I'd like to think that I'm a much better baker than cook. I can follow a recipe like my life depended on it. I love the exact measurements, the precise cooking times and the detailed instructions. None of this "eyeballing" business. Needless to say I end up with a disproportionate amount of sweets to dinner food ratio. And I'm ok with this.
When Lauren shared this recipe for banana bars and raved about how easy they were to make/a crowd pleaser, I knew I had to try them. Also, I had two bananas that had seen better days. When life gives you mushy bananas, make banana bread...or bars (which was perfect because I don't have a loaf pan to make banana bread anyways.)
I tweaked her recipe a tad and added chopped pecans and used Duncan Hines cream cheese frosting instead of making my own. It tastes just the same to me and I don't have to deal with cleaning up all of the powdered sugar that inevitably lodges in every nook and cranny of the kitchen. I have a hard enough time cleaning up all of the flour left over. There was so much white powder everywhere, the kitchen looked like the set of Breaking Bad. True story.
Back to the banana bars...they are simple and a crowd pleaser. win-win situation. I love that you make them in a 9x13 pan instead of a loaf because you can feed three times the amount of people, if needed. Or you can keep the whole batch for yourself. No judgement. They are perfect for breakfast, afternoon snack or second dinner.
1 cup sugar
2 mashed bananas
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 c flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 regular pack of (light) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of butter
2 cups powdered sugar
splash of vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350.
Mix the bananas, sugar, eggs & oil together in a bowl until it's a nice yellow, sloppy mix.
Stir in remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon & salt).
Pour into greased pan (9x13) and put into oven for 25-30 minutes...
or until a knife/toothpick comes out clean when inserted from the center.
Leave to cool for one hour.
Now is great time to toss the cream cheese & butter out on the counter to soften.
After you've run an errand, eaten some lunch or watched a little tv
while the banana bars cool,
come back to the kitchen and start on the frosting.
Mix all four ingredients in a bowl.
You can beat by hand or in a mixer... both will be yummy.