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Martha Stewart's Banana-Walnut Chocolate-Chunk CookiesBy Vicki McClure Davidson
Lifestyle and cooking maven, successful business woman Martha Stewart rose to prominence as the author of numerous books on cooking, entertaining, and decorating. A graduate from Baranard College with degrees in both History and Architectural History, Stewart worked as a model during college to pay for her tuition. Born Martha Helen Kostyra — all four of her grandparents were Ellis Island-era immigrants from Poland — she married Andrew Stewart in 1961. They had one child and divorced in 1987. Prior to her fame as a business tycoon, Stewart started a catering business in her basement in 1976 with a friend from her modeling days and wrote and published her first entertaining cookbook in 1982. This was followed by many others.
An ambitious, hardworking perfectionist with a distinctive sense of style, over the course of time, Stewart expanded her brand to include a magazine and television program, serving as CEO of Martha Stewart Omnimedia. She launched a line of popular kitchenware and home furnishings. Stewart was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World 1996."
All was going well with her growing authoritative "domestic goddess" status, as well as many Daytime Emmys under her belt for her show Martha Stewart Living, when Stewart suddenly resigned her company's CEO post in 2002, following charges of illegal insider trading. She was subsequently convicted of four felony charges in March 2004: conspiracy to obstruct justice, make false statements, and commit perjury; false statements (2 counts); obstruction of justice. This was all the result of an investigation into her controversial sale of ImClone stock. She was released from prison in March 2005 after serving five months and was on house arrest for another six months. She wasn't allowed to rejoin the board of her company until 2011.
Stewart has worked hard to regain the respect and trust she had with her millions of fans prior to her scandal. After her release from prison, she launched a highly publicized comeback and again entered the TV spotlight. She became a regular contributor of cooking, gardening, and crafts segments on NBC's Today show and appeared in an adapted version of The Apprentice, which didn't do well in the ratings. She has written a number of new how-to and cookbooks and launched an upscale line of homewares for Macy's. Stewart's daily talk show was nominated in six categories for the 33rd Daytime Emmy Awards in 2006, including Best Host and Best Show. Her comeback has been challenging, as her daily talk show, moved to the Hallmark Channel before its seventh season, was cancelled due to low viewership. However, she now is hosting another show as of 2010. She retooled her company and partnerships, including one to manufacture and market a new line of Martha Stewart-branded carpet tiles. Stewart was inducted into the 2011 New Jersey Hall of Fame for her services and contributions to Enterprise. She won the New York Women in Film & Television's Muse Award in 2011.
The following delicious Banana-Walnut Chocolate-Chunk Cookies recipe is from her 2008 cookbook, "Martha Stewart's Cookies, The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share."
Martha Stewart's Banana-Walnut Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
In one batch, find the flavors of two bakery classics: chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. Chopped walnuts and rolled oats add texture and more layers of taste. Use a ripe banana, which has more concentrated flavor, and is easier to mash, than an unripe one.
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 c. (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
- 1 lg. egg
- 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
- 1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
- 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely cut into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1/2 coarsely chopped walnuts (about 2 oz.), toasted
Before making the cookies, toast chopped walnuts by spreading them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and baking in a 350 deg F for about 10 minutes.
Preheat over to 375 deg F. Whisk together both flours, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.
Put butter and both sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture; mix in banana. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chunks, and walnuts (see toasting directions below).
Using a 1-1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart. Baking cookies, rotating sheets half-way through, until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.
Makes about 3 dozen.
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Biography website, Stewart, Martha (http://www.biography.com/people/martha-stewart-9542234).
Editors of Martha Stewart Living, "Martha Stewart's Cookies, The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share," Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Clarkson/Potter Publishers, NY, 2008.
IMDb.com, Stewart, Martha (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0829644/bio).
Wikipedia, Stewart, Martha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Stewart).