Roasted Banana Bars with Browned Butter–Pecan Frosting

  • Lili316 Posted: 02/23/09
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    I got so many compliments on these bars! They do take a while to make, but the great results and the large number of bars make it worth the effort. I subbed FF cream cheese in the icing and it tasted fine.

  • rumttiger Posted: 05/02/09
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    Since receiving Jan. 09 magazine I have made these wonderful bars at least 4 times. As one other review wrote they are well worth the extra steps.

  • DixieDishrag Posted: 01/24/09
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    I made this exactly according to the recipe, with the exception of omitting the pecans. It is delicious! A couple of observations, though. First of all, if this is the "lightened" version of the recipe, I'd hate to see the original! It isn't particularly light. Second, I've rarely baked anything that dirtied as many dishes as this one! Start with an empty dishwasher, because by the time you've spread the frosting, it will be full. That said, they are well worth the trouble (especially that delectable frosting!) and I will make them again and again.

  • AbsMom Posted: 06/07/09
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    Excellent! I didn't find that it was too labour intensive, just the extra step of roasting the bananas, which definitely heightened the flavour. The frosting was a bit sweet, may try to find an alternative recipe but other than that will definitely make over and over again!

  • MrsJillSmith Posted: 03/29/09
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    These bars are soooo good! I've made them several times and everyone loves them. I think the caramelized bananas really make the difference. It does take a while to prepare these, but it's worth it in the end!

  • KeysBet Posted: 02/08/10
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    Made these and Mississippi Mud Cake for a Super Bowl party last night and both were a hit. This is a great tasting banana cake-- baking the banana's first really brought out the flavor, and the Browned Butter-Pecan frosting is just awesome. I cut it into smaller pieces and put in paper cupcake cups for easy eating and great presentation. You won't be disappointed in this recipe. Will make again!

  • Jocilyn Posted: 01/31/09
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    These were really good, but had way too much butter and sugar to make all the time.

  • jyogam Posted: 01/17/09
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    Fabulous.

  • chicagomelissa Posted: 10/17/10
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    These got terrific compliments at work. I agree that this tastes like a cake but it is dense enough that you can eat it out of hand and not have crumbs every where. The nuts didn't stick too well, though. Next time I'll either mix the nuts into the frostig (which is my favorite part of the dish) or gently press them in. Highly recommended!!

  • norquista Posted: 01/27/09
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    This is such an amazingly delicious recipe, I licked the batter AND the frosting bowl. The butter for the frosting browns really fast so you have to pay attention. Once the butter melted, I swirled the pan gently until the butter just started to get a little color then turned off the heat; the butter continued to brown for sometime after the heat was removed. Rather than sprinkling the nuts on top, I mixed them right into the frosting. This recipe will definitely be added to my list of Frequently Repeated Recipes.

  • ChefInSR Posted: 01/07/09
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    Delicious and rich! This is more like a sheet cake than a bar cookie. The browned-butter frosting made this dish special. I made these because I had some over-ripe bananas that I needed to use up. I had no cake flour, so I used all-purpose. Where can one buy fat-free buttermilk? Couldn't find it, so I used low-fat. Used regular cream cheese. Didn't bother with the nuts. Be careful when browning the butter, because one minute it isn't browning at all, and the next minute it is burning. I had to strain mine. I will be making this again soon.

  • AMSNYC Posted: 01/19/09
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    The frosting is what makes this recipe. I made the following modifications: Frosting: Only 1/3 stick of butter, 3 oz. whipped cream cheese, 1 c. powdered sugar. Cake: Only scant tablespoon brown sugar, 1 c. granulated sugar; subbed wheat/white flour blend for the cake flour; added cinnamon and pecans. Given my changes, the cake was more on the dry side but still light. I personally did not taste the benefit of roasting the bananas first. The frosting added great caramel flavor and moistness. I will make the frosting again (maybe on carrot cake) but am not sure about the cake.

  • julielwillard Posted: 02/16/09
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    Worth the extra steps..... This is a great recipe !!!

  • KathleenH Posted: 07/24/09
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    This recipe is SO good. I've made it twice now, for 2 different family occasions. Everybody loved it. I definitely consider this a cake rather than a bar. My sister-in-law even said that this one should become a Thanksgiving staple. The roasted bananas give this cake a wonderful flavor as well as a nice texture- very moist. I used regular flour, not cake flour, and I thought it turned out fine, although cake flour might be better. Also, I used walnuts instead of pecans on the top. Unfortunately, this isn't exactly a "light" cake. (Especially when 4 people eat the whole thing in 2 days, hahaha!) I'm glad I tried this recipe!

  • crazysmile03 Posted: 01/23/09
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    This is a bit of work and uses a lot of bowls, but well worth it!! It is excellent just the way it is. I sifted the cake flour since I could not weigh it. And I toasted the pecans in the microwave. In step 4 "Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternating with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture"..The directions aren't clear, but you DO have to MIX all of that together.

  • CAgirlinIA Posted: 11/07/10
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    These were TOO good - I made a pig of myself! Now I will deliberatly let bananas turn brown so I can make this. The roasted bananas would be good over ice cream, ala Bananas Foster...but of course then you couldn't make these great bars! Tasty!

  • DCCook Posted: 01/17/09
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    I can't comment on the bar itself - just finished frosting them but on the basis of the frosting alone, this recipe is a winner. It has a delightful and atypical flavor. Be warned - my bars are not as hips-and-thighs friendly because I had to double the frosting recipe in order to cover the bars completely. A small price to pay for deliciousness.

  • Julia357 Posted: 01/12/09
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    When I told my husband that I was baking banana bars, he grumbled a bit. He wasn't grumbling after he had one and has already requested more. The browned butter frosting is outstanding!

  • akdb69 Posted: 07/18/09
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    I love everything with browned butter in it and this is no exception. Yes, it's a lot of dishes, but just have the dishwasher empty and open and put the bowls in it as you use them. It doesn't seem so bad then. Very yummy. I think I'm going to go have another piece right now.

  • Cville6 Posted: 02/04/09
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    This is a fantastic cake - very moist and delicious. Maybe a little bit sweeter than I would like, I might add a little less brown sugar to the bananas next time. Instead of the cream cheese frosting I made a mocha frosting which was a great match with the bananas: using a handmixer or a standmixer -- mix 3 Tbsp butter (or spread for cooking, such as Smart Balance), 2 Tbsp baking cocoa powder, 2 tsps. powdered decaf instant coffee, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 3 to 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar (the amount of sugar depends on your sweet tooth). Next, slowly stir in milk, one teaspoon at a time, until a spreading consistency is reached.

  • amdamom Posted: 02/16/09
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    Although this recipe is a bit more labor intensive than I'd like. The result is delicious! The caramelized flavor of the bananas is great as is the browned butter icing. I'll be making these again! I made these on Valentine's day and cut them into heart shapes with a cookie cutter. They were cute to serve with coffee in the morning!

  • Kristy13 Posted: 01/26/09
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    Absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe to a T except for cake flour the first time but will make some adjustments the next. I think you can get away with a 1/4 c less brown sugar and a bit less butter in the frosting. Trying to make it a bit more healthy than it is.

  • bigbadmama Posted: 08/25/09
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    This is such a good cake!! Yes, you have to dirty a few extra bowls but clean up is easy. I doubled the recipe and put some in the freezer for later. Definitely sweet...I cut back on the sugar (by a 1/4 cup) and the icing and they're still plenty sweet. This is a keeper!

  • ptsmoot Posted: 06/07/09
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    These were absolutely delicious--the roasted banana just made the flavor come alive in these bars. As others have noted, it isn't exactly a one-dish recipe, but it's definitely worth the effort, and it's not at all complicated or difficult, just generates quite a few bowls and pans to clean. Great stuff! My husband was raving about these.

  • SoCalMom Posted: 03/11/09
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    This is *so* worth the extra effort. YUM! My family, teen daughter's friends, and co-workers request it again and again. I made the frosting with lowfat cream cheese, too. A real winner!

  • cookininvanwert Posted: 05/15/09
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    There just isn't a way to improve these! Wonderful!

  • Deborah425 Posted: 03/27/09
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    A definite keeper! My family loved it!

  • MaryBethWhit Posted: 03/21/09
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    Excellent - worth the effort! Next time would try with half whole wheat flour and not frost as an after-school snack for my children. I also reduced the sugar by a 1/4 cup and it was sweet enough!

  • mpitzen Posted: 06/02/10
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    This is definitely worth the work. By far my favorite dessert! I make this all the time. It stays super moist for days!!! And the frosting is easy but tastes decadent. I bring it to work a lot and people are always asking for the recipe...

  • BrinaBear Posted: 05/18/10
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    These were absolutely wonderful. They were delicious even without the frosting but the frosting definitely added an extra touch. We omitted the pecans because I didn't have any, but I don't think it needed it. Make sure that you use a 13 x 9 pan though because I had to us a 12 x 8 and had a hard time getting the center to cook because it was too thick. A friend said "these are 20 times better than 'Starbucks'!" I will definitely be making again.

  • MarcyShay70 Posted: 05/12/09
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    I can't believe how amazing these banana bars taste. Huge hit with the family! Ever since I made the first batch, I've recceived countless requests for morel My only suggestion is to make sure your bananas are ripe, borderline doesn't cut it. These are yummy for breakfast too!

  • KristinVD Posted: 11/08/09
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    Amazing! These are a keeper for sure.

  • Jeninky1 Posted: 09/14/10
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    My husband won't even let me take some of this to work to share. He wants it all to himself!

  • cherie70 Posted: 01/10/10
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    Worth the little bit of extra effort. Just finished having this for dessert and it received rave reviews, especially for the frosting . I made this with gluten free flour due to a family member with a gluten allergy and had great results. Delicious!

  • ems0925 Posted: 02/04/10
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    So i wanted to feel even better about eating these so i used brown sugar splenda and the splenda baking blend in place of where it called for brown sugar and granulated sugar. Because the bananas are so sweet anyways when you roast them, the bars are still just as good with splenda! Super moist and flavorful, elegant enough to entertain with as well!

  • cdarlington Posted: 12/11/10
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    This is awesome. It seemed like I was burning the bananas, but they turned out great. I changed two things. I used more ounce of cream cheese and fat free half and half instead of the butter to create the same consistency and lose the fat. I didn't have pecans, so I used toasted almonds, which added that great crunch.

  • MIJenn Posted: 08/27/10
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    A dense, flavorful cake that stood up beautifully to my frosting modification: since I didn't have cream cheese, I made a maple frosting by mixing the same amount of powdered sugar, 3T maple syrup, and 1T whipping cream. Because I used maple extract in the batter rather than vanilla, it really brought things together nicely. Quite good chilled, too.

  • danielle41 Posted: 06/02/10
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    This recipe takes a litlle extra effort but is well worth it! Bars are so moist and delicious that I may actually leave off the frosting next time and just do a little sprinkle of powdered sugar (I think that the frosting takes away from how good the bars are!) Also, the recipe calls for cake flour but I just used all purpose flour and it was fine.

  • HanoverMA Posted: 11/20/10
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    I love, love this recipe! I could eat the whole pan of this myself. But what really makes this outstanding is the browned butter frosting -- to die for! I actually double this frosting recipe and frost my carrot cake with it. So much better than the typical cream cheese frosting.

  • PamFitz Posted: 10/22/10
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    Heavenly! If you love banana desserts (do you only order banana cream cheesecake when you go to The Cheesecake Factory?!) you'll love this cake. I've been looking for a banana cake recipe that didn't just taste like regular banana bread for quite some time. This one is perfect. Roasting the bananas first really brings out the flavor. This baked up moist fluffy and wonderful (even with regular flour instead of cake flour- just sift it first) a definite winner at my house!

  • SeattleSheri Posted: 01/29/11
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    Very good cake! A definite hit with my husband. The kids liked the frosting! It's very similar to banana bread, but a touch more rich (and quite a bit more laborious to make). For those of you that don't have cake flour, you should use a ratio of 1 3/4 cups flour to 1/4 cup cornstarch (which is exactly what cake flour is). If you don't use cake flour, you run the risk of producing a result with a different texture. You can definitely minimize the number of bowls and pans used by reusing them. For example, it's not necessary to transfer the bananas to another bowl before adding the buttermilk and vanilla. You can also reuse the mixing bowl for the frosting. I wiped down the bowl containing the flour mixture and returned it to my pantry.

  • 995018504 Posted: 02/06/11
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    These were ok.. I thought they were too dry and I could really only taste cinnamon, not banana. Maybe I just didn't roast enough bananas? And they seemed to take forever to make

  • catestar Posted: 06/13/11
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    These were delicious! The bars were moist and not overly sweet, and the frosting was very flavorful due to the brown butter. I will definitely make these again!

  • Laurie12345 Posted: 08/29/11
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    This was okay...I would actually prefer carrot cake to this. Between browning the butter for the frosting and roasting the bananas, it was just too much time for what it tasted like. Actually I would probably just roast the bananas again and put them on ice cream or something. It was a little dry, maybe adding more bananas would help?

  • steponme Posted: 09/09/11
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    These were sooo good. Mine turned out more like a sheet cake rather than a bar; sheet cake, bar, whatever it was delish. The browned butter frosting is yummy, yum, yum!

  • osequin Posted: 09/12/11
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    The frosting to this is to die for. When roasting the bananas with the brown sugar, I wanted to eat all the bananas right then. mmmmm However the actual bar part was just a little drier than regular banana bread. Definitely company worthy though. I also used all purpose flour instead of cake so that may have made a difference.

  • LauBuck Posted: 02/24/12
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    I would give these 6 stars if I could. Baking is not usually a strength of mine, but these were just amazing (especially the frosting - wow!). I will make this many times again. Even though the end product was fantastic, for me the banana roasting time given in the recipe wasn't quite right. Maybe I sliced the bananas more thinly than the recipe intended, but I had to take the bananas out of the oven closer to 25 minutes than 35.

  • 711honeybee Posted: 10/04/12
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    Move over banana bread, this is the BEST recipe I have ever made with my "ripe" bananas. Just the frosting alone is a great addition to your baking arsenal . Make this it is awesome.

  • jhauenst Posted: 07/23/12
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    Between the caramelized bananas and the brown butter frosting with toasted pecans, this cake is out of this world good. Banana flavored cake is certainly not my typical preference, but this turned out outstanding. The next time you have overripe bananas I recommend trying this recipe.

  • JustDesserts4U Posted: 04/11/12
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    These are very dry. My first thought, after my first bite, was "Oops, I must have left something out". I am an experienced baker but I realize that everyone makes mistakes, so I very carefully reviewed the recipe and my stack of dirty bowls and spoons and concluded that I had indeed followed the directions to the letter. My next thought was "Did I bake them too long?" but the bottom and edges were not "browned", the bars seemed "perfectly done". In the final analysis these are edible (just) but there are better recipes on the wonderful site.

  • caligirl72 Posted: 05/07/12
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    My entire family said these were the best banana "anything" they had ever had. I will not be able to bake any other banana dessert - for the rest of my life! Really, really, good.

  • KikisTikis Posted: 12/10/12
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    Sooooo goooood! Skipped the frosting & just sprinkled with powdered sugar. Far better than any banana bread I've ever made. My 5 year old gobbled it down

  • chocorange Posted: 04/16/12
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    These bars are delicious. The browned butter icing really added a deep rich flavor. They came out just slightly dry, next time I will check them at 18 minutes, and maybe roast an additional 1/2 cup bananas. The edges were more cake-like and the center pieces sweeter and more condensed which was actually a good thing for our different taste preferences. The icing seemed a little too thick and difficult to spread but it was sufficient to cover the bars. I will definitely make them again.

  • Sunkeeper Posted: 03/16/13
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    I haven't made it yet, but it looks so good. Can you substitute the buttermilk with something else. I don't buy buttermilk. I've only seen quarts of buttermilk.

  • sarabranscum Posted: 06/18/12
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    Incredible banana taste. Some work but worth it.

  • seejay85 Posted: 08/19/12
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    This recipe is AWESOME. I am always making banana breads, muffins, etc. I loved the idea of roasting the bananas, and it gave this cake a different taste than a banana bread. I didn't have cake flour, but found a substitute equivalent online with all purpose flour and it still came out cake-like. Also, used non fat yogurt instead of butter milk. Definitely did not come out dry. This is a must try recipe!

  • jmeleeS Posted: 07/29/13
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    Unbelieveably rich & delicious; the end result tastes like butter pecan ice cream in cake form! Please note, a "bar" usually suggests something a little more dense, but these bars are really a banana cake through and through. That said, I thought the dish was excellent, but very rich so a little goes a long way. My only negative (not enough of one never to make again) was the number of bowls / pans this one took to make from start to finish so there was a lot of cleanup involved. I also needed to sub out two items: 1) I didn't have enough cream cheese (only ~1.5 ozs leftover) so I just added some extra (probably about 2-3 tbsp of low-fat buttermilk) to thin out the frosting in order to spread on the cake, and 2) I don't purchase premade powdered sugar (I make my own in a grinder). I didn't see any issues with either substitution for flavor / textue and the cake is truly stunning in flavor. More of a fall / winter dish, I will keep in mind for the colder months for sure. Enjoy!

  • Carlygirl Posted: 08/07/13
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    SO GOOD. OH MY GOSH. I would eat these everyday if I could. So yummy and banana-y. My only complaint is that by the time you cut the pan up into 24 pieces, the bars are TINY. I am so glad the calories are so low, but it's probably because the bars are so small!

  • JuliKay2u Posted: 09/24/13
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    Only made the cake, as I ran short on time. Used canned frosting, which was okay. Cake was quite delicious. As others have noted, roasting/carmelizing the bananas really adds to the flavor. Will definitely make again, but with modifications to try to reduce the sat. fat content. Just too high for our family!

  • crosscourt Posted: 09/22/13
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    Not very good. Won't make again

  • Yette4 Posted: 11/08/13
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    Overall, not bad, but not really what I wanted. To me, a "bar" indicates a dense cookie-type dessert to eat with your fingers. This was much more like a banana cake. It was tasty, but pretty much like banana bread with frosting. I was searching for a recipe to use up ripe bananas besides our usual go-to banana bread and muffins. Considering the time involved in roasting the bananas (which didn't make a difference in banana flavor that I could tell), I won't make this again.

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