Saturday, June 9, 2012

Banana~Brownie Squares


Coming up with interesting recipes that incorporate bananas has become a challenge for me.  And, since I always have what seems like "aged" bananas every week, there's just so much banana bread that one can bake:-)

Today, I was inspired by a photograph that my sister sent to me a couple of weeks ago of my daughters when they stayed at her house while my DH and I went to the Shenandoah Mountains for our 10th anniversary.  Her daughter, Amy, decided to play "dress up" with the girls, using crazy hats, her mother's old clothes, and a wig (yes, that is a wig that Kelly is wearing!) and of course,  a plastic lei and sun glasses to complete the ensemble.
Dressing up is always a fun activity for children and a couple of years ago, for Christmas, I made up "Dress Up" boxes for each of my grands.  All sorts of hats--cowboy/girl, police, fireman; costumes I found on sale at different costume sites--pirate, Indian, princess, boas; and I made each one a cape--Maddie had a Little Red Riding Hood and Ari's was a Superhero/magician to inspire their imagination.
Ari in his favorite Spiderman costume

Maddie in her Chinese New Year outfit to match Ivy's
Okay, if you couldn't guess the concept behind this post...I've "dressed up" banana bread with a brownie layer!

Banana~Brownie Squares
Banana Layer:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
2 large eggs
1 tsp. Banana flavoring 
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Butter a 12" x 18" sheet pan, line with parchment paper, and butter again.

In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, cream the butter until fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the mashed bananas, extract and flavoring and beat once more.  Don't be concerned that the batter looks "curdled."

Stir in the dry ingredients and then the nuts.  Pour mixture into the prepared pan and with an off-set spatula spread completely.  Set aside while you mix up the brownie layer.


Brownie Layer:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
9.7 oz. Scharffen Berger Bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Place the butter and chocolate in the top of the double boiler and on medium/low heat, melt.  Set aside to cool.

4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 T Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Espresso powder (optional, but boosts the chocolate flavor)
2/3 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat eggs 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the sugar while the mixer is on low, gradually to the eggs.  When all the sugar has been combined, turn mixer to high and beat until the eggs/sugar are a "light, lemon color."
  
Slowly add the chocolate mixture and beat to combine.  Scrape down the sides.  Stir in the dry ingredients and then the chocolate chips.  Pour mixture over the banana bread layer and spread to cover.


Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then, lower the temperature to 325F-degrees and continue baking 22-25 minutes.  The top of the brownie layer will be shining and dry looking.  Remove from the oven and cool completely--about 1 hour.  Cut into squares and serve.

Makes 2 dozen 3" x 3" bars.
Eat plain or dust with confectioners' sugar

Dress up is a fun way to activate a child's imagination and relatively inexpensive.  I know my grands love it as much as my own daughter's did.  These Banana~Brownie Squares are a tribute to that part of childhood we hold in our memories.  Enjoy!
 

24 comments:

  1. I am so pleased you posted this now. Harry will love receiving a "Dress Up" box for Christmas, like all children he loves pretending to be someone else and this will give me lots of time to hunt down the bargains. The photographs of the children say it all...I shall save my old hats, wigs and beads for Francesca! I love the way you dressed up the banana bread. xx

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    1. Elaine, it was as much fun to put together as it is to watch the grands play...Harry will love it.

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  2. Once again I'm totally amazed by your wonderful creations!! I just wanted to take a bite of that last photograph!
    I love the pictures of the kids---dress-up is always so much fun. Amy's two girls had little trunks filled with scarves, beads, hats, etc. My dear friend, Betty, lives in the house behind Erin and Kelly and she also had dress-up clothes for her granddaughter and my granddaughter. I remember (back in the olden days when I was five or six!) dressing up our big white rabbit and Tiny, our wired-haired terrier---so much fun!! Hugs

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    1. I didn't know that about the white rabbit or Tiny! I used to dress up my cat, Calico...she was very patient being pushed around in a doll carriage. Wish you were close enough to bring some of these by!

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  3. What a great recipe! I'm always looking for ways to use my overripe bananas!

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    1. I think I could write a book just on recipes to use up those bananas!

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  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles with what to do with all those overripe bananas! I'm having pie and ice cream for breakfast, but would LOVE one of these for my mid morning snack. ;-) Great creatione!! Lv, me

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    1. Some weeks I just can't do another banana recipe, but then, my "upbringing" makes me feel guilty throwing food away, so what is a gal suppose to do:-D

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  5. love those dress up photos! so sweet! your banana recipe looks much more delicious than my banana pancakes one. i have a recipe my nutritionist gave me that i use. but it is good!

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    1. I would love your pancake recipe. I bet my grands would love them when they come for Camp Mimi's!

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  6. Your banana bread creation looks so good! Ari and Maddie are so cute!!

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    1. Ari wasn't happy when he learned that Maddie was going to be here too in July...he likes to have my undivided attention! But Maddie said, "Ari is just going to have to share!" Should be interesting to post "Camp Mimi's"for that week.

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  7. Dress up is so much for kids! What a lovely idea for the grands. The dressed up brownies look delish!
    Martha Ellen

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    1. My hubby said, "these are awesome" and for someone who is not necessarily a chocoholic like me, that's saying something!

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  8. Our dress up box is the most played with item in our house.
    I love a new banana recipe.
    Thanks Susan.
    Tracy P

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  9. Okay, this is an awesome recipe! Bananas and chocolate, yum!

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    1. I'm was at my "wit's end" trying to come up with something other than a banana bread for a change!

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  10. What a great idea! Like you, seems the bananas get overripe so fast that I can't keep up!

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    1. I agree Sue! Even having a the bananas hanging doesn't help.

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  11. I, too, am delighted to find another use for overripe bananas. Thanks!

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  12. Darling pics of the grandkids!
    I always have extra bananas around since I am the only one who eats bananas in this house. My hubby won't touch them or anything that is made with them in it! I usually freeze any that are getting too ripe and make smoothies! This is a nice change!
    DeniseB

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    1. Maybe the brownie topping would persuade your hubby!

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