Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze

Fudgy is the only word that describes the bars.

They’re the banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero traces of cakiness.

Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze -  The banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies! Best use EVER of ripe bananas!

The bars are rich, soft, supremely moist, and tooth-sinkingly dense and satisfying. If you’re looking for a fluffy slice of banana cake or banana bread, they’re not that.

They’re adapted from my Lemon Lemonies, the lemon equivalent of fudgy brownies. The dense texture of the Lemonies was so perfect and unlike anything else I had ever made. I kept thinking about them and it dawned on me that maybe I could do the same thing with bananas.

Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze -  The banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies! Best use EVER of ripe bananas!

It’s an easy, no-mixer recipe and the glaze makes the bars go from really darn good to out-of-this world amazing. It’s a must-make.

The secrets are browned butter and glorious specks of vanilla beans. I cannot think of two more powerfully flavorful ingredients than browned butter or vanilla beans seeds, and flavor just explodes from the glaze.

Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze -  The banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies! Best use EVER of ripe bananas!

If you’ve never browned butter, read this tutorial. The 5 minutes it takes to do is the best 5 minutes you’ll spend all month. I used vanilla bean paste but scraping the seeds of a vanilla bean works. Vanilla extract is okay, but won’t be as flavorfully intense as paste or seeds.

After pouring the glaze over the warm bars, it seeps down and soaks in, and makes the bars even moister and softer. The rippled appearance that’s created as it sets up enhances the homey comfort food factor.

Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze -  The banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies! Best use EVER of ripe bananas!

I normally have a piece or two of what I make and give the rest to my family or re-home the leftovers with friends and neighbors, but I hoarded these.

Definitely one of my best recipes of 2014 and I’ll happily do all the cardio in the world to keep on hoarding.

Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze -  The banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies! Best use EVER of ripe bananas!

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Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze

Fudgy is the only word that describes the bars. They’re the banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero traces of cakiness. The bars are rich, soft, supremely moist, and tooth-sinkingly dense and satisfying. If you’re looking for a fluffy slice of banana cake or banana bread, they’re not that. It’s an easy, no-mixer recipe and the glaze makes the bars go from really darn good to out-of-this world amazing. It’s a must-make. The secrets are browned butter and glorious specks of vanilla beans. I used vanilla bean paste but scraping the seeds of a vanilla bean works. Vanilla extract is okay but won’t be as flavorfully intense. The glaze seeps into the bars, and makes them even moister and softer.

Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 generous squares

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: about 33 minutes

Total Time: about 3 hours, for cooling & glaze setting up

Ingredients:

Bars
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large or 3 small/medium ripe bananas)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt, optional and to taste
Glaze
1/4 cup unsalted butter, browned (how to brown butter tutorial)
1 heaping cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or seeds from 1 large vanilla bean; 1 tablespoon vanilla extract may be substituted)
pinch salt, optional and to taste
about 1/4 cup cream or milk, or as necessary for consistency

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Bars -  In a large, microwave-safe bowl add the white chocolate, butter, and heat to melt, about 2 minutes on high power. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute, and then heat in 20-second bursts, stopping to stir after each burst, until mixture can be stirred smooth. White chocolate is very prone to scorching and seizing up, so watch it carefully and don't overheat.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don't scramble it. Add the egg, sugar, vanilla, and whisk until combined.
  4. Stir in the bananas until well-combined.
  5. Add the flour, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don't overmix.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  7. Bake for about 32 to 33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. In the last 15 minutes of baking, make the glaze.
  8. Glaze - Brown the butter (click for tutorial). Cook butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan until it's amber to brown in color, about 5 minutes depending on pan size, but watch it closely so you don't burn it. I swirl the pan in the last minute or so to make sure I can really see the color changes. Butter will go through stages of hissing, sputtering, and making noise until the water cooks off at which point the browning occurs. Butter will smell nutty and aromatic.
  9. Transfer butter, including brown bits at the bottom of the pan (they're flavor powerhouses, keep them) from pan to large mixing bowl which stops any carryover cooking.
  10. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla bean paste, optional salt, and slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth or beat with a handheld electric mixer. As necessary, add additional cream (or confectioners' sugar) to reach desired glaze consistency.  Glaze should be of medium thickness and easily pourable.
  11. Evenly pour glaze over bars (they don't have to be cooled first), smoothing it lightly with a spatula if necessary, but glaze will likely just slide into place.
  12. Allow bars to cool in pan uncovered for at least 2 to 3 hours, (or overnight and cover with a sheet of foil) before slicing and serving so glaze can set up. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Adapted from Lemon Lemonies

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101 Responses to “Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze”

  1. Kristin — January 13, 2015 at 10:20 pm (#
    51
    )

    I made these tonight and, as anticipated, they were awesome! Even my husband loved them, who usually isn’t a fan of banana-y things. One little thing I did do differently was brown the butter that I added to the batter, in addition to that for the glaze. I poured it hot over the white chocolate chips and it was the perfect amount of heat to melt the chips, no help from the microwave needed, and then was quickly cooled enough to add the eggs – in case anyone else wants to give that a try! Thanks for the recipe, Averie!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 14th, 2015 at 2:06 am

      I love your idea of using browned butter IN the batter itself and that it melted the white chocolate easily and in no time and what amazing flavor it must have added! I totally need to try that! Thanks for the idea and glad your husband even liked these!

      Reply

  2. Johanna — February 13, 2015 at 8:46 am (#
    52
    )

    I made these yesterday, and they were amazing! I expected something quite rich and heavy, but to my surprise they weren’t.
    I don’t like melting chocolate in the microwave, so I used a saucepan, and then mixed everything else in in that pan. I added the sugar and vanilla first, and then the egg, no problems that way.

    I just need to say one thing, I poured the glaze over the “cake” part right out of the oven, and next time I will let it cool down a bit first. The glaze slightly separated immediately, leaving areas that taste like taking a bite out of a stick of butter.

    Other than that, perfect!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 13th, 2015 at 11:06 am

      Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I have never had any issues with the glaze separating but sounds like you know for your situation you should wait a bit longer next time. Glad they’re perfect for you overall!

      Reply

  3. Julie @ This Gal Cooks — February 28, 2015 at 5:37 pm (#
    53
    )

    Made these tonight! Added some semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter because I’ve been the biggest chocolate fiend lately! SO GOOD! another great recipe, Averie! <3

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 1st, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! The chocolate chips sound like the perfect compliment to the bananas! Thanks for trying so many of my recipes :)

      Reply

  4. Joanna — May 17, 2015 at 4:23 pm (#
    54
    )

    I made this yesterday and the flavours are great but it’s more chewy biscuit than moist brownie. The slice batter was nowhere near pourable–I had to make an effort to get it into the corners of the tray–and it pretty much held its shape while it baked. I’d really love to get the texture right because yours looks and sounds amazing! Any suggestions? Could I have added some milk to the batter to loosen it? (The glaze was as amazing as I expected, by the way!)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — May 17th, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      I think that you possible over-floured the dough, or your bananas just weren’t as juicy as mine, or something made your batter much more dry than mine. Therefore, if you remake, I’d add another banana, or as you said maybe a splash of milk, or reduce the flour amount so that it’s thick enough but not so thick it’s just over-the-top thick. Use your judgment on that. There are any number of tweaks that could probably help things although I haven’t tried them and only have made (and remade) this recipe as written exactly but dry batter is an easy fix, overall! Good luck!

      Reply

  5. Katy — May 30, 2015 at 3:53 pm (#
    55
    )

    Second time making these. Made exactly as written and have no problems. While they are good the first day, they are so worth the wait the next day. It seems a lot of baked banana goods are so much better after resting overnight. This recipe is definitely a keeper, thanks!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — May 30th, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I totally agree Day 2 is where it’s at if you can wait!

      Reply

  6. Robyn — August 2, 2015 at 8:27 am (#
    56
    )

    These fudgy banana bars are FABULOUS.  My only question is how anyone could possibly know they will last a week at room temperature.  There’s no way these gems last more than a few hours in my house!! 

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 2nd, 2015 at 9:33 am

      Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and that they won’t last :)

      Reply

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