Sometimes the simplest, long-standing, beloved family recipes are just the perfect bite to have at an afternoon tea, or with your favorite cuppa just about any time of day. For me, these Frosted Banana Bars are just that kind of sweet.
The recipe comes from one of my aunts, one of three of my mother’s sisters. I love how they all had their specialities, and shared their favorites amongst themselves, so all us cousins got the benefit!
These bars are one of those that my mother would make for all of us kids, probably because one batch went such a long way. That, and the fact that they are as simple as it gets to make – just two layers, baked banana layer topped with an absolutely delicious cream cheese frosting. Neither layer is too sweet.
And when she would pull them out of the freezer when we’d visit in later years, we could sit around after dinner (or walk through the kitchen all afternoon long when they’d be sitting out on the table) and just eat one after another. They are really quite addicting!
So as to their assembly – a hand mixture will do, one big bowl to mix everything together in, and another smaller bowl just to sift the dry ingredients together, and to use to mush the bananas with a fork before you fold them in at the end.
The frosting is even easier – four ingredients of which you mix the first three together, then add the powdered sugar at the end, adding enough until it’s just as sweet as you’d like. It really is one of my favorite cream cheese frostings.
Just spread the batter out in a very large jelly roll pan, bake, cool, and then spread the frosting out on the top, all in the same pan. Refrigerate or freeze, then cut them up and serve. It’s as simple as that.
Frosted Banana Bars
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. (8 oz.) sour cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
- 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 2 tsp. vanilla or vanilla bean paste
- 3 to 3 3/4 c. powdered sugar (I found 3 1/2 c. to be enough)
DirectionsPreheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Then add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the mashed bananas. Spread evenly into a greased 15×18-inch baking pan (like a jelly roll pan with a little lip). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool the bars before frosting.
For the frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, the second 1/2 c. butter and vanilla. Gradually beat in enough confectioners’ sugar to achieve desired sweetness and consistency. Frost the bars and store in the refrigerator (they also freeze well if you want to make them ahead).
In addition to being perfect for afternoon tea, they work great for dessert at a big family dinner, potluck supper, girl’s night get-together, book club, or you name it.
I’m not actually a huge fan of banana bread, or having bananas in my baked goods (more of a bananas-on-cereal kind of girl), but I would go a long way for one of these bars – especially at tea time!