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

  1. #
    1
    Lindsay — August 23, 2014 at 3:42 am

    Oh my gosh, Averie! Perfection doesn’t even scratch the surface for describing these bars!! Banana, vanilla, white chocolate & browned butter all together in something that looks like THIS?! Girl, can you move to NYC & be my neighbor?! Xo

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Your weather is not nearly as good as San Diego. You’ll have to come out here :)

      Reply

      • Lindsay replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 8:47 am

        Lol, I can’t argue that!!

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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — August 23, 2014 at 3:53 am

    Averie, this is so unique!! Love the looks of that fudgy base. Hole delicious!!

    Reply

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    Maryea {happy healthy mama} — August 23, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Wow–these are like nothing I’ve seen. I have the feeling I would absolutely love them!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 7:42 am

      Maryea, I did love them, sooo much! I hope you do too!

      Reply

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    Paula — August 23, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Butter makes everything better and browned butter makes everything divine!! These bars have a lot of special touches with the white choc and vanilla bean paste….and all that adds up to serious deliciousness. I can see why you wanted to hang on to these. I like the paste because I get flecks in every spoonful–no shaking required!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 7:40 am

      Paula this is one of those recipes like the French Silk Pie I recently made that was a special one – omg I LOVED these things! You’re so right about the browned butter and the flecks in every spoonful :)

      Reply

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    Eve @ Baking the Day — August 23, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Brown butter and vanilla on top of banana bars?!? Those bars look to good! Moist and banana-y, I have never seen this before, what a great idea!

    Reply

  6. #
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    lisatberry — August 23, 2014 at 6:26 am

    WOW…these look so moist and delicious and I love how clean your cuts are when you make bars…I adore vanilla bean paste and try to put it in almost everything so I know these will be the vanilla bomb…can’t wait to make these.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 7:38 am

      Thanks for noticing the clean cuts :)

      And if you try these, LMK! Not surprised you’re already totally on board with vanilla bean paste, I love it too!

      Reply

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    Lynn — August 23, 2014 at 7:24 am

    You had me at “zero traces of cakiness.” And the fact that I’ve been wanting to make browned butter for a very long time. I actually just learned about it maybe within the last year… This might be the push for me to actually get on it! These look and sound wonderful!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 7:36 am

      Oh you have to try it! It’s a game changer!!

      Reply

  8. #
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    Danielle @ Chits and Chats and Chocolate — August 23, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Browned butter+ bananas+vanilla bean paste+fudginess can’t equal anything but complete awesomeness. These look fantastic!

    Reply

  9. #
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    Akane — August 23, 2014 at 7:31 am

    These look amazing!! I really have to try this! Thank you!

    Reply

  10. #
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    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — August 23, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Give me a straw for that glaze OMG!!! And the bars too. I’m in love.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Dorothy these are so you. And me :) I mean I know you would love these! We’d have to wrestle for a straw to drink the glaze LOL!

      Reply

  11. #
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    jenna @ just j.faye — August 23, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Oh my, these look absolutely amazing!!

    Reply

  12. #
    12
    Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchen — August 23, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like these! Love how your mind works Averie! They look like total buttery banana vanilla bliss!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      total buttery banana vanilla bliss <— well said, and yes :)

      Reply

  13. #
    13
    Shawn @ I Wash You Dry — August 23, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Gorgeous!! I just pinned these and will patiently wait for my bananas to get overly ripe so I can make these!!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks for pinning and for the FB shout out, too! If you end up trying these, LMK!

      Reply

  14. #
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    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — August 23, 2014 at 10:36 am

    These bars look so fudgy, Averie! Love the browned butter glaze! Pinned!

    Reply

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — August 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    That glaze sounds to-die-for, love these bars!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      And I know your a big browned butter fan too :)

      Reply

  16. #
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    Katy — August 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    This is such a cool idea Averie! I always think we’re out of banana recipes and then you come up with something else totally unique! Can’t wait to sink my teeth into these ones…pinned.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Thanks for pinning and I always think I’m out, too….til the next one :)

      Reply

  17. #
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    Heather @ Shards of Lavender — August 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I absolutely agree with you when you say that browned butter adds so much flavor to recipes… I just browned some this morning for a blondie recipe and the smell alone was intoxicating! These bars, oh my… I pinned them to make as soon as the vanilla bean paste arrives. Can’t wait!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Oh yay! LMK how they turn out! And that’s awesome you have vanilla bean paste on order :)

      Reply

      • Heather @ Shards of Lavender replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 6:25 pm

        You’re the second blogger who’s mentioned the paste, so I figured it was time to try it out myself:)

      • Heather @ Shards of Lavender replied: — August 26th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

        Averie, the vanilla bean paste arrived today and we made these bars. They turned out exactly as you described! They ARE fabulously fudgy and the banana flavor is out of this world. And that glaze… My whole family thanks you!

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 26th, 2014 at 9:07 pm

          Oh wow, so, so, so happy that these got a glowing report, both on the texture/flavor as well as the glaze! I am so glad you feel the vanilla bean paste was worth it – now you’ll be hooked on that stuff :) It’s amazing in just regular cookies, cakes, etc rather than using extract if you really want to make a bold, big vanilla impact. Thanks for the field report, Heather! I appreciate it!

  18. #
    18
    Lisa — August 23, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I always try to use banana as a substitute. Sometimes it works, and sometimes not. I can’t wait to try these.

    Reply

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    Martha in KS — August 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    When I saw “fudgy” I thought “where’s the chocolate”. I’m glad it’s only white chocolate – I really like banana desserts. Will try soon.

    Reply

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    Krystle(Baking Beauty) — August 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Yum these look amazing! There is nothing like the flavor of a true vanilla bean!

    P.S. So excited to see you in Taste of Home’s cookbook this month, and the cover recipe no less. Congrats!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you for noticing!! I was pretty excited and flattered about that :)

      Reply

      • Krystle(Baking Beauty) replied: — August 23rd, 2014 at 9:01 pm

        Absolutely! My family may think I’m crazy because I was all “OMG Averie I “know” her!”. -cue Santa scene from Elf-

  21. #
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    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — August 23, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Oh my goodness, these look just amazing! So dreamy!

    Reply

  22. #
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    Jeanette — August 24, 2014 at 5:06 am

    A perfectly curated collection of banana recipes – thank you! Anything that included butter or cream cheese is a favorite of mine.

    Reply

  23. #
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    Eva — August 24, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Oh my goodness, they looks soooo delicious! Wow!

    Reply

  24. #
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    Laura@Baking in Pyjamas — August 24, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Averie, these look delicious! I can only imagine how addictive they must be. Pinned!

    Reply

  25. #
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    Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C — August 24, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Averie, I’m adding these to my list to bake. And how did I miss the Lemon Lemonies? These are right up my alley!

    Reply

  26. #
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    Emily @ Life on Food — August 24, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I want to sink my teeth into these bars. They look so different than anything banana I have seen but I really really want one.

    Reply

  27. #
    27
    Apryl — August 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I made these just now… I’m a little bit nervous though, you said I didn’t have to let them cool before putting on the glaze… I let them sit for a while, but they were still warm. Now the butter seems to be separating? I hope that works itself out. The glaze is good enough to eat by the spoonful though! Can’t wait to cut them!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 24th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      IT DOES work itself out. It seems a little iffy/separating when you first pour it on, I know, but it does just magically come together (hence the rippled appearance) – you’re fine :) Enjoy!

      Reply

  28. #
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    Anne — August 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    This looks amazing!!!! I have got to make these next weekend!

    Reply

  29. #
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    Stephanie @ Back For Seconds — August 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    We are totally on the same page with our brownie love. I have lemon and brownie recipes on my site too. I am a fudge brownie addict and coming up with new fun flavors has become an obsession ;) Love the glaze on these, great idea!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 24th, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      Ok I need to go find yours! I honestly have no more flavors in mind…but that could change! Give me a couple long runs to ponder and who knows what could happen :)

      Reply

      • stephanie replied: — August 25th, 2014 at 11:27 am

        Carrot cake! Orange Creamsicle! Pumpkin!!Strawberry! Sorry, I’m yelling! I love these! Pinned.

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 25th, 2014 at 3:50 pm

          Thanks for pinning all of those and glad you like them :)

  30. #
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    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — August 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I have never imagined a FUDGY banana bar….now I am very very intrigued…mmmmmm

    Reply

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    sue/the view from great island — August 24, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I’m in awe, Averie, these are brilliant, shared and pinned!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 24th, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Sue seriously I loved these bars! Saw your FB comment before I got thru my blog comments but as I said there, these are one of my personal faves of ’14 and go down in the personal favorites list of all time. Thanks for pinning & sharing! Knowing you, and your style and taste, I think you’d love these as much as I did!

      Reply

  32. #
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    Jessica @ Sweet Menu — August 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Oh these bars look delicious! Love their fudgey texture!

    Reply

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    Thalia @ butter and brioche — August 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    wow these bars look so moist, delicious and definitely fudgy! craving a bite of one right now, love anything banana flavoured.

    Reply

  34. #
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    Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine — August 25, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Those look so good! I love banana anything. Beautiful photos, too!

    Reply

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    Paula @ Paula's Plate — August 25, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I can’t even begin to tell you how happy this recipe makes me! I love EVERYTHING banana, and this is absolutely screaming my name. Thanks so much for sharing, pinned!

    Reply

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    Jenny — August 27, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    These are sooooo wonderful! I always have ripened bananas on hand for smoothies and bread; this is the perfect sweet tooth use for them! I made two batches, second batch added toasted coconut on top– delicious! thank you for another great recipe :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 27th, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      I love that you made two batches of these – one with coconut and one without! Thanks for trying them and glad you’re pleased!!

      Reply

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    Megan {Country Cleaver} — August 27, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Too gorgeous for words!!

    Reply

  38. #
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    Mary Frances — August 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Whenever I think I can’t find another way to use banana, you find one :) Whether it be banana bread, brownies, or the works, my jaw is always on the floor! These bars sound absolutely incredible. That glaze = heaven.

    Reply

  39. #
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    Kim Q — September 2, 2014 at 5:23 am

    I made these as a special treat for my mom, who loves all things banana. Of course, I gave her the whole tray and didn’t even try one myself, and it made me sad. I did stick my finger in the glaze and holy cow, AMAZING! They made my house smell SO good, I look forward to making them again so that I can try one.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 2nd, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Oh gosh, you are DEDICATED. That is some amazing willpower not to try even one and to just do a little finger-dipping :) Well so glad that the glaze was good and that they made your house smell amazing. LMK what your mom thought of them!

      Reply

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    Marissa — September 3, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I don’t have any white chocolate. Will it taste ok if I use butterscotch chips instead?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 3rd, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      It will change the flavor and be much more butterscotchy rather than ‘neutral vanilla’ like you’d get with white chocolate.

      Reply

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    Ann Aziz — September 5, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Averie, this is the second recipe I’ve made from your website which my family loved. My grandson had a huge piece before he left for school today. I have folders set-up for my recipes (main, apps, desserts). I’ve set-up one specifically for your recipes. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 5th, 2014 at 5:44 am

      Thanks for the high praise and compliments and it’s nice I have my own folder :) Happy your grandson & family loved these!

      Reply

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    Mina — September 6, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Just tried this recipe, and it’s a winner! I used about 1/3 of the sugar in the bars (because there is already quite a bit of sugar in white chocolate and bananas) and made 3/4 of the glaze, and that was perfect for me. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 6th, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Glad it worked out well for you and you enjoyed them!

      Reply

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    lacey — September 9, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Oh my goodness! I just made these today and I’m pretty sure it’s the most delicious thing I have ever baked! So delicious and moist! The glaze kind of tastes like those Weathers caramels. I’m not gonna lie I licked the bowl! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 10th, 2014 at 3:48 am

      So happy you loved these as much as I did, bowl licking is a-okay :)

      Reply

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    TKMG — September 10, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Every weekend, I make dessert for a dinner with my in-laws, and two weeks ago, my husband’s grandpa was in the hospital with some health issues. He was salt-restricted, but could eat any sweets, so I decided to bake up this delicious recipe!

    Halfway through making it, my mother-in-law texted to say that he LOVES chocolate. So instead of using the vanilla glaze, I made a dutch cocoa frosting, and added a last minute cup of chocolate chips to the batter. It turned out absolutely delicious! Banana-y and fudgy just like I wanted, and chocolatey for our grandpa. What a great versatile recipe!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 10th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      What a sweet story and so glad your grandpa was able to get his chocolate fix. Chocolate & bananas are always a win! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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    Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking — September 10, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    This is too funny — I posted a recipe for banana bread brownies a few days before you published these! Great minds totally think alike… And probably buy a few too many bananas at TJ’s too. ;) I’ve actually never browned butter, although it’s been on my to do list for a long time. Maybe when I finally get a stove again (I’m staying with my parents for a few weeks, and they’re having their kitchen remodeled, so I have nothing but a microwave and convection toaster oven), I’ll finally get around to it!

    Reply

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    Jocelyn@BruCrew Life — September 10, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    I want to be best friends with these glorious bars!! :) Nom nom nom!

    Reply

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    alexandra robertson — October 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    These look amazing! How do you make the cut so smooth looking?

    Reply

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