This One Ingredient Makes Cookies Healthier — and More Delicious

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Before you toss your banana peel into the garbage — or even better, the compost bin — you can actually use the rind to make one of your favorite desserts even more delicious. People are coming up with creative ways to use food scraps in effort to reduce waste, and this new study proves just how attainable sustainable cooking really is.

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According to research published by ACS Food Science & Technology, adding banana peel flour to sugar cookies can increase their shelf life and the amount of antioxidants in the dessert, while consisting of less fat overall. Comparing cookies made with wheat flour to cookies made with banana peel flour, the fruit component adds more nutritional value (like potassium, magnesium, and fiber) without sabotaging taste or texture.

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The study gradually boosted the percentage of banana peel flour as a replacement for wheat flour, beginning with 0% and escalating up to 15%. The more flour that was substituted, the higher the moisture and mineral content.

We know that most people don't reach for a cookie when looking for a healthy snack, and the banana peels don't take away from the sugar, butter, and oil in the treat, but a little extra nutrients never hurt.

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How to make banana peel flour:

To make banana peel flour, you'll want to start by blanching the rinds. Blanching is the process of placing a food item (like a fruit of vegetable) into boiling water for just a couple minutes before immersing it in ice water. This process puts a stop to enzyme reactions that result in less flavor, vitamins, and texture. Blanching can also remove any surface dirt.

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Next, lay the banana peels on a tray to dry, preferably somewhere warm and in sunlight. You can also use a food dehydrator to speed up the process. Once the peels are dry, you'll be able to grind them into a fine powder which can ultimately be used as a flour substitute.

While this does require a little planning as the peels take some time to dry out, the results seem to be worth it. You'll be enjoying fresh-baked cookies while living on a healthier planet in no time.

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