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A Sweet Way To Use Up Overripe Bananas

I love it when I meet responsible, hard-working young people. The other evening I was in Zippy’s Kailua restaurant and was enjoying one of its healthier alternatives to a hamburger: the Boca Burger. Our server, Corey Lewis, was most attentive and efficient, and so I got into a conversation with him.

This young man, a Kailua High School graduate, is both working and attending Windward Community College, majoring in liberal arts. He told me he has been a server at Zippy’s for two years and hopes someday to go into the field of law.

In his free time, Corey enjoys getting together with friends and family, hiking and playing video games.

I would like to dedicate this column to him and to all productive, hard-working members of the younger generation.

I always seem to have ripe bananas and I don’t like to throw them out. After making dozens of banana breads, I decided to branch out to include bananas in cookies. These cookies freeze well, your keiki will love them and, as a bonus, they’ll get a potassium boost.

Walnuts have been cultivated for thousands of years and were introduced in Eu-rope by the Romans. Walnuts are an excellent source of copper and magnesium, and a good source of potas sium, vitamin B6, folic acid and thiamine. They contain fiber, phosphorus, niacin, iron, riboflavin and pan-tothenic acid.

It was once thought that walnuts could ward off headaches, because the shape of the walnut closely resembles the shape of the human brain. The leaves of the walnut tree contain an antibiotic substance.

Pecans are packed with nutrition, including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. It only takes about an ounce (or about eight pecans) to get these nutritional and antioxidant benefits.

When buying pecans, look for plump nuts that are uniform in color and size. Stored in airtight containers, shelled pecans can be kept in the refrigerator for about nine months and for up to two years in the freezer, if stored in sealed plastic freezer bags. After removal from cold storage, pecans will stay good for an additional two months. In-shell pecans can be stored in a cool, dry place for about six months.

Buying hint: If you don’t have any ripe bananas, ask the produce manager at the supermarket for ripe bananas that are marked down in price. These are excellent for baking and can be frozen in plastic bags for smoothies.


• 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 2/3 cup no-trans-fat margarine

• 1/2 cup granulated sugar

• 2 medium-size ripe bananas, mashed well

• 4 large egg whites, slightly beaten

• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

• 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; coat cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Sift flour with baking powder. In separate large bowl, cream margarine with sugar, add banana and egg whites and beat until well-combined. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture until all ingredients are wet. Stir in walnuts and pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on cookie sheets, and remove to wire rack to cool.

Makes four dozen cookies.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Cookie:

Calories: 100 Fat: 3 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: 50 milligrams