Banana Bread Brownies with Vanilla Caramel Glaze

Sometimes I make a recipe according to the lavish ideas I have rolling around inside my head and get so excited when I’m about to pull my newest creation from the oven, only to discover it didn’t go quite like I planned. Or worse, I have a cake-tastrophe.

In the case of these brownies, I didn’t get what I planned. I got more than I planned, in the best way.

I intended to make chocolate banana bread, baked in a 9-by-9-inch pan, so that it would take on a banana bread meets banana bars meets chocolate cake quality.

What emerged from the oven was much more like brownies with a hint of banana than chocolate banana bread. Although the brownies have banana undertones, chocolate steals the thunder. I love happy chocolate accidents.


Chocolate steals the show because it’s used in three ways, and one of those ways does not include using chocolate chips or melted chocolate. I won’t make you do chocolate math and I’ll just spill the cocoa beans how I did it.

First, I used cocoa powder. Ordinarily, I don’t use cocoa powder in brownies because I find it tends to dry them out and prefer to use melted chocolate. Here, however, the bananas kept the brownies gooey and moist and counteracted any drying effects that cocoa powder tends to have.

Secondly, I used chocolate Greek yogurt which tenderized the crumb and boosted the chocolate intensity level.

Baked goods made with yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk stay especially moist and soft and the chocolate yogurt worked according to plan and the brownies are soft and springy, tender, and chocolaty.

The third chocolate use came via a box of packet of instant chocolate pudding mix tossed into the batter. Although the pudding mix can be omitted, I think of it as moisture and softness insurance in powder packet form. I’ll likely never bake banana bread again without it because it does magical things.

However, if you choose to omit it, I recommend increasing the amounts of both cocoa powder and granulated sugar, about 2 extra tablespoons of cocoa powder and 2 to 4 extra tablespoons of granulated sugar. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to recreate the softness, depth of flavor, moisture, and just a certain x-factor the pudding provides.

I glazed the brownies with my favorite frosting, Vanilla Caramel Glaze, which I used on the Spiced Apple and Banana Bundt Cake. I want to bake things just as an excuse just to have that glaze. It’s buttery, rich, very caramely, smooth, and it has great flavor depth, which is surprising considering how few ingredients are used.

I want to dig my fork into the luscious caramel-vanilla ribbons over and over. I made extra glaze just to have around midnight, when my strongest want-a-spoonful cravings come on, from homemade peanut butter to frosting and glaze. I never crave celery sticks at that hour.

Although the brownies have some springiness and sponginess to them, they are not cakey, which is a good thing because I hate cakey brownies. They’re springy and bouncy in the way that a chocolate cake-mix-cake is. However, they’re not just a chocolate cake with some banana throw in; nor are they banana bread with some cocoa powder added. They’re fudgy and brownie-like.

So although I intended to create chocolate banana bread for Week 6 of Banana Bread Fest I’m so pleased these didn’t come out according to plan. Long live good kitchen karma.

Banana Bread Brownies with Vanilla Caramel Glaze

Tender banana bread meets chocolaty, decadent, rich brownies. For those times you want chocolate but need to use up your ripe bananas, make these. Not cakey, very fudgy, and extremely moist.



1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (one stick)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

6 ounces chocolate, vanilla, or plain Greek yogurt (one standard-sized small container; or sour cream may be substituted; I use Chobani Vanilla Chocolate Chunk)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 large or 2 small bananas)

one 3.9-ounce box chocolate instant pudding mix (not Cook ‘n Serve)

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

Vanilla Caramel Glaze

Makes about 1 cup glaze, enough to generously glaze the brownies

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of 1 stick)

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons cream or milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 to 2 cups+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted (must be sifted)


Brownies – Preheat oven to 350F, line a 9-by-9-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. To the melted butter, add the granulated sugar (may be reduced to 3/4 cup if you like more bitter brownies), brown sugar, egg, yogurt, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the bananas and stir to incorporate.

Add the dry pudding mix, cocoa powder, and stir or whisk to combine; batter will appear lumpy because of the bananas. (Note: You are not making pudding; simply add the mix as a dry ingredient. It may be omitted and add slightly more cocoa powder, flour, and granulated sugar may instead be added, to taste. I recommend using the pudding because it softens, tenderizes, and flavors the brownies)

Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or brownies will be tougher as the gluten will over-develop. The batter is quite thick and dense, and is fluffier than typical brownie batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 40 to 44 minutes, or until top is set and edges have pulled away slightly from sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will not come out completely clean because these are gooey, dense, and fudgy. Allow brownies to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. While brownies cool, make the glaze.

Vanilla Caramel Glaze – Note – This is a fast moving recipe; have everything in place before you begin.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring nearly continuously. Allow the mixture to boil quite rapidly for 2 minutes, stirring nearly continuously. Remove the pan from the burner, allow it to cool for about 1 minute, and add the cream, taking caution because the mixture could bubble vigorously. Whisk aggressively to incorporate the cream and calm the bubbling.

After the bubbling has subsided, add the vanilla and whisk to combine, using caution because the alcohol in the extract could cause the mixture to bubble up again. Add the confectioners’ sugar one-half cup at a time, until desired sauce consistency is reached (I absolutely recommend using sifted sugar so the glaze whisks up smooth, silky, and free from lumps). Drizzle glaze over brownies with a spoon for a drizzly speckled effect with the white on black; or pour it over the entire top surface for a uniform thin layer of glaze (if you are using the drizzle approach, you may have excess glaze and it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month for a future baking project). Allow glaze to set up for a few minutes if desired; or slice and serve immediately. Unglazed brownies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container at room temperature. Glazed brownies should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and will keep for up to 1 week, or can be frozen for up to 3 months. I prefer these brownies chilled and store them in the refrigerator.

Only Eats

Related Recipes

Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze – Week 1 of Banana Bread Fest

Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – Week 2 of Banana Bread Fest

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese GlazeWeek 3 of Banana Bread Fest

Spiced Apple Banana Bundt Cake with Vanilla Caramel GlazeWeek 4 Banana Bread Fest

Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese FrostingWeek 5 Banana Bread Fest

Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting – My go-to brownie recipe and it’s the base I use for all other brownie recipes. Made in one bowl with a whisk and it’s a 5-minute easy batter to make, just as easy as a mix

Chocolate Cake with Chocoalte Ganche – The best homemade chocolate cake recipe, no mixer required. Better, easier, and faster than a box and the ganache can be made in the microwave in minutes

If you had to pick banana bread or brownies, which would it be?

This is such a hard call because at times I want chocolate, and nothing else will do, so brownies it is.

However, when it’s done right, very little can trump a perfect slice of banana bread. I adore it – in case you hadn’t noticed with 6 weeks of banana bread, banana cake, or banana something.

Do you have a great recipe for banana bread or for brownies?

Between melting butter or creaming it, melted chocolate or cocoa powder and how much, how many bananas and whether to whip them or mash them; how much flour, baking soda or baking powder or a combo of them, how many eggs, or eggs plus a yolk, how long to bake, size of pans…Other than chocolate chip cookies, no other two recipes seem to have more variations and methods than banana bread or brownies and everyone has their favorites.

This recipe is my jumping off place for banana bread and the inspiration for the subsequent weeks of Banana Bread Fest. This was week 6 and I have week 7’s recipe already made.

This recipe is my foolproof one-bowl brownie recipe upon which all other brownie creations are derived. It’s as easy and fast as a boxed mix, no mixer required, and the resulting brownies are much richer, more intense, uber-fudgy, not at all cakey, and yo’ll never need boxed brownie mix again.

Feel free to link up your favorite recipes for either banana bread or brownies and have a great week!

Reminder that these giveaways are still going on:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies + KitchenAid Stand Mixer + $200 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card Giveaway (through Monday 10/8 – winner announced next post)

Grill On Morningstar Farms Giveaway (until Tuesday 10/9)

Muir Glen Gift Basket Giveaway (until Tuesday 10/9)

106 comments on “Banana Bread Brownies with Vanilla Caramel Glaze”

  1. Wow these look unreal! Chocolate and banana brownies is genius! They look really moist and soft!

  2. Oh boy! It looks so delish – I have to try it :)

  3. Isn’t it great when it all works out in the end? The banana brownies look delicious.

    If I had to choose . . . I’d probably pick banana bread over brownies. I think. That’s a tough call though. :)

  4. I recently ate banana bread brownies and oh my god – they were divine. i never landed up taking pictures because they didn’t last as long. I love the idea of the caramel glaze – surely takes it to the next level.

  5. A chocolate accident that I absolutely ADORE. I can only imagine how these taste with so many bonus ingredients – the pudding mix, the melted chocolate, the tablespoon of vanilla, the ripe bananas… it sounds like each star ingredient does its job and does it WELL. I’ve had happy accidents like that before! The no bake granola bars from this weekend I told you about… def wasn’t planing for them to be as fudgy! Chocolate accidents are just the besssssssst aren’t they? I’m totally intrigued to make these – plus it’s a smaller recipe too!

    The caramel glaze just sounds too good to be true, you’re VERY good at convincing us just hot lip-smackingly-sweet and addicting it is. THe new chobani chocolate chunk is like crack. LIterally tastes like ice cream. I LOVE that flavor!!! The shot with the fork holding a piece of brownie in the center of the screen – 3D I swear. you & your camera are magic!

    • Pudding mix is so key. It just adds this softness that you can’t get without it. I love it for breads and things like this…or things I thought were going to be bread but turned out to be brownies! I love all the new Chob flavors. They’re so fun and thanks for the photo compliments. Sometimes the 3D effect really pops…I wish I could always make that happen :)

  6. We both had banana bread on the brain!!! I never EVER would have thought to make bb brownies!!! Genius!!!

    • Well, I never thought to make them, either :) They just kind of…happened! Lol I was trying to make choc banana bread and then ended up with brownies. No complaints.

      But I REALLLYYYYY want your banana bread french toast and the toppings and Pb syrup. The whole thing. I’ve been thinking about it for like 18 hours now :)

  7. Your banana series inspired me to load up on over-ripe bananas at the Coop this weekend and I made a double batch of PB Banana muffins yesterday! I was debating between pb or chocolate, but they were for brunch and since I’m not a sweets girl in the am, I went with the pb. But, I have lots more bananas to use up….

  8. It’s never a bad thing when cake turns out like a fudgy brownie! I vote for brownies over cake everyday! Banana bread or brownies?…
    Now I don’t have to choose! I can just make these :)

  9. I am so excited to see that you have a new recipe for banana fest! I just made the pineapple carrot banana bread and it came out amazing. I can’t wait to try these brownies :)

  10. What a great idea with the banana touch in the background. Wish I had one right now for breakfast. I’m going to try some TJ’s brownies using a can of Pumpkin. Not sure if the pumpkin flavor will taste right with the chocolate brownie, we’ll see. But I can tell your’s are perfect with a touch of banana for moisture. There’s not much flour in them, I wonder if they’d work with almond meal as well?
    BTW – I am really loving my milk frother, use it at least once a day now and it works perfectly with nut milks! :)

    • There are soooo many blog posts over the years Ive seen with a box of cake or a box of brownies and 1 can of pumpkin, nothing else. And everyone raves about them so I bet you’ll have great luck! So glad you got the frother! I was on your site last night and saw your post (didn’t comment) but glad you got it!

  11. I would probably pick brownies but it’s such a close call! The banana, yogurt and pudding trio is so good in the quick bread recipes and I can’t wait to try it in brownies! Chobani is coming out with so many great yogurt flavors–I need to look for the vanilla choc chunk!!

  12. All of these calories are tempting this morning! Love the brownies and all the other nibbles you feature here :)

  13. I’d definitely go for the banana bread. Love love love banana bread. I haven’t made it in ages as we don’t often have bananas that get ripe enough LOL

  14. Good morning Averie! Missed you here. We just got back from a week long trip to Kansas City. I am catching up on your posts I missed. Heading over to your Thursday things right after this… :)
    Banana bread or brownies? I guess brownies, they look good! :)

  15. Ooo, these sound dangerously delicious :) Personally, I would go for banana bread with chocolate chips in the batter – best of both worlds!
    Thanks for sharing!

  16. to die for! I could grab one off the screen! Hope you had a fabulous weekend! I love you and one day we are going to meet! xoxoxoox

  17. Hooray for happy kitchen accidents that look this fudgey and delicious!!! I would be eating it all night long if I had this in front of me. That glaze gets me every single time!!!!

  18. Banana bread brownies… this is an inspired idea! What a beautiful treat!

  19. I love a happy accident :-)

  20. Never would have thought to do something like this. They look awesome. Thanks for the recipe!

  21. Man oh man! You are the bread baking queen lately. They all look so darn good and are on my list for fall baking. Once soccer is over (3 weeks), then I will have my life back and be able to spend more time in the kitchen. Right now, I only get one day a week to really cook up a storm and I’m spending most of that day preparing make-ahead-meals.

    Have a great Monday girl!

    • I hate those weeks where you know your time is extremely limited in the kitchen. And of course that day it’s like cloudy and you can’t shoot. I try to pre-bake at night in the wee hours and then get up do a.m. photography. There are times I’m baking at 2am!

  22. Oh my! Love this chocolate accident! I can’t wait to try it out :)

  23. I have no words…except yes please!

  24. Next time you have a happy chocolate accident, do you mind popping the whole batch into a package and sending it via snail mail my way? I would hate for you to have an accident that scrumptious sitting around your kitchen–it could be hazardous, you know ;) thanks for sharing, Averie

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