Thursday, August 30, 2012

Banana Bread Bars w/ Browned Butter Frosting

Oh my heavens! These are the best bars ever!  Is what I said to myself when I first made these bars, the recipe for which I found on Life's Simple Measures.  I will never again make banana bread to use up old bananas, and once you try this, neither will you.  Browned butter does something absolutely magical when mixed with the creamy flavor of bananas.  Ahhh..... the only change I might make next time is I want to try browning the butter that goes into the batter first.  A one-two punch of browned butter?  I think YES!


I liked these bars so much that they are what I chose to enter in our county fair this year and I won a BLUE ribbon!  Woot! I won another blue ribbon for my Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies.  Now, stop reading this blog and start making these bars :)

Banana Bread Bars:
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1-3/4 c. (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. milk
Heat oven to 375F. Grease and flour 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for 1 minute. Stir in walnuts.
Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, for frosting, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately. Watch the butter closely!  The TURN happens quickly, and you don't want to burn your butter!!
Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting). Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).

Yield: 2 dozen large bars

Monday, August 27, 2012

Catching up and More Brownie Heaven- Coconut Macaroon Brownies

Hello!  Wow, have I been slacking on the blog.  And just when I was about to get a little following! I'm sure that's breaking blogging rule numero uno, but I really do have good reasons, I swear!  Most importantly my furniture business has taken off this summer.  I paint antique furniture as a little side business.  You can see my work here.  When it's nice out it's so great to paint.  The paint dries quickly and my teeth aren't chattering!

We've gone on a couple short trips and had some visitors here as well.  One of my favorite parts of summer is visiting family.

I've also decided to open a preschool at my home this fall.  I just wasn't happy with the school my daughter was going to last year, and it's pretty slim pickin's around here.  So, since I have a Master's in Early Childhood Ed, I figured why not just homeschool her?  I wanted her to have all the socialization that comes with preschool, though, so I got together with a couple of other dissatisfied parents from Big Sister's school and opened my own little "Roots and Wings Preschool"!  I'm really excited about it.  Our first day is coming up next week and I've been busy planning activities, tracking down packages of curriculum lost in the mail and just generally getting things ready.

My husband's graduate program is almost done! Yay! I will be so relieved and so will he, when the classes are done and his intern hours are complete.  Then we have the exciting/scary/stressful job of looking for an admin position for him and possibly moving!  Gah!  I'm trying not to think about all the big changes coming up in our lives and just focus on my kids and our family and what we're doing day to day.

One of the things I have made sure to make time for in my schedule is BROWNIES!  And here's another great recipe for you.  Enjoy!

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.               
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar and cocoa; stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Fold in walnuts. Spread half of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.               
Make the middle layer. In a medium bowl, stir together the coconut, sweetened condensed milk and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Carefully layer this over the chocolate layer in the pan. Top with the remaining chocolate batter. Spread to cover evenly.               
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until top is no longer shiny. Cool in the pan before cutting into bars.
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