You’ve been waiting for a sequel, we’ve been waiting for a sequel — everyone’s been waiting for London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s follow-ups to his smash hit cookbook Plenty and Plenty More. The wait is over: Sweet is on the shelves. Get to know the sweet side of the cuisine you love, and add a few to your repertoire. These chocolate, banana and pecan cookies are an instant winner.
These were introduced by Jim Webb, an original member of the Ottolenghi team along with Sami, Noam and Yotam. Jim mostly worked on pastry, bringing with him some brilliant ideas, along with a serious knowledge of bread and viennoiserie. It was Jim’s suggestion to add banana to the dough here, both for the moisture and distinct flavor it brings. Pecans are classic, but walnuts can be used, if you prefer.
The secret here is to slightly underbake the cookies, which keeps them soft and fudgy. It’s for this reason that they’ve never become a feature in the shops, particularly in the summer, when they’d bend and break after an hour or two piled up in a bowl. There are worse things to happen, though, than to be told you need to eat a whole batch of cookies within a day or so of them being baked.
Make Ahead: Once the unbaked dough has been rolled into balls, they can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. You can also bake them from frozen; you’ll just need to add an extra minute of cooking time.
Storage: These cookies are best eaten within a day of being baked.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
- 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips, or 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 ounces mashed bananas (about 1/2 small banana)
- 1 1/3 cups pecan halves, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
For the cookies
Place the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, then gradually add the egg and continue to beat until incorporated. Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt into a bowl, then add to the butter and sugar. Mix on low speed for about 15 seconds, then add the chocolate chips and banana. Beat until combined, then transfer to the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.
When firm, use your hands to form the dough into 1-inch round balls, about 2/3 ounce each; you might need to wash your hands once or twice when making them, if they get too sticky. Place the pecans in a medium bowl and drop the balls into the nuts as you form them, rolling them around so that they are completely coated and pressing the nuts in so that they stick.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the cookies onto the sheet — there is no need to space them apart — and transfer to the fridge for an hour.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and roll the cookies in the confectioners’ sugar, pressing it in as you go so that it sticks well. Place on the lined baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart, and flatten the cookies to 1/3 inch thick.
Bake for 10 minutes. They will be soft to the touch when they come out of the oven, so allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before gently transferring to a wire rack. These can be served warm, when they will be a little gooey in the center, or set aside until completely cool.