Old Bananas In The Fruit Bowl?
I am the first to admit it: every week I start out with the best of intentions. I make my grocery list, stick to it about 95% (sometimes a stray bag of chips or carton of ice cream makes it in the cart… sneaky snack food…), and fill up my various food storage spots with mostly healthy foods. One of those foods is bananas in the fruit basket.Jump to Recipe
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Here’s the thing about bananas, though. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me that’s noticed this oddity, maybe not. One week, we’ll go through two large bunches in like three days. Another week, we’re lucky to eat three over the course of the week. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason behind this banana conundrum. It is what it is.
Another thing about bananas… they’re kinda finicky. One day they’re beautiful. Ignore them a day or two, and all of a sudden, there are sad mostly-black bananas attracting various flying insects. I get it… bananas are best for baking when they’ve reached this state, but like, you have to bake them RIGHT NOW or you just have a mess on your hands.
To Banana Bread or Not To Banana Bread?
Flash forward to my most recent case of too many unused bananas in the fruit basket. Now, I could have thrown together a couple of loaves of banana bread, but I was feeling a little adventurous. So I hit up my box of recipes and found this one for banana bars. Hey, they had cream cheese frosting, ya know? They had to be good!
Thankfully, I had everything I needed to throw together a batch. An hour later, I was basking in banana bar heaven. The house smelled good, and the tray of banana bars was looking GOOD. I frosted those babies up and cut them up. Then I tried one.
Y’all. These are GOOD. Like, really good. But, they’re also really rich. And the recipe makes a lot. Now, granted, when they’re in the baking tray, it doesn’t look like a lot, but once they were all sliced up, I knew there was no way the hubby and I would ever be able to eat them all before they went bad or we ended up in some sort of sugar-induced coma.
Make the Neighbors Happy!
So, I did what any good Southern housewife would do, and grabbed a bunch of paper plates and divvied up 3/4 of the tray of banana bars into six plates of four banana bars each. After wrapping some plastic wrap around each plate, I set off on my quest around the neighborhood, trying to spread some love.
It took the better part of an hour, but I was able to make six neighbor homes happy with banana bars. As a helpful side note, get to know your neighbors, y’all. For real. If your next-door neighbor comes over unexpectedly offering you some fresh-baked banana bars, she’s not trying to drug you or poison you. I promise. Especially when she’s toting them around the neighborhood during a particularly warm Georgia afternoon and is glistening in the sun. Just saying.
Anyhow, I made the neighbors happy. I made our household happy. And now I have a go-to recipe for those pesky bananas that don’t get used up right away.
Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
For Banana Bars
- ½ cup Butter softened, salted
- 1½ cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup Greek Yogurt plain or vanilla
- 1 tsp Watkins Baking Vanilla
- 2 cup Flour All-Purpose
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
For Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz Cream Cheese softened
- ½ cup Butter softened
- 2 tsp Watkins Baking Vanilla
- 3¾ cups Powdered Sugar
- Move oven rack to center of the oven, and preheat to 350°F. Grease a 15×10 baking pan (I really like my Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan for this. The natural stone almost guarantees a nice, even bake).
- Use a large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer) and cream butter and sugar until very light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add eggs, Greek yogurt, and Watkins Baking Vanilla. Sift together flour & baking soda, then add to creamed mixture about a cup at a time until fully incorporated. Stir in mashed bananas.
- Spread this mixture evenly in your baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and Watkins Baking Vanilla until fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar little by little until a nice, spreadable consistency.
- After bars are completely cooled, frost bars. These bars are best kept in the refrigerator and actually taste best (and have best consistency) when straight from the fridge.
- Cut into 36 bars.
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