I love banana bread anything and could eat it every day and not get sick of it.
I have 40+ banana bread and banana recipes but no banana bread bars. What? Time to change that.
The bars combine two of my favorite recipes into one: Cream-Cheese Filled Banana Bread and Fudgy Banana Bread Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze.
It’s a fast and easy recipe that uses melted coconut oil so there’s no butter to cream and no mixer to dirty. Oil keeps bread softer and springier than butter, and I prefer the taste. Coconut oil adds a nearly imperceptible undertone that’s sweeter and more fragrant than canola or vegetable oil, but substitute if you prefer.
I love baking with coconut oil for muffins, cakes, bread, cookies and more. I used Nutiva Coconut Oil from iHerb.com. Code AVE630 at checkout saves you $10 off your order. I love iHerb for everything like nutritional yeast , probiotics, bulk cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, liquid vanilla stevia drops, bulk white stevia powder, medicinal fancy-grade honey, chia seeds, face cleanser, and mini chocolate chips.
The glaze is adapted from Fudgy Banana Bread Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze. It makes the bars go from great to out-of-this world amazing and I’ve been topping everything I can with it. Browned butter and glorious specks of vanilla beans can do no wrong.
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 is unadulterated homey comfort food.
The bars are dense enough to be satisfying but is still perfectly light, fluffy, and packed with rich banana flavor. And that glaze. Oh my. I hoarded these.
Banana Bread Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze
These bars combine two of my favorite recipes into one. They're dense enough to be satisfying but is still perfectly light, fluffy, and packed with rich banana flavor. I use melted coconut oil so there’s no butter to cream and no mixer to dirty. Oil keeps bread softer and springier than butter and sour cream (or Greek yogurt) is extra insurance for a soft, springy, bouncy, fluffy loaf. The glazes makes the bars go from great to out-of-this world amazing. After pouring the glaze over the warm bars, it seeps down and soaks in, and makes the bars even moister and softer.
Yield: one 9x9 pan, 12 generous squares
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: about 27 to 28 minutes
Total Time: about 3+ hours, for cooling & glaze setting up
1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup liquid-state coconut oil (canola or vegetable may be substituted)
1/4 cup cup sour cream (lite is okay; or Greek yogurt may be substituted)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large/3 med bananas)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
6 tablespoons (3/4 of 1 stick) unsalted butter, browned (how to brown butter tutorial)
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons 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 to 1/3 cup cream or milk, or as necessary for consistency
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- Bars - To a large bowl, add the egg, brown sugar, coconut oil, sour cream, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
- Add the bananas and stir to incorporate.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, optional salt, and fold with spatula or stir gently with a spoon until just combined; don't overmix.
- Turn batter out into the prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula and pushing it into corners and sides as necessary. Bake for about 27 to 28 minutes (start watching closely by 25 minutes) or until the center is golden and set, springy when touched lightly, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Baking times will vary based on moisture content in bananas; bake until your bars are done. Place pan onto of a wire rack to cool while you make the glaze.
- 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 it doesn't burn. 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.
- 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 carryover cooking.
- Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla bean paste, optional salt, and slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth. As necessary, add additional cream (or confectioners' sugar) to reach desired glaze consistency. Glaze should be of medium thickness and easily pourable.
- 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.
- 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 (I'm comfortable storing glazed items at room temp), or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
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