Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Have some old too-brown-to-eat bananas lying around on your counter or in your freezer?  Come on, I know you do.  Here’s that classic banana bar recipe that we all know and love with that perfect, fluffy, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting to crown that golden cake.

This is the banana bar recipe my mom has used for as long as I can remember.  These have been breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert for me many a time.  I don’t remember my mom baking a lot, but banana bread and bars were two of her staples.  While this recipe comes from Taste of Home, I always think of these as “Mom’s Banana Bars”.  Recipes are like that, aren’t they?  They may have originated from someone or somewhere else, but when they are delicious and oft-requested or cooked, they quickly become associated with the person who made them for you.  My mom has a collection of Taste of Home cookbooks, which are the cookbooks I grew up paging through and some of the first recipes I learned to cook.  There’s a bit of nostalgia in these banana bars for me because of those memories.

Since I started making them myself, I prefer a slightly thicker bar, so I have multiplied the original recipe slightly and added a little more banana to increase the moistness of the final product (so scary to alter a baking recipe, but nothing can compare to my mom making these after a few cocktails and combining two completely different recipes to create an inedible hybrid banana bar-pudding-completely uncooked batter result).  I like my cream cheese frosting a little less sweet than most, so unfortunately (wink wink) you’re going to want to taste your frosting as you are making it and add more/less confectioners’ sugar to your desired taste.

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Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24 to 30 bars 

 

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

2-1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) sour cream

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1-3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas, about 5 bananas

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

12 ounces (1-1/2 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

4 to 5 cups confectioners’ sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 350°.  In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine. 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the liquid mixture, stirring just until combined.  Stir in the mashed bananas.

Spread into a greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  DO NOT OVERBAKE!  You will be so sad if you do.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy.  Slowly beat in enough confectioners’ sugar to reach your desired consistency and sweetness.  Frost the bars once cooled.  Store in the refrigerator.

 

Inspiration: Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting on tasteofhome.com

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