Sunday, July 13, 2014

Frosted Banana Bars

When it comes to recipes that include bananas, most of us find ourselves turning to these type of recipes when we have over ripe bananas.  That was not the case here.  I bought the bananas the day before baking.

Based on the results, I am left wondering about the specifics of the ingredient list in regards to the bananas. Over ripe, medium ripe, ripe or just the listing of banana.  These variations have a definite impact on the flavor and texture of the bars.  Since my bananas were just purchased, the end result was that the bars had just a hint of banana flavor.

The frosting would have been a better match if the bars had a stronger flavor.  The flavor of the cream cheese was too strong of a match for the subtle banana base. If I was to make this again I would use over ripe bananas and perhaps some banana extract. However, note that the ingredients listed below are those as stated originally.

The recipe did have some positive points.  The bars were moist and the frosting remained creamy even after a few days. The amount of confectioners sugar used in the frosting is a variable according to what consistency is desired, but bear in mind that the more sugar the dryer it will be after it sets. So if you are looking for something banana, this may be a good one to test out with those over ripe bananas.

Frosted Banana Bars
adapted from Taste of Home, Best Loved Recipes

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 3/4 to 4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-8 oz package cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 10 x 15 x 1 inch baking pan by greasing the interior. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.

Add the butter and sugar to a bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat on medium high for 2 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  The batter should be very light and fluffy after this process.  Add one egg and beat for 30 seconds and repeat with the remaining egg.  Then add the sour cream and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed until evenly distributed into the batter.

Fold the sifted ingredients into the batter in increments of 1/3.  When no dry streaks remain, fold in the mashed bananas.  Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.  Place in oven and bake until it has a golden hue and tester comes out clean.  This should take about 20-25 minutes.  Remove and let bars cool in pan completely without cutting.

To prepare the frosting, add the cream cheese, vanilla and butter to a mixing bowl.  Beat for 1 minute on medium high speed to reach the same consistency as stated in the first mixing step of the bar batter.  Sift in 1 cup of the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.  Continue to add the sugar in increments and beat after each addition until desired consistency is achieved.

Smooth the frosting on the cooled bars and refrigerate until read to cut and serve.
                                            **YEAR 2012: Apricot Brie Croissant Pockets**