Peach Jelly-Filled Banana Bread Bars with Vanilla Glaze
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: One 9-by-9 inch pan, 9 generous squares
 
The bars are part jelly danish crossed with ultra moist banana bread. Peach yogurt is used in the batter and the bars are fall-apart soft and moist. Peach jelly is swirled throughout before baking, boosting the peach flavor, moisture, and sweetness. These bars are dense and rich like a fudgy brownie. There's nothing airy, cakey, or light about them. They're melt-in-your-mouth, jelly-filled, drippy-glazed comfort-food at it’s finest.
Ingredients
  • For the Bars
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted (one stick)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 ounces peach, pineapple, or vanilla yogurt (one standard-sized small container, about ¾ cup. Greek yogurt is ideal, sour cream may be substitued; don't use thin, runny, lite or 'diet' yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (2 medium bananas)
  • one 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix (not Cook ‘n Serve; banana-flavored pudding may be used to boost the banana intensity)
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
  • about 15 teaspoons peach jelly (about ⅓ cup, jam or preserves may be substituted; pineapple, mango, orange or similar flavors may be substituted)
  • For the Vanilla Glaze, optional
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup+ confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. For the Bars - 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 sugars, egg, yogurt, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the bananas and stir to incorporate.
  2. Add the dry pudding mix and stir to incorporate (You are not making pudding; simply add the mix as a dry ingredient. The pudding mix could be replaced with 1 to 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and about 2 to 3 tablespoons flour. Like any dough or batter, there is some flexibility with how to make up for eliminating three ounces of dry mix). Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or bars will be tougher as the gluten will over-develop. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula.
  3. Add one teaspoon of jelly at a time to the top surface of bars, creating a surface dotted with little jelly blobs, dispersed randomly over the surface. With a table knife, swirl and marble the jelly through the batter using a zig-zag pattern going up-and-back, side-to-side a few times to disperse the jelly. It doesn't matter if the swirls are pretty or neat because while baking, it all turns into a golden shade of amber and melts together and you can't see the swirls; they're for taste not visual effect.
  4. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, tenting or covering the pan with foil halfway through baking if you judge the bars to be browning a bit fast on top (I cover with foil halfway through because my oven browns things too fast on the surface before the interior cooks through). Bake until top is set and golden, the center is not jiggly, and edges have pulled away slightly from sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will likely not come out completely clean because bars are dense and gooey, both from the bananas and jelly, which may prevent a clean toothpick test. The bars are meant to be gooey and based on moisture content in bananas, yogurt used, oven variance, and personal preference, cooking times could vary from about 40 to 60 minutes. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. While cake cools, make the glaze.
  5. For the Vanilla Glaze, optional - The bars don't 'need' a glaze as they're moist and sweet on their own, but I prefer it. Melt butter in a small microwave-safe bowl, about 1 minute on high power. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add sugar as needed until desired glaze consistency is reached. Drizzle glaze over the top of bars before slicing and serving; or slice and glaze each piece individually. Unglazed bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days; or store glazed bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Recipe by Averie Cooks at https://www.averiecooks.com/peach-jelly-filled-banana-bread-bars/