Peanut butter and banana is one of the best combinations. We both grew up enjoying it on sandwiches, and it’s still one of our go-to lunches when we go hiking. It is delicious on pancakes and waffles, and makes a healthy and indulgent smoothie. Recently, we even made an incredibly rich banana chocolate chip cake with peanut butter frosting for a friend’s birthday. We just can’t get enough! So when we were brainstorming simple dessert ideas for Valentine’s Day, we decided to take this classic combination and turn them into cookies! We took our favorite four-ingredient, one-bowl peanut butter cookie recipe, indented the middles like thumbprints, placed a thick slice of banana in each one, and sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar so they caramelize in the oven and come out glistening like sweet amber-colored jewels. These chewy, moist cookies are full of rich, creamy peanut butter flavor and the sweet glazed bananas are the perfect addition. You can whip up this easy-to-follow recipe in less than 30 minutes, leaving you a long romantic evening to spend with your Valentine.
This is one of the easiest recipes you can make at home. The cookie dough is prepared in one bowl with a whisk, no mixers needed! The dough is light and smooth, so your hands will stay nice and clean when you form the cookies. Once they are on the baking pan, each ball of dough is pressed into a thumbprint shape and topped with a slice of fresh banana. Then crunchy turbinado sugar is sprinkled over each slice, which melts in the oven, giving the banana a sweet, bronzed lid of caramel. There is no flour, butter, baking soda or baking powder, and these delicious cookies also happen to be gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free. With a quick baking time, and a simple one-bowl prep using common pantry ingredients, they come together faster than you can pronounce their name.
There are numerous recipes online for 3-ingredient cookies. Most of them use peanut butter, white sugar, and an egg. We use brown sugar instead as it adds extra flavor and gives them a softer, chewier texture. The fourth ingredient is vanilla extract which enhances the peanut butter and bananas, so if you can muster up the energy to clean just one more measuring spoon, it is worth this extra step! Turbinado sugar, also known as sugar in the raw, has chunky irregular crystals, is larger than granulated sugar, and tastes like rich molasses. Sprinkled over the bananas before baking, this natural cane sugar melts into liquid amber on top of each slice, coating them with a sweet caramel-like flavor. Because of its health benefits and delicious taste, we always use natural peanut butter at home. (By the way, stirring it is a breeze now since we got this for Christmas this year!) However in this recipe, it’s not the best option as the oil separates too easily, making the dough thin, runny, and spreading too much in the pan. So keep using the all-natural kind in your day-to-day life, but buy a jar of the other variety to make these as a special treat! This irresistible dessert is full of rich, creamy peanut butter and fresh slices of banana, and although their humble appearance may not win them any beauty contests, they are a delicious reminder that love is blind… especially when it comes to cookies.
Peanut Butter Cookies with Caramelized Bananas
makes about 24 cookies
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (335g) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (450g) smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and brown sugar together until smooth and evenly combined, breaking up any large lumps of sugar. Add the vanilla and whisk until combined. Add the peanut butter, and whisk until smooth. Form into 2-tablespoon balls, and arrange evenly on the two prepared baking sheets (you should have about 24 balls of dough, 12 per baking sheet). Use your thumb to make an indentation in each ball. Cut the bananas into 1/2-inch slices, and place one slice in each thumbprint. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of turbinado sugar over each banana slice. Bake for 18-23 minutes, rotating the baking pans halfway through, until the edges of the cookies are beginning to turn golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature, and enjoy!
— This recipe works best with peanut butters that do not need stirring, such as Jif or Skippy. Using a natural peanut butter may result in thin, oily cookies that spread too much.
— A 16-ounce jar of peanut butter is exactly 1 3/4 cups, so there is no need to measure it all out!
— Turbinado sugar, also known as sugar in the raw, is a coarse brown sugar available in the baking section of most grocery stores. If you can’t find it, you can substitute brown sugar.