Frosted Banana Bars

Frosted Banana Bars

These Frosted Banana Bars are one of the greatest revelations of my baking “career.”

They are – admittedly – not much to look at.

They feature one of my least favorite foods – soft, blackened, nearly rotten bananas.

They don’t require any special tools, expensive ingredients or fancy techniques.

Yet, they are by far my most-requested dessert. OF ALL TIME.

No joke – I am asked on at least a weekly basis to make these yummy bars, and bake them just about as often for my husband and his co-workers. They are ridiculously delicious – soft and uber-flavorful, with just the right amount of sweetness – are super easy to make, and can be thrown together with ingredients that virtually everyone has on hand already in their pantry or refrigerator. I’d say “enjoy in moderation!”, but forget that bollocks. Pig out. You won’t be able to stop yourself!

 

FROSTED BANANA BARS

Yields | 24 servings

Inspiration | Taste of Home

For the bars:

  •  1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups finely granulated sugar
  • 3 large fresh eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Dash salt

For the frosting:

  •  1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 to 4 cups powdered sugar*
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees Fahrenheit (175° Celsius). Grease a 15-inch x 10-inch x 1-inch baking pan; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until blended.
  3. Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  4. For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add powdered sugar* and vanilla; beat until smooth. Frost bars when cool.

*Feel free to experiment with the amount of sugar in the frosting. Because I fancy my frosting a little less sweet, I usually add approximately 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. If you’d like it sweeter, add up to 4 cups total.

Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars with Salted Caramel

Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars2

This recipe – for Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars with Salted Caramel – is a huge family favorite, shared in honor of my husband’s birthday today. This is one of only two desserts he’s ever requested multiple times, and the only item he specifically asked for this year. Happy Birthday, my love – please save one of these for me!

APPLE PIE CHEESECAKE BARS WITH SALTED CARAMEL

Yields: 16 bars

For the bars:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 2 large fresh eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored + finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the streusel:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

For the salted caramel:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, crushed or kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  5. In a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over spiced apple mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until filling is set.
  6. While bars are baking, make the salted caramel. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, stir sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the from heat and carefully whisk in heavy cream. Stir in the unsalted butter and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool slightly. Drizzle over warm apple pie cheesecake bars. Leftover salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  7. Enjoy!