Fudgy Banana Bars with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze

Banana Bars with Vanilla Glaze — Fudgy is the only word that describes these bars! They’re the banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero trace of cakiness.

Fudgy Banana Bar Recipe

These banana bars are rich, soft, supremely moist, and tooth-sinkingly dense and satisfying. If you’re looking for a fluffy slice of banana cake or banana bread, they’re not that.

They’re adapted from my Lemon Lemonies, the lemon equivalent of fudgy brownies. The dense texture of the Lemonies was so perfect and unlike anything else I had ever made. I kept thinking about them and it dawned on me that maybe I could do the same thing with bananas.

This is an easy, no-mixer recipe and the vanilla glaze makes the bars go from really darn good to out-of-this world amazing. It’s a must-make recipe! 

The secrets are browned butter and glorious specks of vanilla beans. I cannot think of two more powerfully flavorful ingredients than browned butter or vanilla beans seeds, and flavor just explodes from the glaze.

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 enhances the homey comfort food factor.

I normally have a piece or two of what I make and give the rest to my family or re-home the leftovers with friends and neighbors, but I hoarded these bars! 

How to Make Banana Bars

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, add the white chocolate and butter, and melt. White chocolate is very prone to scorching and seizing up, so watch it carefully and don’t overheat.

Then, add the egg, sugar, and vanilla, and whisk until combined. Stir in the bananas, followed by the flour and salt. Stir everything until just combined, but do not over mix. 

Turn batter out into a greased 8×8-inch pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

Then, make the vanilla glaze. You’ll first need to brown the butter (I’ve listed exact instructions and tips below), then combine it with confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking until smooth.

Pour the browned butter vanilla glaze over the banana bars while they’re still warm, then let the bars rest, uncovered for two to three hours before slicing and serving. 

How to Brown Butter

Cook butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan until it’s amber to brown in color. The whole process will take about 5 minutes (depending on pan size), but watch it closely so you don’t burn it.

I swirl the pan in the last minute or so to make sure I can really see the color changes. While browning the butter, it will go through stages of hissing, sputtering, and making noise until the water cooks off, at which point the browning occurs. 

Besides changing color, you’ll know the butter is fully browned once it starts smelling nutty and fragrant. Trust me, you’ll know when it’s done! 

Tips for the Best Banana Bars 

I used vanilla bean paste in the vanilla glaze, but scraping the seeds of a vanilla bean works too. Vanilla extract is okay, but it won’t be as intense as vanilla paste or seeds would be. Use what you have on hand — these fudgy banana bars will be delicious no matter what! 

When you’re transferring the browned butter from the saucepan to the mixing bowl, make sure to get all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the bowl. Those little browned bits are full of flavor, so definitely include them in the vanilla glaze! 

As you whisk together the vanilla glaze, you may need to add additional powdered sugar or milk to reach your desired consistency. When adding extra milk or sugar, add just a little at a time to be safe! 

More Banana Recipes: 

  • Six-Banana Banana Bread — Not sure what to do with overripe bananas you have on hand? Make this Six-Banana Banana Bread! This is the best banana bread recipe EVER — it’s so moist and flavorful! 
  • Brown Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread — Super moist blueberry banana bread made with Greek yogurt and dark brown sugar. Smear some homemade blueberry butter onto a slice of this blueberry brown sugar banana bread and prepare to fall in love! 
  • Pineapple Banana Bread — This bread is incredibly moist and is ever so slightly coconut flavored thanks to the coconut oil in the batter. You’ll definitely want seconds of this easy banana bread recipe! 
  • Banana Bread Pudding — Bread pudding meets banana bread in this EASY breakfast or brunch recipe that everyone will LOVE!
  • Six-Banana Banana Chocolate Chip Cake — Yes, 6 bananas in 1 cake means it’s super SOFT, moist, and has robust banana flavor with chocolate chips in EVERY bite!

 

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze

These Banana Bars with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze are the banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero trace of cakiness!

Yield: 12 squares
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Total Time 48 minutes

Ingredients

Bars

  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large or 3 small/medium ripe bananas)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, browned
  • 1 heaping cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste*
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • about 1/4 cup cream or milk, or as necessary for consistency

Instructions

Make the Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl add the white chocolate, butter, and heat to melt, about 2 minutes on high power. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute, and then heat in 20-second bursts, stopping to stir after each burst, until mixture can be stirred smooth. White chocolate is very prone to scorching and seizing up, so watch it carefully and don’t overheat.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, sugar, vanilla, and whisk until combined.
  4. Stir in the bananas until well-combined.
  5. Add the flour, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  7. Bake for about 32 to 33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. In the last 15 minutes of baking, make the glaze.

Make the Glaze

  1. 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 you don’t burn it. 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.
  2. 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 any carryover cooking.
  3. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean paste, optional salt, and slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth or beat with a handheld electric mixer. As necessary, add additional cream (or confectioners’ sugar) to reach desired glaze consistency. Glaze should be of medium thickness and easily pourable.

Assemble the Bars

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Notes

*Seeds from 1 large vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract may be substituted.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 55mg Sodium: 52mg Carbohydrates: 43g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 26g Protein: 4g

Even More Bars and Brownies: