I have made banana bars before, but I felt that they needed a stronger, additional flavor. Chocolate would have been a nice pick, but when I saw this recipe using Nutella, I had to make them. It is easy to find people that do not eat Nutella because of nut allergies. However, finding someone that purely does not like the taste is not that easy.
I have been on a banana kick lately. Especially because it seems to be the main component of smoothies. I recently had an "Elvis" smoothie but it was more like a milkshake- Peanut butter cup ice cream, bananas, protein powder and low fat milk. Very filling and very good.
Back to the bars...this recipe had compliments concerning the great moist texture of the cake part and , of course, there were requests for more icing. The recipe comes from the UK so there are quite a bit of modifications. The first being baking in a 9 inch square pan vs 7 inch. A seven inch pan is too small for the number of servings I needed. I have a seven inch pan but have not found much occasion to use it. The second would be the measurement type (cups vs grams) and amount.
Banana Nutella Bars
adapted from uktv.co.uk
1/2 cup plus 5 tbs butter
3 pureed medium size ripe bananas ( should yield about 1 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup self rising flour
3 tbs Nutella
1tbs plus 1 tsp cocoa
1 cup powdered sugar
1tbs plus 1 tsp butter
2 tbs milk
2 tbs Nutella
2/3 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch square pan by greasing the interior and lining the bottom and 2 sides with parchment paper. Leave some overhang on the sides to use as handles to pull the bars out of the pan after they cool.
Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Then add both sugars and the extract and beat on medium high for about 1 minute. Mixture should be fluffy.
Add one egg and 1/4 of the flour and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the next egg and beat again for 30 seconds. Continue with adding the rest of the eggs, beating 30 seconds after each addition. Using a wooden spoon, fold in the remaining amount of flour, until no dry streaks remain.
Stir in the pureed bananas. Measure out the batter and pour half into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, warm the Nutella in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Then dot or drizzle the Nutella onto the first layer of batter in the pan. Then use a toothpick or small knife to marble it evenly. Add the second layer of batter and smooth the top.
Place pan in oven and bake until done, about 45-50 minutes. When done, cake would have just started to pull away from the edge of pan, but you can use a toothpick tester to detect when done as well. Place pan on rack to cool.
Melt the butter in a small bowl and set aside. Using the bowl of a standard mixer, sift cocoa and powdered sugar together. Then add the melted butter, stir until blended. Once blended, add the milk and Nutella. Beat on medium speed, until the mixture is smooth.
Pull the cooled cake out of the pan by using the excess parchment paper sticking above the sides of the pan. Then remove parchment and place on a cake board or serving platter. Smooth the Nutella icing on top. Lastly, evenly scatter the chopped nuts on top of the Nutella icing. Now its ready to cut and serve.
Tips and Notes:
1. The more ripe your bananas are the stronger the flavor, so keep that in mind when you are shopping for bananas or considering the ones that have been sitting on the counter awhile.
2. The recipe could have used more Nutella between the layers, but consideration must be made regarding the sinking factor. The nut spread is thicker than the cake batter. You want the layer of Nutella in between the batter, not at the bottom.
**LAST YEAR: Chocolate Sugar Cookies**