These are the super-dense, moist, compact version of banana bread. Using nutty brown butter was an inspiration from Susan Vu in our kitchen, who always uses brown butter in everything. I melted the butter for these bars and thought, what else can I do with this? Oh, there's Suzie. I'll do what she always does - and it made a real difference.
Recipe courtesy of Miriam Garron
Banana Bread Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Total:
2 hr 10 min
Active:
25 min
Yield:
Twenty-four 1 1/2-by-3-inch bars
Level:
Easy
Total:
2 hr 10 min
Active:
25 min
Yield:
Twenty-four 1 1/2-by-3-inch bars
Level:
Easy

Ingredients

Bars:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (from 2 or 3 bananas)
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooked until dark brown
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Frosting:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, optional
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions

For the bars: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut a piece of foil 9 by 20-inches. Butter the corners and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with the foil so that the excess hangs over at each of the short sides of the pan.

Whisk the flour with the baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Vigorously whisk the bananas with the browned butter in a large bowl, until very well combined and creamy. Whisk the eggs, sugars and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk the egg mixture into the banana mixture.

Fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture with a rubber spatula until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour.

For the frosting: Beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds, if using, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until fluffy.

When the bar has cooled completely, place a lightweight cutting board or a baking rack over the top of the pan. Flip and set on the counter. Gently pull the pan from the foil and the foil from the pan to remove. Gently peel the foil off the bar. Place another lightweight cutting board on top, and flip the bars right-side-up.

Frost the bars all the way to the edge and refrigerate 20 minutes before slicing into 1 1/2-by-3-inch bars.

Cook's Note

We like these bars even better cold the following day. To store in the refrigerator, chill the frosted bars about 30 minutes, uncovered, and when the frosting is set wrap in plastic wrap.

IDEAS YOU'LL LOVE

Cake Batter Blondie Bars

Recipe courtesy of Dorothy Kern

Apple Crumble Bars

Recipe courtesy of Miriam Garron

Cooking Tips

How to Poach Eggs Perfectly

Watch videos from Cooking Channel shows and chefs. Learn to prepare feature recipes and relive your favorite moments

On TV

Junk Food Flip

7:30am | 6:30c

Junk Food Flip

8:30am | 7:30c

Emeril's Florida

9:30am | 8:30c

Unwrapped

10am | 9c

Unwrapped

10:30am | 9:30c

Unwrapped

11am | 10c

Unwrapped

11:30am | 10:30c

Unwrapped 2.0

12pm | 11c

Unwrapped 2.0

12:30pm | 11:30c

Unwrapped 2.0

1pm | 12c

Unwrapped 2.0

1:30pm | 12:30c

Unique Eats

2pm | 1c

Unique Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Unique Eats

3pm | 2c

Unique Eats

3:30pm | 2:30c

Unique Sweets

4:30pm | 3:30c

Unique Sweets

5:30pm | 4:30c

Unique Sweets

6:30pm | 5:30c

Carnival Eats

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Carnival Eats

8pm | 7c

Carnival Eats

8:30pm | 7:30c

Carnival Eats

9:30pm | 8:30c

Cheap Eats

10pm | 9c

Cheap Eats

10:30pm | 9:30c

Good Eats

11pm | 10c

Good Eats

11:30pm | 10:30c

Carnival Eats

12am | 11c

Carnival Eats

12:30am | 11:30c

Carnival Eats

1am | 12c

Carnival Eats

1:30am | 12:30c

Cheap Eats

2am | 1c

Cheap Eats

2:30am | 1:30c

Good Eats

3am | 2c

Good Eats

3:30am | 2:30c