Banana Bread Brownies with Vanilla Caramel Glaze – Perfect for those times you want chocolate but need to use up your ripe bananas, make these. Not cakey, very fudgy, and extremely moist.
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.
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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
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)
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 642Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 280mgCarbohydrates: 102gFiber: 2gSugar: 86gProtein: 7g
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 Glaze – Week 3 of Banana Bread Fest
Spiced Apple Banana Bundt Cake with Vanilla Caramel Glaze – Week 4 Banana Bread Fest
Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – Week 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)
i was wondering what effect the choco pudding has on the brownie? i don’t have any right now, and would completely removing it from the recipe make the brownies taste bad? or is there a sub for it?
You don’t have to use it but it makes them softer, more intensely chocolaty and just adds an extra component of good flavor and texture. No subs for it. Just omit if you don’t have it or don’t prefer to use it.
Thank you so much for this recipe. These are off the charts good! I doubled it and used a 9×13 pan. I also mixed in some coconut and banana extracts to go along with the vanilla. My students will be the beneficiaries tomorrow.
That is wonderful that you have lucky students who can taste test for you :) Glad it worked just fine doubled in a 9×13. Thanks for LMK you loved them! And coconut and banana extracts sound wonderful!
Hi Averie, this is the first time I made Banana Bread Brownies. I was running out of time so I didn’t make the vanilla caramel glaze. But, still the brownies was so AWESOME!!! my husband couldn’t stop eating. I will check your other brownies recipes. And, try on… coz I am sure your recipes would be AWESOME.
So glad it was a hit with you and your hubby! Thanks for trying the recipe and if you try others, LMK!
Hi Averie!! Could pumpkin be subbed for the banana to make pumpkin bread brownies? Thanks so much! Your page is the only one that can satisfy my sweet tooth!
I actually already have half of the recipe for what you’re describing. Pumpkin banana bread
For this recipe, for pumpkin brownies, you could probably swap in pumpkin for banana. I wouldn’t add the baking soda for fear of making them cakey and I may or may not add the pudding mix depending on how my batter was looking. LMK if you try!
I tried this recipe out and loved it. My kids raved over the brownies. They are hands down the best I’ve ever made, and I’ve baked a lot of brownies over the years. I played with the recipe and came up with a lower fat and lower sugar version that I’m posting on my blog 8/29. Just wanted to let you know I’m linking it back to your blog with a mention of the original recipe.
Thanks for sharing this!
Thanks for trying them & so glad you and your kids enjoyed. And hands down best ever brownies – wow, what a compliment and thank you! Glad you were able to adapt to suit your needs and thanks in advance for linking back in your post!
Hi Averie, I baked this Banana Bread Brownies with Vanilla Caramel Glaze today and I would like to say that it is so good. Too fudgy and so moist as you decribed.
May I know if I omit bananas on this, will the result be the same fudgy and moist brownies??? If it is, then this will definitely my favorite brownie recipe. Thanks!
If you omit bananas, you won’t get the same results. I am glad you tried these and love them! Since you love them, I wouldn’t mess around with it.
If you want other brownie ideas https://www.averiecooks.com/category/dessert/brownies
Specifically the Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies are AMAZING – you can skip the M&Ms if you want.
Nutella Brownies are also incredibly fudgy.
And if you’re trying for a super healthy fudgy brownie, try the Avocado Brownies
Honestly though ALL my brownies are rich, easy, fudgy, one-bowl. Enjoy!
I follow you on StumbleUpon http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2D8gSa/:EPiHMKKt:G$UXR7eU/www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2012/10/banana-bread-brownies-with-vanilla-caramel-glaze.html/
Back again – I made these last night and they were great! I didn’t boil the glaze long enough, so it turned out grainy and got a little crusty after I let it set – totally my fault, though. The brownies were super moist like you said and had just the right hint of banana. Thanks again :)
Glad you like the bread and that it’s a hit! Re the glaze, yes, you have to boil it until it’s butter-smooth, caramel-sauce smooth. It will be boiling and bubbling like crazy and needs to really be boiling. I tend to not write temperatures on recipes since the avg person doesn’t usually own a candy thermometer and if they did, they wouldn’t need my directions anyway :) But next time, just boil for probably another 60-90 secs at quite a vigorous boil and you’ll be set!
YUM!! this looks delicious:) Can’t wait to give it a try
Banana bread or brownies…there is no way to choose because, like you already stated, sometimes the craving for each wins out separately. I think this recipe looks absolutely incredible. I love how moist it looks and the frosting – good grief! I could just eat it with a spoon! That is AWESOME that you keep a bowl for midnight snacking. I mean, does anyone want celery at mid night? And if you know that person, could you send me his/her email so I can figure out what the heck I am doing wrong? ;-)
Gorgeous photos and fantastic recipe, as always, Averie!
I know, I wish I knew that person, too :)
And these are so moist, Michele! Easy, too. I bet your boys (or you!) would really like them!
oooo..what another perfect way to use up ripe bananas! yeah for your good kitchen karma!!!
Ripe bananas AND chocolate…together. Even better :)
My mouth is watering!!!
If I had to pick (in a cruel world) ;-) I would pick brownies.
I wish all mistakes could turn out as decadent and perfect as these did. WOOOOW. I love that you used three types of chocolate in the brownies–talk about fudgy. And the pudding mix. Is there anything pudding mix can’t do? I made banana bread a couple weeks ago with it and I’ll never, EVER look back. It makes it SO insanely moist and tender. Perfection! And puhlease don’t get me started on this glaze. Holy deliciousness.
They are super fudgy yes and I so agree with the pudding/banana bread making. I will never make it without! It’s one non-purist thing I can’t give up. The magical softness it invokes into baked goods like bread is just…heavenly!
A week that starts with brownies is bound to be great! Love the glaze of course :)
I would have never thought to combine banana bread and brownies – these are brilliant!
okay – these look beyond amazing! chocolate, banana, and that glaze – WOW
I love how moist these look! Although I love banana bread with a thick layer of soft butter, I’d have to go with the brownies. As many variations as there are, you would never get bored.
It was so moist, Loretta. The first banana bread I linked to in this post, I used the browned butter glaze like butter and spread it all over the interior surface of a slice. So good!
YUM!!! I love brownies and banana, what a great combo!! Love it!!
Wow Avery, these are awesome! :) LOVE banana and chocolate!
Banana bread BROWNIES?? I would’ve never thought of that! How delicious and simple!
I wouldn’t have thought of it either…it just kind of…came to be :)
Banana bread BROWNIES?? I wouldn’t never thought of that! How delicious and simple!
Wow those look yummy! It’s so nice when things turn out better than expected. I hope for an excellent outcome every time I put something in the oven.
I hope but I never know what will happen. Usually I know, but every once in awhile, surprise!..lol
Banana bread brownies? Oh my goodness. I need!
Can I have your cookies, please! We can do a swap!
Amazing! That vanilla caramel glaze is to die for! I could eat this for breakfast every. single. day.
I think eating your muffins sounds like a great breakfast to me!
When it comes to baking, I kind of love the fact that we never really know what to expect when trying something new.
These brownies are mouth-watering! That texture is sheer perfection. :D
It was a happy accident. Thank god it wasn’t a ohmigodwhatnow kind of accident :) Thanks for the Pin, too!
Two of my favorite flavors…wow. Well done!!!
Whooaaaaaa. Using chocolate yogurt. Totally good idea! I never think about yogurt because I don’t like it plain, but I’ve always liked what it does to baked goods, this is a brilliant idea. I wonder if coffee flavored yogurt could be put to use too…
Coffee flavored yogurt I think would be great in straight up brownies or choc cake or anything you want to throw a dollop of it into for tenderness. I worry slightly about bananas + coffee flavor. Then again, it could work!
I agree that coffee flavor would excel in a chocolate dessert-however i had an old cookbook(an old cooking light maybe?) that had a stellar recipe for banana bread that actually had coffee in it, though you did not really end up tasting coffee, but it was good so maybe it would work?
I think that a banana-coffee frappucino could be good under the right circumstances, so why not in dessert. Sounds like something Top Chef or Christina Tosi would do and combine!
two amazing baked goods in one – genius!
yum! looks so moist and fudgy!
Wow. You really are a baking genius. Banana brownies are just what this world needs right now!! Seriously, between the texture and flavor, I can’t WAIT to try these!! And don’t even get me started on that Vanilla Caramel Glaze (I LOVE that you say that it’s a fast-moving recipe at the outset – making caramel is serious business!) :)
And I don’t bother with thermometers or any of that business…just keep stirring and eyeball it, ya know. But that old mise en place thing of having things in place, yeah, that. Do it with caramel-making as you well know! And I seriously love that you’re a HWeen person and into it!
Wow, never would have thought to use bananas for brownies but it makes total sense! And any time pudding mix is involved, baked good typically turn out 100 times better. I love the Greek yogurt add, although I still can’t find the chocolate chunk CHO anywhere! :(
Ive seen it at my local Ralph’s (part of the Kroger family) and also Vons (Safeway)…however, San Diego gets ‘good’ groceries. When Ive lived in certain parts of the country, we got…’iffy’ selection. Ugh.
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
I have so much food here at all times – my husband’s coworkers, friends, neighbors, teachers, etc…everyone is well supplied :)
I have no words…except yes please!
as always, thanks for the Pin love!
Oh my! Love this chocolate accident! I can’t wait to try it out :)
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!
Never would have thought to do something like this. They look awesome. Thanks for the recipe!
I love a happy accident :-)
Banana bread brownies… this is an inspired idea! What a beautiful treat!
Jen I have been looking at your oatmeal cream pies/Little Debbie knockoff cookies…and I totally want to make them!
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!!!!
It gets me every time, too. I wish I didn’t love it so much! lol
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
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!
I was going to do banana bread with choc chips then I wanted even more chocolate than just chips :)
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! :)
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
All of these calories are tempting this morning! Love the brownies and all the other nibbles you feature here :)
I wish I could bring you some of this stuff…soon! :)
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!!
I had it on hand and it’s kind of a big container and thought, well, this could work in chocolate banana bread. Then, I ended up with…banana brownies :)
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!
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 :)
I am so glad you loved it!! :)
And I have one more post for banana bread fest next week!
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 :)
Exactly…now you don’t have to choose among favorites :)
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….
These sound amazing Averie!!
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 :)
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 :)
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.
I love that you’ve made your own banana bread brownies, or had some, and loved them!
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. :)
Oh boy! It looks so delish – I have to try it :)
Wow these look unreal! Chocolate and banana brownies is genius! They look really moist and soft!
They’re so moist & soft – I was so happy about that!