I gained a new superpower in the last…oh, two hours or so. I mastered ice once. Now, I have mastered fire. Well, dry heat. The oven. Specifically bananas in the oven.
I know what you’re thinking. Okay, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but if I were you, I would be thinking, “Who the hell puts bananas in an oven? What kind of deranged Pop-n-Fresh monkey business is this?”
I’ll tell you: roasted banana bars.
I got the recipe from Cooking Light (that means it’s healthy! Okay, maybe not healthy. Light. Lighter. Light enough to not feel guilty) and immediately I added it to my Evernote, which is where I store all my recipes (I’ll write more on that another time), because Josh loves anything and everything banana. And this one is indeed bananariffic. That’s not really a word. But we’ll pretend it is.
Roasted Banana Bars
* 2 cups sliced ripe banana (about 3 medium)
* 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
* 9 ounces cake flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* Baking spray with flour
* 1/4 cup butter
* 2 cups powdered sugar
* 1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened (I used whipped cream cheese because…well, it’s what I had)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I omitted this step because I didn’t think they were necessary)
a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips (I added this because…I like chocolate)
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. To prepare bars, combine banana, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter in an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes, stirring after 17 minutes. Cool slightly.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°.
4. Weigh or lightly spoon cake flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 9 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) flour, soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Combine banana mixture, buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in another medium bowl. Place 1/2 cup butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs to granulated sugar mixture; mix well. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternating with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
5. Pour batter into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with baking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
6. To prepare frosting, melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool slightly. Combine browned butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled bars. Sprinkle with pecans chocolate chips.
Josh enjoyed these thoroughly. I did, too, and not just because I got to use the fancy new Tahitian vanilla he bought me:
But also because the bars had a delicious fluffy texture and the cream cheese frosting was just enough added sweetness to really make it worth it. A couple of these and a glass of cold milk = awwwweeesome. I also think that some toasted coconut sprinkled on top would’ve been a good addition. We’ll try that one next time.