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Banana Bread Bars

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This year I only had a couple hours to prepare the food I was going to take to the Pig Roast so I didn’t have time to make some really razzlin’ dazzlin’ cupcakes like I had planned.  I went to the recipes I had saved on Pinterest and decided on these bars because they were pretty quick to make, could feed a crowd, and I had some overripe bananas ready to be used.  While many were disappointed I didn’t bring cake or cupcakes (I guess by now I’m kind of known for them), most of the pan was eaten by the time the meal was over (and there were tons of desserts) so apparently they weren’t too disappointed. :)

I got the best reaction from the teenage girls, for some reason – they flipped for them.  There were two short rows left when we were cleaning up after the meal, and I asked one of them if she wanted any more before I put them in my trunk and she took another three, saying she’d already eaten five.  I’d say that’s a pretty good endorsement.

The bars have a nice, moist crumb, and really good classic banana bread flavor, but the thing that makes them stand out is the browned butter icing.  I knew brown butter and bananas was a good match, and that’s why I worked so hard to perfect my recipe for Brown Butter Banana Bread.  But I think that the flavor comes through so much better when used in an icing on top of the bread.  Oh soooo delicious!

Banana Bread Bars

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 ½ cups (10 ½ oz) granulated sugar
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
½ cup (4 oz / 1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups (15.25 oz, peeled) over-ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 or 4)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (8 ½ oz) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup (2 oz) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

½ cup (4 oz / 1 stick) butter
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
about 3 tablespoons milk or half and half

Heat oven to 375F. Grease and flour a 10×15 jelly roll pan or line with parchment paper (for thicker bars use a 9×13 pan and bake longer). Beat first four ingredients until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla for one minute. Add dry ingredients and blend for one minute. Stir in nuts if desired and spread in pan. The pan will be very full but it’s OK, it won’t rise over the edge during baking. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting.

For the browned butter frosting: Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat past the melting point until it is boiling and a delicate brown, stirring constantly. The solids will separate and turn into chocolate brown flecks at the bottom of the pan.  Remove from the heat and immediately add the remaining ingredients. This should be thicker than a glaze and thinner than frosting. Using a spatula, smooth over the top of the Banana Bread Bars immediately. The frosting will be easier to spread once it’s on the warm bread.

If not serving the same day, let the pan sit out until cool and the frosting is dry to the touch, then cover with foil until ready to serve.  These will last several days at room temperature, but I found them even more delicious when served cold from the fridge!

Recipe source: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Nutty for banana bread? You might go ape for these…

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread {Low Fat, Low Sugar}

Buttermilk Banana Bread (my favoritest favorite!)

Virginia Street Banana Nut Bread (multiple blue ribbons winner!)

*You may have noticed I’ve started to include links to older recipes at the bottom of each recipe post.  Since I’ve built up quite a collection of recipes on my blog that many new readers have never seen, I’d been thinking about sharing recipes from my archives on a certain day each week like my girl Marsha.  But I’m having so much fun rehashing them this way, because I get to search my own archives like a treasure hunter and see if I can come up with three similar recipes to the one I’m posting.  So far I’ve been able to do it fairly easily, and I hope you guys enjoy these oldies along with the newbies! :)


Chocolate Eclair Squares

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Which is one reason why it took me so long to try this recipe.  French vanilla pudding and graham crackers?  There’s no way that combination could yield anything that even remotely resembled my beloved eclairs (or so I thought).
Thankfully I got over myself and made the recipe because it really is almost exactly like a chocolate eclair–so similar I was truly amazed. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I’m too busy eating them to try and figure it out.  Even my husband, who didn’t think he liked eclairs, ate two helpings of this desserts, so either it’s different enough that anyone can enjoy it or he was just delusional…which is more likely to be true.  I mean, is it even possible to not like eclairs?  I think not. 
Without further ado, I present to you the recipe that’s been floating around so long who knows where it originally came from.  My source is the great baking legend herself, Marina Castle (aka Food Editor).
Chocolate Eclair Squares
Splendour In My Kitchen by Marina Castle
Serves 12
1 (14.4 oz) box honey graham crackers
2 (4 oz) boxes French vanilla instant pudding mix
2 3/4 c whole milk
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip
6 T cocoa powder
2 T vegetable oil
2 T light corn syrup
2 t vanilla extract
3 T butter, softened
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 T whole milk
Blend pudding mixes with milk until thickened, then beat in Cool Whip.  Butter a 9×13 inch pan.  Arrange crackers in a single layer on the bottom.  Pour half the pudding mixture over the top and cover with another layer of graham crackers.  Cover them with the other half of the pudding mixture and finish with a final layer of graham crackers.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Blend all topping ingredients well, then spread over the top of the dessert.  Refrigerate overnight and cut into 12 squares to serve.

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