Almond Cookies with Caramelized Banana Ganache

Almond Cookies with Caramelized Banana Ganache
Recipe by Lexi Castagna
Yields about 18 cookie sandwiches

Ingredients
Ganache
3 ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 to 2 pinches of nutmeg (optional)
6 oz. TCHO Bittersweet 66% Baking Chocolate, roughly chopped

Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup almond butter (see Recipe Note below)
2 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cup almond flour or meal
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder

Directions
Ganache

  1. In a medium sized sauce-pot, combine your mashed bananas, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until mixture thickens, stirring every minute or two with a rubber spatula to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  3. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla and chocolate.  Stir until the chocolate is melted and evenly incorporated.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the ganache (keeps a skin from forming) and let cool at room temperature.  The ganache should firm up to a spreadable consistency, but not too oozey.

Cookies

  1. In a large bowl, mix together your all-purpose flour, almond flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside for now.  I don’t usually sift my flour, but I do typically run the baking powder and soda through a sieve to make sure there are no clumps!
  2. Using an electric mixer and paddle attachment, cream the butter and scrape down your bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Add the sugar and brown sugar and until soft and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).  Scrape down your bowl again to make sure everything mixes evenly.
  4. Add the almond butter and mix to combine. Scrape again! 
  5. Mix in your eggs 1 at a time. And you guessed it…scrape!
  6. Add your dry ingredients and mix until just combined using the lowest speed. Scrape again and mix a bit as needed to make sure everything is evenly incorporated and there’s no buttery goo on the bottom or sides of your bowl.
  7. Cover and chill for about 30-45 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350oF and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper while your dough is chilling.
  9. Portion the dough with a 1 oz. scoop or roughly 2 T. These spread a bit so I usually put 10 cookies on each sheet (2 rows of 5, staggered).
  10. Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating your pan halfway through. I usually only bake one pan at a time so that they all bake the same, but you can bake two sheets at a time if you prefer.  Just make sure you rotate the top and bottom pans halfway through and keep an eye on them towards the end of their time in the oven. 

Assembly

  1. Match up similar sized cookies and add a dollop of about 1 ½ T.
  2. Spread the ganache. Add the top cookie and give it a gentle press to seal it all together and serve!

Recipe Note: You can use creamy or crunchy, whatever you like best!  If your almond butter is a little separated in its jar, make sure you give it a few swirls with a fork to reincorporate the oil with the solids before measuring.