Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Chocolate-Bottom Banana Bars from Author Cleo Coyle for National #BananaBreadDay




From Cleo Coyle: Two layers of flavor and texture make these bars an outstanding treat. A soft banana cake layer floats over a rich, brownie-like base laced with chocolate chips.

It sounds complicated, yet it's very easy to make, and a perfect snack for afternoon coffee breaks or late-night noshing. These beautiful bars make a great home-baked gift for friends and family, too.

Marc and I originally published the recipe in our 13th Coffeehouse Mystery, but since today is (no kidding) National Banana Bread Day, we decided to re-bake it for ourselves—and re-share it here in the Kitchen with all of you...



Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

☕ A Recipe Note from Cleo


"Lovin' from the oven" is how coffee hunter Matt Allegro described these fresh-baked squares in one of our most popular Coffeehouse Mysteries, Billionaire Blend. And Matt was right.

You'll notice we put a bit of earthy espresso powder in our chocolate bottom layer. Yes, we’re coffee lovers, but here’s the truth. You won’t taste coffee, only a more powerful note of chocolate. As bakers know, espresso powder is a way to deepen the flavor of chocolate in recipes.

These bars pair beautifully with coffee, espresso, and strong black teas. May you bake them with love and eat with joy!

~ Cleo


To download this recipe in a free
PDF document that you can print,
save or share, click here or on the
image below...

Click for the Free Recipe PDF.


☕ Cleo Coyle’s
Chocolate-Bottom Banana Bars


Yield: 16 squares (one 9 inch-square pan)

Ingredients:

2 cups mashed ripe* bananas (about 4 to 6 depending on size)
      *See my note at the end of this recipe to ripen bananas in oven

1/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup canola oil (or cold-pressed coconut oil, melt before measuring)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten with fork

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon table salt or finely ground sea salt

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Directions: 

Step 1—Prep oven and pan: First preheat your oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 9 inch-square pan with parchment paper, allowing the ends to hang over the side like handles. You’ll use those handles to easily lift the baked banana bar slab out of the pan. Coat paper lightly with non-stick spray. Set aside.




Step 2—Make batter: Combine your 2 cups of mashed bananas and sour cream with a fork. Add the oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fork-whisk well (or use an electric mixer) to blend until smooth. Now add your flour and mix until a lumpy batter forms, but do not over-mix at this stage.








Step 3—Create chocolate bottom:
Remove 1 cup batter and place it into a separate bowl. Add cocoa and espresso powder, fork-whisking until the batter is smooth. Fold in chocolate chips, and (optional) chopped walnuts.


Step 4—Assemble: Spread the chocolate batter across the entire bottom of the prepared pan. Take your time, using the back of a spoon to spread the batter all the way into the corners. Be sure the layer is even. 




Now pour your remaining banana batter on top and once again use the back of a spoon to even out the layer (otherwise your bars will bake up lopsided).




Step 5—Bake: Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before transferring to a solid surface to cut into squares.








👉   KITCHEN TIP   👈

How to Ripen Bananas Fast

Place yellow bananas on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake at 350 F. for 10 minutes, turning once. Bananas will blacken. Peel right away (be careful, they’re hot!) and cool flesh in fridge before mashing.



Eat (and read) with joy!


Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries



This is us -- Alice and Marc.
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 


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