Saturday, April 28, 2012

Frosted Banana Bars

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – April 24, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Frosted Banana Bars recipe originally published by via e-mail – April 16, 2012.

My husband LOVES sweets, but he would probably kill someone for anything with cream cheese frosting on it.  I LOVE banana bread and happen to enjoy a schmear of cream cheese of it with my coffee in the morning.  When I found this recipe I knew it was going to be a big hit.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Frosted Banana Bars
This picture doesn’t really convey the soft cake with the fluffy frosting.  All I can do is try to explain it… the cake is firm enough to allow your fork to pass through it like butter without crumbling apart.  The frosting?  Well it is the perfect combination of creamy, tart and sweet.  I honestly could have eaten it alone.

All I’m going to say is this: My bars look better.  Yeah, that’s right, I said it., if you’re reading this… I didn’t mean it.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – You have to mash the bananas, but I don’t really count that.  This recipe is really a mix and bake with no other work needed.  However, I give this an EH since I have to deal with flour.  I get it all over the floor and countertop.  Also, I often end up with my own handprints on my butt.

Start-to-Finish Time: OVER AN HOUR – The good news is that almost half of this is hands-off.  And trust me when I say that whatever time you do spend on this recipe is well worth it.

Prep Work: ALL FINGERS STILL HERE – Although I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened to me, it is pretty hard to hurt yourself mashing the bananas. 

Ease of Recipe: COOK IT IN MY SLEEP – As long as you are accurate with your measurements, it’s really hard to mess this one up.

OverallSORRY HONEY, NO LEFTOVERS – We literally battled each other on who could eat the most the fastest.  I think my husband got up in the middle of the night to eat some more cake.  When my husband brought me my last piece, he announced we were finishing the cake.  I demanded to see if his piece was bigger than mine.  Had it been, I may have attempted to stab him with my fork.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Servings: 3-4 dozen bars
No timing information given

I couldn’t tell you how big each piece would be if I had measured out 36-48 bars, but I can say this… it wouldn’t have been enough.  I think we ate it in rows.  On the more serious side, you could definitely get 36 normal size bars out of the pan.  Forty-eight would probably be more bite-sized.

They didn’t have any timing information listed, so here’s how my timing worked out:
  • Prep: 6 minutes
  • Hands-on Time: 28 minutes
  • Bake Time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
I’d say this is an average time when it comes to baking and frosting a cake.  Considering there’s very little hands-on time involved, you can bake it while helping the kids with homework or perusing the internet for recipes.

Nutritional Information:
None given

I’m sure we all know that this isn’t the most low-calorie of dishes, but I swear by the mantra “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”  Therefore, this is going to be a healthy dish.  I can eat this every day and lose weight.  Yes, this statement is true.

Thanks George Costanza. 

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t run it through my nutrition tool, so here goes:
  • Calories 142.5
  • Total Fat 7.3 g
  • Saturated Fat 4.6 g
  • Cholesterol 30.8 mg
  • Sodium 82.9 mg
  • Potassium 38.6 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 31.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
  • Sugars 25.0 g
  • Protein 2.0 g
This portion size is a bar approximately 1-3/4 x 2-1/2-inches in size.  I’ve seen worse, but being completely honest, I used reduced fat sour cream and 1/3-less fat cream cheese.  I can personally say that using the reduced fat ingredients didn’t diminish the taste at all.  If you have issues controlling your blood sugar – BEWARE!  This yummy morsel has a whopping 25g of sugar.

Changes denoted by red text

© You Want Me to Cook?
Frosted Banana Bars - ingredients
For the Banana Bars:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) lite sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

For the Frosting:
1 package (8 ounces) 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 3/4 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar, 10x
Cooking Spray

Ingredient Notes:
Butter – Although it doesn’t say what type of butter to use, I went with unsalted.

Lite Sour Cream – Using a reduced fat sour cream will save you half the calories and fat for the ingredient.  The best part about it is that it doesn’t affect the taste!

Flour – When measuring flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then level it off with a flat surface (I use a knife).  Scooping directly into the cup compacts the flour and you might get more than you need giving you a dense cake.

Banana – My bananas were yellow with the ridges of the banana starting to brown.  I probably wouldn’t go much fresher than that because they will be hard to mash.  Don’t have any on hand?  Ask the produce manager if they have any ripe bananas or pay attention to when they rotate their produce.

1/3-less fat Cream Cheese – Obviously you’re going to get 1/3-less fat and calories without losing any flavor.  However, I wouldn’t use no-fat cream cheese.  I find it to be slightly bitter and I would worry about your frosting now being sweet enough.

Confectioners’ Sugar 10x – This type of powdered sugar is the finest sugar available.  If you can’t find it (it should be with the other sugar products), make sure you sift the sugar you do buy a couple of times.  The finer the sugar, the smoother and fluffier your frosting will be.

Cooking Spray – you need to grease your pan and this is the easiest, healthiest and fastest way to do that.

Equipment Needed:

© You Want Me to Cook?
Frosted Banana Bars - equipment
Spoon and Knife
Small Bowl
Stand Mixer
Plastic Spatula
Large Bowl
Spoon - Mixing
15x10x1-inch Baking Pan
Cake Tester

Equipment Notes:
Spoon and Knife – Make sure you have these on hand to measure your flour.  Use the flat edge of the knife to level the measuring cup.

Small Bowl and Fork – The most effective way to mash your bananas.

Stand Mixer – You can use a large mixing bowl and hand mixer to make your batter for the cake, but a stand mixer is much easier.  You don’t need an expensive one to get the job done in this recipe.

Cake Tester – You don’t need one of these.  A toothpick will work just fine.  However, how many times have you gone to grab a toothpick and not had any left or not been able to find them.  I love my tester and it wasn’t expensive at all.

(1)   Make the Banana Bars:
(a)  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
(b)  Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla.
(c)  Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
(d)  Stir in bananas.
© You Want Me to Cook?
Frosted Banana Bars
Batter pre-baking
(e)  Spread into a greased 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Frosted Banana Bars - cake baked sans frosting
(f)  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Rotate the cake pan in the oven if an area is browning quicker than the rest of the cake. Cool.
After 20 minutes, the edges of my cake were browned, but I my tester wasn’t coming out clean.  I put it in for another 3 minutes and the cake was a little browner, but the front portion of the cake wasn’t quite cooked all the way through.  I rotated the pan and put it in for another 2 minutes and that was enough  to keep the back of the cake from browning too much and finish baking.
(2)  Make the Frosting:
(a)  In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla.
(b)  Gradually beat in enough confectioners' sugar to achieve desired consistency.
(c)  Frost bars. Store in the refrigerator.
At this point, I really can’t say anything else regarding the deliciousness of this frosted cake.  It was fluffy and creamy and great with all meals.

Yes, I ate it for breakfast one morning with my coffee.  Hey!  It is chock full of fruit after all!

**Keep repeating that.  It’s not a lie if you believe it.**

I wouldn’t change a thing with this cake.  When, not if, I make it again, I will follow the recipe to a “t”.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Until next time… Happy Baking!!!

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