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 the distinct flavour it brings to the cookies. The pecans are a classic match, but walnuts can be used instead, if you prefer.
The secret here is to slightly under-bake 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, where 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.
Makes about 24
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
110g caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
125g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
20g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
100g chocolate chips (70% cocoa solids), or 100g dark cooking chocolate, cut into 0.5cm pieces
50g mashed banana (about ½ small banana)
170g pecan halves, finely chopped
100g icing sugar, for dusting
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on a 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 a low speed for about 15 seconds, then add the chocolate 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 3cm round balls, about 20g 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 tray with baking parchment, place the cookies on the tray – there is no need to space them apart at this stage – and transfer to the fridge for at least an hour.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas Mark 5. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
- Place the icing sugar in a bowl and roll the cookies in the icing sugar, pressing it in as you go so that it sticks well. Place on the lined baking trays, spaced 2–3cm apart, and flatten the cookies to 1cm 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 tray for 10 minutes before gently transferring to a wire rack. These can be served warm, when they will be a little gooey in the centre, or set aside until completely cool.