When life gives you overripe bananas, make these BOMB diggity best ever Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting! These bars are delightful, delicious, and even a little nutritious. A great treat to make with the kids, too.
Banana bread is wonderful. We eat it all the time, it’s so easy to put together, and we almost always have bananas in the house. Though, honestly, they’re usually gone before they get to the brown stage. Sometimes I have to remember to buy double the amount so that I have enough to let go brown to make yummy banana baked goods.
But, as much as we love our banana bread, it’s also fun to switch it up sometimes, you know? And by switch it up, I don’t mean using bananas in pancakes or muffins or any other of those typical breakfast foods. I mean switch it UP — and make dessert!
Bananas aren’t just for breakfast. They are a great dessert ingredient, too. Bananas foster, banana splits — I’m all about bringing the banana back into the end of the meal instead of the beginning. And, it’s with that in mind that I created these Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. I hope you love them as much as we do. At this posting (a mere one day later) ours are all gone! Whoops. Time to make another round — a double batch this time!
HOW DO YOU MAKE BANANA BARS WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING?
Like any good baker, I preheat my oven first. This is an important step when baking most anything, as a lot of baked goods need to be cooked right away and they can’t really sit around, waiting for the oven to heat up. So, up to 350 my oven goes.
Meanwhile, I beat together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy — it will be light yellow in color and there will be no butter pieces visible. Once I got what I was looking for there, I added the eggs and vanilla in and beat some more. Finally, the pre-mashed bananas were added to the mixer and mixed in.
I then turned my attention to the dry ingredients. In another bowl, I added together the flour, baking soda, and salt. I gave this a stir with a whisk to make sure all the dry ingredients were incorporated together before adding to the wet ingredients as that just ensures a perfect combo of all ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix together until every ingredient is incorporated together. Pour this into the greased pan and pop it in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let the bars cool in the pan once you take them out of the oven.
To make the frosting, add butter to a saucepan and melt it down. Let it brown a little, going from light yellow to dark, golden yellow.
In a separate bowl, I mixed together the browned butter and cream cheese until it was all smoothly whipped up. I stirred in the vanilla and salt, then add the powdered sugar a bit at a time until it’s all combined and smooth. Once the bars are completely chilled, they can be frosted.
Eat right away or keep at room temperature for up to three days. If you can all last that long!
HOW DO YOU GET BANANAS TO RIPEN QUICKLY?
We’ve all been there. You want to make a banana baked good and…your bananas are too green, or better yet, gone and you have to run to the store to get more and they just don’t keep too many brown bananas lying around for some reason.
Don’t fear. There is a solution for that. You can take an unpeeled, ripe bananas and bake it ripe! That’s right. Bake it…before you bake it. Add the banana to a foil-lined baking sheet and pop it in a 300-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the skin of the banana is black.
Let these blackened bananas cool on the tray before you handle them. The fruit should come out easily, once you peel back the (gross, but necessary) black peel.
You can also microwave a peeled banana to ripen it, but it will reduce its flavor and sweetness. Microwave the peeled bananas for 30 seconds at first, then in 10-second increments until you feel like its reached the doneness you desire.
CAN YOU FREEZE BANANAS?
So, on the flip side, you might find yourself with too many ripe bananas and no time to make any delicious banana treats. What can you do? You don’t want to pitch them. Instead, pop them in the freezer — as-is, peel and all.
When you are ready to use them, leave them out in a bowl to thaw completely. You’ll be able to easily get the banana out of the peel and, let me tell you, it will not be appetizing. If you gag easily you might want to steer clear of this method.
The thawed bananas will work just great in any baked item, but they will not look appetizing at all. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup butter - softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups mashed very ripe (brown) bananas - about 3-4 medium bananas
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
cream cheese frosting
- ½ cup butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese - softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 15x10x1 inch pan.
- In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Next add mashed bananas and mix well.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool.
- To make the frosting, melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Once melted continue to boil until butter turns from a light yellow to a dark golden yellow. (This works best in a light-colored sauce pan so you can gauge the color of the butter)
- In a large bowl cream together the browned butter and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in vanilla and salt. Gradually mix in powdered sugar until completely incorporated and frosting is smooth.
- Spread frosting over cooled bars. Cut and serve OR cover and store at room temperature up to three days.