Tag Archives: banana bars

If You Can Keep It, by Eric Metaxas – Listen Up!

Happy-4th-of-July-Independence-Day-300x169Hello friends!  Can you believe it is July?  My head is still stuck in April and I honestly can’t believe May and June have flown by.  It was my intention to give you a super new recipe for the 4th of July but I changed my mind yesterday.  (For my readers from around the world, you may not be doing any celebrating this weekend, but in the USA we are celebrating Independence Day!  Independence Day, or more commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.)

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yesterday I spent a good bit of time in the kitchen.  My good friend and neighbor Kathy is moving (boo-hoo) and I wanted to feed lunch to her moving crew.  Hearty ham, turkey, and cheese sandwiches were in order for the hungry bunch but I wanted to add a touch of homemade. I did this with a batch of fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip bars (recipe coming) and  our favorite Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting!

slice banana bread upclose

I didn’t use up all my old bananas with the Banana Bars and so I added two loaves of Brown Sugar Banana Bread to the morning activities! (If you’ve never used this recipe for banana bread – you must! It is wonderful.)

KC Bread

Now you are going to really understand what happens in my kitchen sometimes, when I tell you today was my turn to bring 5 loaves of fresh bread for visitors to our church — and so I had my kitchen work cut out for me!

I have several pastors that I listen to regularly, and so it has long been my habit to play their current online sermons or recordings when working in the kitchen.  A friend had told me that Eric Metaxas spoke at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on Father’s Day weekend.  I generally listen to the sermons from WOC and so I eagerly went searching to see if his recording was there.
It was!

Eric Metaxas  is an American author, speaker, and radio host. He is Eric Metaxasbest known for two biographies, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery about William Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   My husband, sous-chef dish-washing mom and I met him when he was in middle Tennessee after writing Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.  (Which is excellent, highly recommended reading!)

I tell you all this to say when I listened to his presentation about his recently released book If You Can Keep It – The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty, I couldn’t help to think what a timely and appropriate message for our Independence Day weekend!

Click HERE —  I have attached the link so you can listen also!  I promise it is worth the time! But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading

Roasted Banana Bars and Christmas In July

Here I am showing off my new bakers half sheets with lids! It was Christmas in July at my house this week when this surprise gift arrived from my nephew Ryan.  At our recent family reunion Ryan brought four of these bad boys to use and was the envy of every cook in the family!  Now I know envy is a sin, so I will just call it a big dose of enthusiasm that bubbled over as I used Ryan’s pans to make a batch of rice krispie treats.   Ryan used them to bake Pepperoni Bread (recipe coming soon) and outstanding carrot cake bars!

Roasted Banana Bars
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I am home cleaning out my freezer and I pull out six really, really ripe frozen bananas.  What to do, what to do?  I have a Healthified Frosted Banana Bar recipe but I decided to go looking for something “different”. Do you do that sometimes?  You don’t know what you want to bake, you just know you want “something different”?  Well, have you ever roasted bananas?

Roasted Bananas
Yep, you read that right – roasted bananas.  I found the recipe at www.myrecipes.com posted by Lindsay Weiss of Overland Park, Kansas.  She says it came from Cooking Light magazine.  It intrigued me and I was wondering if roasting bananas brings out a richer, deeper flavor.  According to my taste-testers, The Chief and my sous-chef dish-washing mom — these are the best banana bars I’ve ever made! Their words, not mine. 🙂

Frost Roast Banana Bars
Lindsay’s recipe called for a browned butter pecan frosting.  I opted to put the pecans in the banana bars and leave them out of the frosting.  I didn’t brown the butter because I wanted the creamy texture that comes from combining butter and cream cheese with a little vanilla and powdered sugar.  I also doubled the recipe and instead of baking in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish I baked it in my bakers half sheet pan which is roughly 13″ x 18″.

bakers half sheet lid
Just in case you are wondering what this has to do with the  bakers half sheet baking pans with lids — it was at this point I was wishing I had one of those pans to cover up my beautiful pan of frosted banana bars.  Instead I used foil, which sank a bit in the refrigerator and smooshed my lovely cream cheese frosting. Truly this isn’t an earth-shattering crisis, but it did remind me of the bakers half sheet pans with lids that Ryan had.  I sent him a quick email and asked him to send me the name and information about the sheets.

bakers half sheet label
According to him, when he got my email he thought, “maybe she won’t be able to easily find them in Tennessee, I’ll just send them from Amazon and surprise her.”

bakers half sheet w/lid
Surprise me he did!  These are beautiful pans and the lid kinda “snaps” on but it snaps on the edge of the pan leaving frosting in perfect condition.

Frosted Roast Banana Bars
Here is a link where you can buy them on Amazon.

If you don’t have bananas on hand now, print out this recipe, buy some bananas and let them get over-ripe.  In the meantime you can order these pans and before you know it you will be roasting bananas too!

Have a blessed and happy 4th of July weekend,
2 Corinthians 3:17

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

Romans 8:21

“… that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

John 8:32

“… and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Roasted Banana Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting
Roasting bananas first brings out a richness that makes these bars outstanding!
Serves: 24-30 bars
Roasted bananas:
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 6 medium)
  • ⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Cake ingredients:
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ cup buttermilk (non-fat or regular)
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup crushed pecans
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Milk to desired consistency
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine sliced bananas, brown sugar and butter in a 9" x 13" baking pan, roast at 400 degrees F. for 35 minutes, stirring about half way through. Cool slightly.
  3. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. In the bowl of the electric mixer combine butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating until well mixed.
  5. Combine flours, baking soda, pecans, and baking powder, in the bowl of the electric mixer.
  6. Combine cooled roasted bananas with buttermilk and vanilla.
  7. Alternate banana mixture and flour mixture into the butter/sugar/eggs in electric mixer until all ingredients are combined.
  8. Pour batter into a bakers half sheet that has been prepared with baking spray. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
  9. Prepare frosting: Combine butter and cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until well combined. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat well. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  10. Frost cooled banana bars and enjoy!
Vanilla Coffee-Mate is an excellent substitute for the milk in the frosting.


Healthified Frosted Banana Bars

banana bar single
Do you ever have bananas that look like these?

Over-ripe bananas

I over-shot bananas on my shopping list and ended up with 3 1/2 rather ripe ones I couldn’t get the Chief nor my Sous-Chef Dish-Washing mom interested in eating! 🙂

Hand mixer

I ran through the gambit of banana nut bread, or crunchy pecan banana muffins,  and then came across a recipe for banana bars — healthified!  That being, a recipe for banana cake-like bars with a cream cheese frosting with a few ingredients changed for a lighter, healthier version of the original Cream Cheese Frosted Banana Bars without sacrificing taste.

banana bars frosted
I didn’t know if these healthified bars would actually make it to my blog.  After all, I wouldn’t bother you with a recipe that doesn’t give all the taste, flavor, and deliciousness expected from banana bars with cream cheese frosting unless — they are delicious.  Not-to-mention I would be making them with my hand mixer since the kitchen aid is on the fritz and my Cuisinart was still waiting for new parts!

frosted banana bars

But guess what?  These bars are less fat and calories as their original counterparts and the frosting is just as creamy and rich as you would expect.

banana bar bite

The cake is just a bit dense due to the applesauce and the flavor is fantastic!

Happy Baking,
~Blessings, Catherine

Healthified Frosted Banana Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A lighter, healthier version of the original Cream Cheese Frosted Banana Bars without sacrificing taste.
Serves: 3 dozen bars
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. Beat in bananas, applesauce, and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into butter mixture until well blended.
  3. Pour batter onto a 15" x 10" x 1" baking pan coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool pan on a wire rack.
  5. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  6. Frost bars. Refrigerate leftovers.
Over-ripe bananas are the best used in this recipe. Walnuts or pecans make a good addition.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 149 calories per bar Fat: 4 g fat (3 g saturated fat) 23 mg cholesterol,
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