If you’re looking for an easy, delicious banana recipe, look no further! These Best Ever Banana Bars are IT! Soft, moist and tender with amazing banana flavor and cream cheese frosting!
It’s officially official: I am obsessed, hog-wild, head-over-heels in love with these bars.
As some of you may know, I live in an apartment complex, and one of the questions I get asked the most is what do I do with my baked goods? The answer is is that I always give them to neighbors! With so many neighbors nearby, there’s always someone willing to take them off my hands.
Well, now I have a new neighbor who also bakes and she made these banana bars and I fell in love and had to make them for you guys. They are INCREDIBLE.
So with her permission, I’m sharing this recipe with you today!
Banana desserts are one of my favorite desserts – I just go crazy for banana flavored anything! These bars are no exception.
The key to amazing banana desserts is to use bananas that are ready to go. Underripe bananas won’t yield that rich banana flavor. For this recipe, I recommend using a spotty, browner banana which means it is sweeter and will yield a more flavorful banana bar.
These bars have your typical ingredients: butter, some water for moisture, both granulated and brown sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, some banana extract which I added to ramp up the banana flavor (optional, but I love a punchy banana dessert!), buttermilk, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda. Pretty standard stuff!
Out of buttermilk? You can easily replace buttermilk with homemade sour milk (measure out 1/2 cup of whole or 2% milk, remove 1 tsp, and add in 1 tsp white distilled vinegar or lemon juice), or my neighbor successfully made these with almond milk.
Then you’ll top the bars with the most luscious cream cheese frosting. The frosting layer is nearly as thick as the bar layer, and normally I don’t care for a ton of frosting, but the ratio is SO good here!
Customizing Banana Bars
You can customize your banana bars to suit your family’s preferences. For instance, add in chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans to the bar batter, or chocolate chips. However, when it comes to banana desserts, I’m a purist and love a good, unadulterated banana flavor!
These cakey Best Ever Banana Bars are begging to be made! Enjoy!
Best Ever Banana Bars
For the Banana Bars:
- 1 cup (2 sticks OR 16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1½ cups granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (from about 2-3 medium bananas)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk can substitute sour milk or almond milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp banana extract, optional
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3½ cups confectioners' sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350° degrees F. Line a 15x10x1 rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then spray the pan and parchment liberally with cooking spray; set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the butter and water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, letting butter melt completely. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugars, mashed bananas, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and banana extracts with a whisk until fully combined. At this point if you're using any mix-ins like nuts or chocolate chips, add them here.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking soda, salt, and flour. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet banana mixture using a handheld electric mixer, mixing the flour in slowly until just barely combined. Slowly stream in the butter mixture until fully combined.
- Pour the banana batter into the prepared pan. Carefully transfer to the oven on the center rack. Place a cookie sheet underneath the banana bar pan on a lower rack to catch any drips just in case. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, but not wet, crumbs. Cool completely.
- For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract until fluffy, about 1 minute. Gradually add in the confectioners' sugar until frosting is light and fluffy. Spread the frosting over the cooled bars in an even layer. Cut into squares and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate. Keep bars stored covered in the fridge. Bars can keep in the fridge covered for about 4 days.
If you love banana desserts, prepare to become obsessed with these!
Have a super sweet day!
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