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.

Did you make this recipe?



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

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

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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)

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. two amazing baked goods in one – genius!

  4. 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!

  5. Two of my favorite flavors…wow. Well done!!!

  6. 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

  7. Amazing! That vanilla caramel glaze is to die for! I could eat this for breakfast every. single. day.

  8. Banana bread brownies? Oh my goodness. I need!

  9. 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.

  10. Banana bread BROWNIES?? I wouldn’t never thought of that! How delicious and simple!

  11. Banana bread BROWNIES?? I would’ve never thought of that! How delicious and simple!

  12. Wow Avery, these are awesome! :) LOVE banana and chocolate!

  13. YUM!!! I love brownies and banana, what a great combo!! Love it!!

  14. 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.

  15. okay – these look beyond amazing! chocolate, banana, and that glaze – WOW

  16. I would have never thought to combine banana bread and brownies – these are brilliant!

  17. A week that starts with brownies is bound to be great! Love the glaze of course :)

  18. 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!

  19. If I had to pick (in a cruel world) ;-) I would pick brownies.

  20. Pingback: Banana Bread Brownies with Vanilla Caramel Glaze- Recipes And Family

  21. oooo..what another perfect way to use up ripe bananas! yeah for your good kitchen karma!!!

  22. 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!

  23. YUM!! this looks delicious:) Can’t wait to give it a try

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