Easy Chocolate Banana Black-Bottom Bars
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“Why do I buy bananas?” Jerry says in an episode of Seinfeld, as he dumps a huge bunch of black bananas into the trash. “They’re good for, like, a day.”
I feel his pain.
I love bananas, but there’s only good for such a small window of time — for me, when they’re just barely ripe enough.
But it’s too bad Jerry tossed all those bananas into the trash. He could have used them to bake something delicious.
I recently had a bunch of over-ripe bananas in the freezer that I had to use. Sure, banana bread is great, and I make it often, but I was in the mood for trying something a little different. I searched around and found this easy recipe for Chocolate Banana Black-Bottom Bars.
Let’s talk a little bit about baking with bananas in general, and then we’ll get to the specific recipe.
Table of Contents
Are overripe bananas safe to eat?
Personally, I can’t stand the taste of an overripe banana by itself.
But, unless they’re truly rotten they’re perfectly safe to eat — or bake with. In fact, brown bananas apparently have more antioxidants than yellow ones.
So how do you know if a banana is rotten? According to Listonic, signs of a rotten banana include:
- Visible mold growing on the skin
- A puddle of liquid or ooze underneath it
- Brown and mushy flesh inside when you peel it
Can you freeze bananas for banana bread or bars?
Yup. I do it all the time — although most of the time I do it wrong.
My typical method of freezing bananas is to notice the fruit bowl, say, “Oh dang, these are too ripe,” and shove them in the freezer.
The better way to do it (which I’ll start doing from now on, I swear!) is to peel them, cut it into a few large chunks, and put in a Ziploc bag before putting in the freezer.
Can you freeze mashed bananas?
Mashed banana can also be frozen in bags or freezer-safe containers. Don’t puree the bananas, just mash with a fork to keep some texture. For each cup of mashed banana, add one tablespoon of lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid to prevent browning. A medium banana will yield about 1/2 cup mashed.
How Do You Defrost Bananas Quickly?
When I’m planning to bake banana bread, I set the frozen bananas in a bowl and just come back to them in a hour or two.
However, if you’re in a hurry (or forget to take them out earlier), this is how The Bump suggests defrosting bananas:
- Dip a bag of frozen banana in warm water.
- Let a whole, unpeeled banana sit out for five minutes, use a knife to remove the peel, then microwave for a minute or two.
How many bananas make a cup?
I know how much easier it is to just toss a couple bananas into a mixing bowl instead of spooning it out and measuring it first.
Generally speaking, one small banana is equal to half a cup and one large banana is equal to a full cup.
I don’t spend time or energy anguishing over whether my banana is “small or “large” or somewhere in-between. I just make a quick guess and toss it in.
I tend to err on the side of putting in too much banana rather than too little, because the bananas are what makes the bread (or bars) moist and sweet.
Chocolate Banana Bar Ingredients
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 medium-sized mashed ripe bananas
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup baking cocoa
Directions for Chocolate Banana Bars
- Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in egg and vanilla.
- Stir in bananas.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda
- Add to creamed mixture and mix well.
- Divide the batter in half.
- Stir the cocoa into one half of the batter, then spread that half onto the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
- Spoon the remaining batter on the top and swirl with a knife.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
Possible Recipe Changes and Substitutions
Here are a few things you can do to customize this recipe:
- Reduce the sugar
- Add chocolate chips to the banana half of the batter
- Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips before baking
- Substitute the 1/2 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of oats
- Add a couple dashes of cinnamon to the flour mixture
A couple things to note:
- These bars may look like brownies, but they’re more of a “cake” consistency
- They taste better after being refrigerated for several hours.
Now you have something new to add to your baking repertoire when you have a pile of overripe bananas that you need to do something with. Enjoy!
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