These are great. Really, really great. Very tasty. It's like a really exceptional banana bread, and the frosting is quite delicious. The browned butter adds a beautiful flavor. I did have some problems cooking it - the middle just would NOT cook. I probably added 15 minutes total onto the cooking to get the middle to cook through. The frosting is tasty but due to the frailty of the bars, I had to warm up the frosting and spread it very, very gently across the top so as not to pull up any crumbs. These really are super-delicious though and I would definitely make them again.
Roasted Banana Bars with Browned Butter-Pecan Frosting
CL, Feb 09
Category Winner: Desserts. "I have been baking banana bars with my mother since I was old enough to stir the batter, so I was pleased when I was able to lighten them for my family and still maintain the original flavor. I browned butter in a saucepan to enhance its richness, thus eliminating the need for full-fat cream cheese. This is a great way to use ripe, speckled bananas." —Lindsay Weiss, Overland Park, KS
2 cups sliced ripe banana (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
9 ounces cake flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
Baking spray with flour
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. To prepare bars, combine banana, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter in an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes, stirring after 17 minutes. Cool slightly.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°.
4. Weigh or lightly spoon cake flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 9 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) flour, soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Combine banana mixture, buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in another medium bowl. Place 1/2 cup butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs to granulated sugar mixture; mix well. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternating with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
5. Pour batter into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with baking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
6. To prepare frosting, melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Combine browned butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled bars. Sprinkle with pecans.
Yield: 2 dozen