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What's Cooking:  Jill Duncan

Jill Duncan of St. Louis shares a recipe for cookies made with coconut, dried fruit and bananas. Stephanie S. Cordle scordle@post-dispatch.com

Yield: 30 (4-inch) cookies

3/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup raisins

9 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

3 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened; see note)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. The night before, soak the pecans and raisins. Place in separate bowls; cover with 2 to 3 cups room-temperature water. Drain well just before cooking. You should have 1 cup each of soaked pecans and raisins.

2. If you plan to dehydrate cookies, cover the trays with Teflex liners. To dry in the oven, cover cookie sheets or cooling racks with silicone liners or parchment paper.

3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, using a mixing fork or your hands to mix thoroughly. The dough will be very moist.

4. Spoon walnut-size balls of dough onto the liners. Flatten dough evenly into a circle. For best results, make cookies about a quarter of an inch thick and indent the center slightly.

5. To dehydrate: Stack the trays and turn on the dehydrator to the desired setting. To dry in the oven: Place the pans in the oven, leaving the door slightly ajar (prop it open a couple of inches if it won't stay by itself). If possible, place a fan in front of the open door to help circulate the air. Bake on the lowest heat setting.

6. Dehydrate or dry cookies for 24 to 72 hours, depending on the humidity level and desired crispness of the finished cookies. To ensure even drying, flip the cookies every 12 hours and shift the trays so that no "hot spots" develop. To test the cookies, break one in half and taste it. The cookies may harden slightly after they are removed from the oven or dehydrator.

Per cookie: 150 calories; 9g fat; 5g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 2g protein; 17g carbohydrate; 10g sugar; 3g fiber; 20mg sodium; 10mg calcium.

Note: If following a raw-food diet, omit the vanilla and dehydrate the cookies at a temperature of no more than 118 degrees. Unsweetened shredded coconut is sold in the natural-foods section of many supermarkets, often with the specialty flours.