A vague instruction on: How to bake without having any of the correct ingredients – both a failure and a success story.

Picture the scene:

It’s 11pm.

You’re home, alone.

Comfy clothes on, tucked into bed, laptop in front.

When suddenly

Your stomach rumbles.

Motivated by The Great British Bake Off on your screen, you decide to bake some late night snacks, maybe cookies, muffins, a loaf, even a cake! You remember that you’ve got some overripe bananas – fantastic! You decide on good old classic, banana bread. You think ooh, ahh, I’ve got some cocoa powder, maybe some peanut butter – it can be a fancy banana bread!

Getting up a quick recipe, you put bananas, sugar (didn’t have caster, figured golden would do), and margarine in a bowl, next step: add eggs. Damn! No eggs. Quickly, type up ‘no egg banana bread recipe‘; found one, fantastic. Next step: add flour. Scour cupboards for flour. Realise you have no flour. Or baking soda. Hmm.

Is this where you give up and just grab a tub of ice cream instead? That makes sense. However for some reason last night the baking gods had me truly in their clutches, and insistent on making some delightful treat for myself, and too lazy to trek to the nearest 24 hour shop, I plow on.

Second google search: ‘no egg no flour no baking soda banana bread recipe‘. Every recipe now that comes up involves oats. I think, easy peasy – I love porridge, I must have some oats lying around somewhere! Scours cupboards. Finds oats! Realises oats are housemates, not mine. Finds Quaker Oats sachets of porridge. I stare at them for a long time deliberating, but not quite long enough to doubt myself, and pour in three packets of the stuff, ignoring the little freeze dried fruit pieces that came with it (hey, some of them were banana, so it made sense right??  please don’t judge me).

Thinking I can save myself with some tried and tested, classic flavours, I had a generous helping of cinnamon and cocoa powder. Who knows if they made a difference, I definitely couldn’t tell at the end, but hey ho.

Anyway after vaguely mashing it all together (I also did not have an electric whisk), it created this unappetising, but delicious smelling, oaty mess. At this stage I began to realise that this might not create the delicious, picture perfect banana bread I had hoped for, and so I decided, on a moment of genius, to separate the mix in two. I put half in a mini loaf tin, and layered and topped it with broken bits of caramel waffle. The other half went on a baking tray in 6 little cookie shaped dollops.

15 minutes later, the cookies came out, and 15 minutes after that, so did the loaf. I wanted to drizzle some milk chocolate or peanut butter on the cookies, but alas: no milk chocolate, and only crunchy peanut butter. So vegan white chocolate was sloppily applied instead (don’t attack my precision here, I was simply very hungry and eager to try these little baking hybrids). I then tried both creations.

Verdict:

The loaf – oh dear. Flavourwise, there was no truly offending features, but the texture? It was like oaty, sticky, peanut butter. It was just too thick, and weird. Of course, I still ate the darn thing because I was hungry and a scoop of ice cream definitely livened it up, but I won’t be serving it to anybody with pride, I’ll say at least. The little caramel waffle bits on top were a good shout and I’ll be incorporating that into some recipes soon for definite.

The cookies: I thought I left these in for every so slightly too long, as they seemed a little burnt round the ages. I was wrong. They were great! Crunchy round the sides and on the initial bite, oaty and chewy on the inside! Definitely heavy, no prizes for fluffiness here, and Gordon Ramsay would be sending me out the kitchen in a flurry of obscenities at the crudeness of these down to earth cookies, but I was a big fan. Was so happy at the surprising outside crunchiness and then the enduring chewiness of the inside. Enjoyed with some banana ice cream warm, and enjoyed the next day cold too – the banana actually came out tasting really fresh.

I’ll be making those cookies again in a pinch, they were easy, cheap, and definitely satisfied a craving without being overly sweet. So there we have it – they say when one door closes, another always opens, and this was true – though the quest to make banana bread failed – I’ve got some chewy gooey banana oat cookies instead. I hope this can inspire you to get creative with what ingredients you have, and don’t always feel the need to stick to general recipes you find online. Make little cookies with your cake batter, or cakes with your cookies, who cares! You might prefer it your way, or with various different substitutions – if you don’t try, you’ll never know!

If you do want the recipe to the cookies, just click here – Banana Oat Cookies.

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The stodgy ‘banana oat loaf’ fail, with the cookie ‘win’ in the background

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