Chocolate Banana Bars.

September 09, 2013

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post by recipe contributor: Mary Beth Johnson is a photographer and blogger with a passion for finding beauty in unexpected places and celebrating the everyday. Originally from the east coast, she now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three children (dubbed "schooners") and writes her lifestyle blog, Annapolis & Company, from a desk full of fingerprints and walls scattered with imperfect artwork.

With school in full swing, I am doing my very best to embrace routine. I fight it, kicking and screaming all the way to school drop-offs on Tuesday and Thursdays, homeschool lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays, organized ballet lessons, and routine nap times. I know that we could use a little more structure - and a little less free-and-easy - it's just hard to get there after a summer full of splash pads and travel. I've started thinking ahead more with breakfasts and trying to come up with simple things we can eat that don't make a huge mess, and can be taken on the go. I love to bake, so I devised a plan to spend a few extra minutes on the weekends and bake ahead for the upcoming week. I freeze the extras in small ziplock bags and pull them out on those busy mornings when I want something quick and tasty. Which is basically every morning. :)
One of our favorite banana recipes was actually originally a bread recipe, but I found when I poured it into a 9 x 13 in pan, it cooks faster and is easier for the kids to eat as bars. This also freezes well and works perfectly for our new routine! I've tried many banana recipes, all in various combinations, and always come back to this one. It's insanely amazing. 

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//Chocolate Banana Bars 

  Ingredients: 
 2 cups all-purpose flour 
 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
 1/2 teaspoon salt 
 1 cup sugar 
 1/4 cup butter, softened 
 2 large eggs 
 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used unsweetened applesauce) 
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Handful of chocolate chips, optional Butter to grease pan, and a dash of flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. 
Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan with butter, then sprinkle evenly with flour to keep the bars from sticking after baking is complete.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. 
Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). 
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. 
Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. 
Spoon batter into greased, 9 X 13 inch pan.
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
 I usually have to put some tin foil on for the last 10 minutes because it’s browning too quickly and the middle isn’t cooked. 
 Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. 
Cool completely on wire rack. 

 Source: Cooking Light : All photography is my own.

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Mary Beth Johnson, Annapolis & Company