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Weekend Experimenting — Non-Cakey Banana Chocolate Chunk Bars

by on March 7, 2009 · 28 comments

This morning I decided to do some experimenting with banana chocolate chip bars. I like the idea of banana bars, but most recipes come out cakey. My goal was to make a banana bar *-with a slightly crisp shell and a soft but tight-crumbed and very dense texture — a stiff banana bar that you could pick up and swing around. This is what I came up with. One step in getting the texture I was going for was to eliminate the eggs. This is good news if you are vegan, because it means you can easily veganize these by by swapping out the butter for some vegan butter and using a vegan chocolate bar cut into chunks.
The bars are interesting, but I’m the only one around here who will eat anything with bananas baked into it, so I need a second opinion. If you try them, let me know what you think. All you need to make these is a bowl and a spoon. I mashed my banana with a fork.

banana bar 1

banana bar 2

Banana Chocolate Chunk Bars

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2 .25 oz)
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ oz banana, mashed (a little less than ¼ cup if you don’t have a scale)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter (cooled) – I used salted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped**
1/3 cup chocolate chips or chunks (use more if you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Sir flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl.

Stir mashed banana, syrup, melted butter and vanilla in a second bowl. Pour flour mixture into banana mixture and stir until well mixed. Stir in pecans and chocolate. Mixture should be goopy, but not too runny. If it’s runny, chill it for an hour.

Empty the goopy banana mixture onto the parchment lined sheet and shape into a rectangle about 9×2 inches. The best way to do this is with damp hands.

Bake on center rack for 15 minutes. Pull from oven and quickly score the long bar into 1 ½ to 2 inch wide bars, but don’t separate. Quickly return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on tray, then carefully separate the bars and let them sit on a cooling rack to finish cooling. They should develop kind of a crispy shell.

Makes 6

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Published on March 7, 2009

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina March 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

You KNOW I’ll try these. Waiting on bananas to ripen for now this and so I can make Jenny’s cookies again AND something else I’m doing. Goodness, I need more bananas! They look great, I cant’ wait to try them and see what they texture is like and I can’t wait to swing one around.

Lisa Ernst March 7, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I usually bake vegan (except for fudge brownies and a few other things that don’t work as well without eggs) so this is a good recipe for me to try. I also like the small batch portions. I’ll let you know if I make these soon.

Anna March 7, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Katrina, if you try these I will try your Jenny Flake cookies.

Lisa, let me know what you think :). My feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t like them since they were experimental.

I was thinking honey or maple syrup might be an interesting stand in for the corn syrup….golden syrup would work too.

Also, these seem to taste better after standing around for a while.

Katrina March 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I just may make these first because they take so little banana and so few ingredients.
Jenny’s cookies are soft, but an awesome chewiness and the next day and the next–same. That’s what I don’t like so much about other banana cookies, they turn really soft and cakey. I haven’t had too many soft/chewy cookies, they are usuallly soft and cakey or crisp/chewy. Anyway, I’ll shut up now and get busy. ;)

Ginny March 7, 2009 at 3:11 pm

These look yummy! And I have an over-ripe banana that would be perfect here. Unfortunately, though, I have up sweets for Lent. I’ll bookmark them for later!

VeggieGirl March 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm

PERFECT experiment!! Yum!!

Lisa Ernst March 7, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Anna, I love experiments! I may make these this week. I’m still perfecting my chocolate truffle ball cookie recipe, which I’ll pass along to you after a few more tries.

Lunasea March 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm

I like the look and sound of these. They’re very interesting and something I think I’d really enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

Jess March 7, 2009 at 4:55 pm

I badly want to test these for you, but none of my bananas are brown enough yet. However, these look amazing and are in my baking future.

shannon abdollmohammadi March 7, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Crazy…I was just about to post the recipe I came up with yesterday using mashed bananas and noticed you too had a recipe using bananas. This must be the weekend to use up those bananas. Your recipe sounds and looks so good. Check out my post too.


Erin Mylroie March 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Great idea to remove the eggs. I always have the cakey issue whenever I bake with pumpkins so I’m going to try some pumpkin cc cookies without eggs.

HeartofGlass March 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I always feel that way about bar cookies too, I like them very dense. This method would be interesting to try with pumpkin, apple, or other fruit purees.

Katrina March 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Done! Yum! It’s not biscotti and it’s not banana cookies. Perfectly crunchy/chewy with plenty of banana flavor. I like!
Great job, Anna.

Elyse March 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm

These look great!! I love the idea of having a bar that isn’t too cakey. Delicious!

Anna March 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Thanks Katrina!

Tyler (Raspberry Runner) March 7, 2009 at 11:46 pm

oooh, i want these now! yum!

Louise March 8, 2009 at 7:20 am

I hesitated to speak up and it must be me, but I just don’t see bananas in my cookies. Not pumpkin either. It’s like “liver au gratin”, in spite of loving liver. And I love bananas, banoffee pie, banana cake, banana pancakes, pb marshmallow banana sandwiches.

Sue March 8, 2009 at 9:20 am

If I had some bananas I would definitely try these! Love your experiments!

Katrina March 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Still chewy today and very good. The banana is almost a hint, but is there and I love the chocolate and pecans! I only wish there wasn’t just six of these and no more ripe bananas! ;)

Jessi March 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Oooo, those look delicious. I was going to make banana nut bread with the bananas I have sitting here, but I might try these instead.

kelly gibson March 12, 2009 at 11:24 pm

i made a double batch of these tonight to use up an overripe banana. we didn’t have any pecans so i used walnuts and they are delicious! they’re definitely one of those recipes that isn’t great right out of the oven but is better a few hours later.

Anna March 13, 2009 at 6:12 am

Thanks for trying them Kelly.

I agree. They are better after they’ve completely cooled and set. I want to make another batch but am out of bananas.

Kristacular March 16, 2009 at 1:47 pm

YUMMMMY! Made these today! A very nice deviation from banana bread!

Kristacular March 23, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Hey Anna, just posted these over at :)

Michelle March 25, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Hey Anna,
I just posted my favorite banana chocolate chip cookies. It is a recipe I’ve had for years. The cookies come out super moist, I wouldn’t call them cakey. I love them. I remembered seeing this post and thought I’d tell you about them!

Kathie June 21, 2009 at 5:34 am

Made these this week and received rave reviews…delicious!

Marie June 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Two years later (ha!) and I’m so glad I found this recipe. Better late than never, right? I made some changes – roughly tripled the recipe, replaced some flour with unsweetened cocoa powder (3/4 cup cocoa powder and 1 cup white whole wheat flour), used dark brown sugar and light butter, and omitted a few Tablespoons of light corn syrup. I baked them in an 8″ x 8″ pan like brownies and they turned out wonderfully! Thanks for sharing, Anna!

Anna June 13, 2011 at 6:35 am

Thanks for the review, Marie! Those are some interesting changes you made.

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