Banana Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting

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This morning, I found two overripe bananas in my kitchen. Most people would just throw them out, which can definitely become annoying when it’s a regular occurrence. But for bakers, this can actually be a nice little surprise! Even though I usually use overripe bananas to bake banana bread, I decided to switch things up today and make these super moist banana bars and topped them with some brown sugar frosting.
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I was totally expecting the brown sugar frosting to be too sweet. I mean the majority of it is sugar, right? But I was pleasantly surprised! The brown sugar gave it some nice depth and I was really tempted to add some bourbon to give it a little zing. In the end, I decided to stick to the original recipe.
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If I could give you one tip, it would be to stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes after you’ve let it cool at room temperature for 5 minutes or so. I’ve found that this helps keep the bars super moist.
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This is a slightly modified recipe from Cookies & Cups and ingredients were purchased from Stater Bros & Grower’s Direct.

Ingredients & Costs:

Bars

  • ½ cup butter = $1.13
  • 1 cup light brown sugar = $0.11
  • 1 egg = $0.31
  • 1½ tsp vanilla = $0.15
  • ¼ tsp salt = $0.01
  • 1 1/2 cups flour = $0.45
  • 1 cup mashed banana (2 medium bananas) = $0.69

Brown Sugar Frosting

  • ¼ cup butter, cubed = $0.56
  • ½ cup light brown sugar = $0.06
  • 2 Tbsp milk = $0.04
  • 1 cup powdered sugar = $0.40

Grand Total = $3.91

Directions:

Original recipes makes 16 bars

Bars:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8×8 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar.  Add in egg and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated.
  3. Whisk together salt & flour. Add salt, flour and banana until batter is smooth and even. Spread in prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until center is set. Frost once they are mostly cooled.
Brown Sugar Frosting:
  1. In a medium saucepan melt butter. Add brown sugar and milk and stir until sugar has completely melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk in powdered sugar and add more milk if necessary.
  3. Spread frosting on top of bars and allow it to set completely before cutting into squares.

Store bars in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or at room temperature in an airtight container for 5 days.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free leave them in a comment below.  And as always, I’d love to hear how your bars turn out! 🙂

Happy Baking,

Cindy

Chocolate Cupcakes With Salted Caramel Frosting

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Happy National Chocolate Cupcake Day! What’s on the dessert menu today? Yep, you got it – some rich, fudgy & moist chocolate cupcakes. And to top ’em off, I added some salted caramel frosting with a light drizzle of caramel sauce. Absolutely delish!

I was originally planning to bake some apple cinnamon cupcakes today, but when I found out that it was going to be National Chocolate Cupcake Day, I knew I just had to share my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe with you guys! I’ve been using this particular recipe ever since I started baking. Even though I’m not usually a fan of box mixes, this one just works and it’s perfect for when you don’t have time to measure out all your dry ingredients. And honestly, most people can’t tell that it’s a “doctored box mix” recipe.

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Fun Fact: There are currently two theories about how cupcakes got their name. One claims that they were baked in cups and the other suggests that the name comes from the recipe, which was measured out by the cup.

Personally, I wouldn’t really care if it was called a bowlcake, cake-in-a-mug or moldcake — I’d still devour them.

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These cupcakes are great for parties and the salted caramel frosting is to-die-for, especially during the Fall.

You can use store-bought salted caramel sauce, but I highly recommend making the salted caramel sauce yourself. The flavor is more intense and of course, it’s much less sugary and artificial.

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My final product ended up being a modified version of Denise’s Too Much Chocolate Cake and the Two Peas’ Salted Caramel Frosting.

I also purchased most of my ingredients from Stater Bros. They always have great sales on their products and their variety of basic baking ingredients is fantastic.

Ingredients & Costs:

Cupcakes

  • 1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix = $1.49
  • 1 (5.9 oz) box Jello Chocolate Fudge instant pudding mix = $0.99
  • 4 large eggs = $1.29
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil = $0.25
  • 1/2 cup milk = $0.28
  • 1/2 cup of warm water = $0.04
  • 1 cup sour cream = $1.79
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips = $1.00

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar = $0.06
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar = $0.08
  • 1 stick or 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces = $1.13
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream = $0.92
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt flakes or table salt = $0.03

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 & 1/2 sticks), at room temperature = $1.69
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar = $1.19
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce

Grand Total = $12.23

Directions:

Original recipes makes 24-28 cupcakes

Cupcakes:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

2. Whisk together the cake mix & pudding mix, then combine the eggs, oil, milk, water and sour cream into the mixture. Beat until well combined and there are minimal lumps. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

3. Scoop the batter evenly into cupcake liners. Each liner should be between 1/2 – 3/4 of the way full.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool.

Salted Caramel Sauce:

1. While the cupcakes are baking, make the salted caramel sauce.  Heat the sugar over medium high-heat in the bottom of a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt, start whisking the sugar. The sugar will clump up, but keep whisking. Continue cooking the sugar until it reaches a deep amber color. It should reach about 350°F. This is where it is easiest to burn the caramel so make sure to keep an eye on it.

2. As soon as the sugar reaches the dark amber color, carefully add the butter. Whisk until butter is melted.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until cream is incorporated and caramel is smooth. Whisk in the sea salt flakes or table salt.

4. Let the caramel sauce cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then pour into a medium-sized metal bowl. Set aside.

Salted Caramel Frosting:

1. Beat the butter in the bowl until it is light and fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, and mix until completely incorporated.

2. Add the salted caramel sauce and beat frosting until airy and thoroughly mixed.

3. Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost cupcakes with salted caramel frosting and drizzle with salted caramel sauce.

Store cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or at room temperature in an airtight container for 5 days.

Feel free to like, share or reblog this post and please leave a comment with any questions you may have.  I’d love to hear how your cupcakes turned out and how you celebrated National Chocolate Cupcake Day!

Happy Baking,

Cindy