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

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Halloween Treats: Pumpkin Spice M&M Cookies

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I can’t believe it’s almost the end of October. Which also means, it’s almost Halloween! Do you have anything planned? Already know what you’re dressing up as? Unfortunately, I won’t be attending any parties this year – instead, I’ll be handing out sweets…what kind of sweets you ask? Pumpkin Spice M&M Cookies! 🙂

I decided to kill two birds with one stone by doing my weekly baking AND using them as sweet treats for the neighborhood trick or treaters. While trying to figure out what to bake, I skimmed over a number of articles for ‘Halloween Treats for Kids’, but everything seemed to be cupcakes or truffles or just something that was too temperamental and would easily get destroyed in kids’ Halloween candy baskets. Finally, I found Martha Stewart’s Chewy Caramel Mystery Cookies and I remembered as a kid, I always loved M&M cookies (probably because of all the sugar & chocolate). So I knew this would be the perfect thing to bake. 

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The secret ingredient is, without a doubt, the vanilla pudding mix. I know, I know. They may not be the healthiest cookies ever, but the preservatives in the pudding mix make these cookies extremely soft with a nice golden brown crunch on the edges.

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To make these cookies, I modified a chocolate chip cookie recipe from Allrecipes by Debbi. This recipe has a 4.5/5 rating and over 7500 reviews, so she must be doing something right! Allrecipes is definitely one of my top go-to websites for basic baking recipes.

If you’re also wondering where I got my ingredients, I picked most of them up from Stater Bros. and the pumpkin spice M&Ms, pudding mix, treat bags, ribbon, and calligraphy pen from Target.

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Ingredients & Costs:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour = $0.63
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda = $0.01
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder = $0.02
  • 1 cup butter, softened = $2.25
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar = $0.08
  • 1/4 cup white sugar = $0.04
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix = $0.94
  • 2 eggs = $0.62
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract = $0.30
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups pumpkin spice M&Ms = $2.60

Grand Total = $7.40

Directions:

Original recipes makes approximately 2 – 2 1/2 dozen cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheet with baking paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda & baking powder together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy, then incorporate the brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets with your hands or with a cookie-dough scooper.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be slightly golden brown. Press 5 or so M&Ms onto the cookies right after they get out of the oven. Let them cool for at least 10-15 minutes before consuming.

Store cookies in airtight container for up to 6 days.

And that’s it friends! This is such a quick and easy recipe that all kids will definitely love. I mean really, who doesn’t love cookies and candy, right?

If you do attempt baking these cookies, please let me know. I’d love to hear how they turned out!

Happy Baking,

Cindy