If you expect a banana bar to be dense, firm, moist and rich rather than so light and cakey you need frosting and a fork, here’s your recipe. These “Banana Blondies” are from a 1983 article by Florence Fabricant called “Over or Under Ripe, Myriad Uses for the Banana” and it’s almost perfect.
The original recipe had a full cup of chocolate chips, which seemed like a bit too much and I’m glad I held back. Other than adjusting the salt, reducing the chocolate chips and using white whole wheat flour instead of the white/wheat combo, I followed the recipe as written
The banana blondies came out of the oven brown and very soft. I could tell they’d be a gooey mess if I cut into them warm, so I waited patiently for them to cool to room temperature, then not-so-patiently chilled the bars for another hour so they’d slice neatly.
Here’s the recipe as modified by me. My baking time was also a bit longer than the original.
Banana Blondies with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips
6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (130 grams)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 bananas, mashed to puree (7 oz wt.) – about 1 cup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt — omit if using salted butter
1 cup white whole wheat flour, fluffed, scooped, swept straight across (4.25 oz/120 grams)
2/3 cup extra dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square metal pan with foil and spray bottom of pan with cooking spray.
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg and beat for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping side of bowl often. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the banana puree. Beat in baking soda and salt. Scrape sides of bowl. Add flour and stir by hand or using lowest speed of mixer until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Pour batter into pan and spread to the edges. Bake on center rack for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack to room temperature. For cleaner cuts, chill an hour before slicing.
Lift foil from pan, place on cutting board, Cut into 16 (or 9) squares.
In full disclosure, I did monkey around a little bit with the recipe and tested one segment with a peanut butter swirl on top. At first I thought it would be overkill, but I kind of liked it in the end. If you are a peanut butter and banana fanatic and like over-the-top bars, here’s how to make the variation. You’ll need the following extras:
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 ½ tablespoons creamy peanut butter plus more
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
After making the batter as written and pouring it in the pan, melt butter in a small microwave-safe cup. Stir in 2 ½ tablespoons of peanut butter and the brown sugar. Using a teaspoon measure, drop 9 evenly spaced circles of peanut butter mixture over the batter. Drag a knife through just enough to make a swirled/pulled effect. Bake as directed. The peanut butter will develop little air bubbles after it has baked, so you’ll need to do some cosmetic enhancements. Put some more creamy peanut butter on a spoon and drop it over the hot blondies covering, as best you can, the pattern made by the baked peanut butter mixture. Let it soften a little from the heat, then gently spread it over the baked peanut butter mixture. Let cool and chill as directed above.
The peanut butter version looks like this.
Just got a recipe for Banana Bread Bars with a Brown Butter Frosting on them. Looks delish, but yes, they look like a cakey bar. I came looking to see what you had, Anna. These look great!
Yum. I came looking for some cookies to make today and landed on this one! Definitely a winner!
Katherine and Marianne, thanks for trying the recipe so quickly!! Second and third opinions are important.
very good, I did have to add another 15 minutes to the baking time
Yet another super way to use up my leftover bananas…which we seem to always have sitting on the counter!
The peanut butter idea is a great one.
Can you give me some idea what would happen if I used applesauce instead of the butter? Would it be more bread-like?
these are on my list for the weekend! thanks for sharing 🙂
And, well, it definitely is still rotating as by the time I posted my last comment, the cupcake was gone. 😉
Oh and hey, I like the tie-dye cupcake look on your header! Is it still just on rotation up there? Kinda fun.
One of my favorite combos–banana, chocolate and pb to boot. Love the monkey. I made a similar bar a few months back that also had oats in it.
These look incredible! I know I will be making them soon. For those of you who like banana as much as I do, the Trader Joe’s banana bread mix is very good. Just sub 1 mashed banana for the oil for even better tasting bread.
I’ve gained ten pounds while reading this. These look delicious! I love anything banana, I have no idea why either.
These sound delicious! Sort of like an updated “Congo Bar”. My mom made something similar when I was about Fuzz’s age. This is definitely on the “must-try” list. 🙂
I’ve never had a dense banana bar. My hubby might like these!
I had two sad bananas on the counter when I saw this post… now I have these blondies cooling on the counter. I followed the recipe exactly except for regular chocolate chips. I couldn’t resist a bite and they are awesome. I have justified that they are healthy too. Whole wheat & banana. Works for me 🙂
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Hahaha I like the lunch box in the background! These bars sound right up my alley with banana AND chocolate :).
anna these look so good! i am totally making these.
i have an emergency baking question: trying to make a rasp-cream cheese swirl for the middle of a basic (white flour) muffin. how do i do this w/out it sinking to bottom? should i put cornstarch in the raspb?
Chocolate, peanut butter and bananas. Great combo!