Monkey Cookies

When I was in college my alma mater had a cherished tradition of providing pre-bedtime snacks for the students every evening. Called “Milk and Cookies” or “M&Cs”, this 0930 pm ritual was an event we could set our watches to. As the witching hour approached we would anxiously wait outside of the kitchen doors to see what the evening’s snack would be. Sometimes they treats would veer towards the healthy-fresh vegetables and dip or fruit, but at least a couple of times a week M&Cs would be a baked treat. And one of my favorite treats of all time was something that was affectionately called “chipmunk cookies”. These cookies were thin and buttery, crisp and filled with chopped nuts. I thought they were really good at the time and they must have been since I still remember them after all of these years.
With these cookies in mind I set out to create my own, more adult version of my beloved chipmunk cookies. My cookies have the same chopped nuts as the original ones but I’ve added chocolate chips, a healthy dose of spices and bananas (because if they contain fruit they must be healthy, right?). And because of the bananas, I’ve renamed them monkey cookies. They aren’t nearly as crisp as the ones I remember and are more like a banana bread cookie. And to make them extra special, I’ve added a simple sugar glaze. And these cookies are good. So good in fact that they just might rival the originals.
So go ahead and bake up a batch yourself. But to make them a real M&C treat, don’t forget to enjoy them with a glass of cold milk. Wearing pajamas while eating them is optional……..

For the cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed ripe banana (the riper, the better)

3/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

For the icing:

3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter together using an electric mixer; add the brown sugar, beating well until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Add eggs and banana to the butter mixture and beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture into batter, stirring well until combined.
  • Fold the pecans and chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. 
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • To make the icing, combine the confectioner’s sugar with the melted butter, vanilla extract and milk, stirring until smooth.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, drizzle with the icing.

Yields: 36 cookies


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