enjoyed for centuries and originated in Scotland during the 12th century. Queen Mary of Scots played a significant role in perfecting the recipe, although it wasn’t officially published until 1736. Traditionally, shortbread is made with butter, but we will explore a vegan and gluten-free twist on this classic treat.
Recipe 1 – Brown Butter Banana Shortbread
- 130g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 135g light or dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large bananas
- ½ tsp salt
- 235g all-purpose flour
- 15g corn starch
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Halve the bananas lengthways and place them onto the lined tray. Divide 1 tbsp of butter between the bananas and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of brown sugar.
- Bake the bananas in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the skins turn black. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).
- In a small saucepan, melt the remaining stick of butter on medium heat until it turns a golden brown color. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Scoop the flesh from the roasted bananas into a medium bowl and mash well with a fork until smooth. Add the brown sugar and mix well.
- Add the brown butter, vanilla extract, and salt to the banana mixture and mix again to combine.
- Sift in the flour and cornstarch and mix until incorporated. The dough will be wetter than traditional shortbread dough.
- Grease a 13″ x 4″ oblong tart tin with a removable bottom or line an 8″x8″ cake tin with baking paper.
- Spread the dough into the prepared tin and use the back of a spoon to smooth it down.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges. Turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Leave the shortbread in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour to dry out.
- Remove from the oven and allow the shortbread to cool completely before serving.
Recipe 2 – Vegan Gluten-Free Banana Pecan Shortbread
- 1 cup coconut oil (or sub vegan butter)
- 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (approximately 1 small banana)
- 3/4 cup organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the coconut oil (or vegan butter), mashed banana, and sugar.
- Add the vanilla extract and sea salt to the mixture and blend well.
- Gradually add the flour and continue blending until fully incorporated.
- Mix in the finely chopped pecans and ground cinnamon (if desired).
- Transfer the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper and roll it into a tight log, approximately 2 inches wide. Freeze the log for 15 minutes to harden.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Unroll the dough from the parchment paper and slice it into slightly less than 1/2 inch discs using a sharp knife. Adjust the dough’s temperature if necessary by letting it rest at room temperature or freezing it longer.
- Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet, as they won’t spread much during baking.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cookies are light golden brown.
- Allow the cookies to cool before enjoying their crispy, nutty, and banana-infused flavors.
Tips for Perfect Banana Shortbread
- To achieve the best flavor in your banana shortbread, use ripe bananas with a strong aroma.
- For a more pronounced banana flavor, consider adding a teaspoon of banana extract to the dough.
- If you prefer a crunchier texture, leave the baked shortbread in the turned-off oven for an additional hour to dry out.
- Experiment with different toppings and decorations, such as dried edible flowers, simple sprinkles, or a dusting of icing sugar, to personalize your banana shortbread.
- Store your banana shortbread in an airtight container to maintain its freshness and crispness.
Health Benefits of Banana Shortbread
While banana shortbread is certainly a treat, it also offers some health benefits. Bananas are a great source of potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. They can help regulate blood pressure, support heart health, aid digestion, and provide a natural energy boost. By using gluten-free flour and vegan butter alternatives, you can also accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences.
Banana shortbread is a versatile dessert that can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are some serving suggestions to inspire your creativity:
- Serve warm banana shortbread with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful dessert.
- Pair it with a cup of hot tea or coffee for a cozy afternoon treat.
- Crumble the shortbread over a bowl of yogurt and fresh fruit for a delicious breakfast or snack.
- Package the cookies in a decorative tin or box to give as a homemade gift for special occasions.