"Because life is good, home cooking is best, and there is always something to be grateful for." - Christy Jordan

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grandma's Banana Bars

This is a recipe I grew up eating. I can remember my family having cookouts in my Grandma's backyard in the summers and this would be our dessert. You see, my Grandma's house is a street away from mine, so I was at her house a whole lot. When my house got boring, I went to Grandma's. Problem solved!

She had the coolest front yard and backyard with tons of places to crawl and hide. I was always outside growing up. Kids these days never go outside and just play. They're all about video games and computers. As sad as it is, you can't blame them. That's how the world is now. Technology has taken over!

Grandma also had a pool (with a diving board!) and a huge gazebo that she had built. It was awesome. I felt like I could have my own little adventures there. I loved it.

This recipe is special to me because my Grandma is special to me. Even though her health has declined over the years, I'll always have the memories of watching her in her kitchen. I can see her slicing up fresh fruit for fruit salad, mixing together her potato salad, making these banana bars and making her special chocolate chip cookies that are still my favorite cookies to date.

I know you'll love this recipe! It is beyond delicious. Even though we call them "banana bars" it's really a banana sheet cake with a glaze icing. It's not spicy like banana bread; just pure, moist banana cake. Yum! It screams summer to me because that's when we always had it, and this nice weather we've been having lately is proof that summer is on the way!

Ahhh...a glass of cold milk makes everything taste better!

I, of course, had to put my own spin on it. As much as I love the original recipe, I decided to try something a little different this time. Since I'm a sucker for anything with cream cheese and I know my dad is too, I whipped up some cream cheese frosting to use instead of the regular glaze and then I sprinkled some pecans on top. It got a thumbs up in my house!

I'll give you the original and the new version of the icing...you can choose which one you want to use :) You can't go wrong either way!

Grandma's Banana Bars

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
2 eggs
1 c. sour cream (light is fine- this is what makes the cake so moist!)
3 mashed, ripe bananas
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. flour

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease a large jelly roll pan. Remember how we talked about what a jelly roll pan is last time? Just make sure the sides are at least an inch high!

Place the butter and sugar in your mixer and cream those together.

Sorry the lighting is so bad, I made these at nighttime!

Now add both eggs in and mix until everything is combined. It should look creamy and have a consistent texture. Then add the vanilla and sour cream. Mix until it's all combined.

Whoops...looks like I added a little extra vanilla. Can't hurt anything, right? :)

Nice and creamy.

Now mash up your bananas. I used bananas I had in the freezer and just let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so. They were still a tiny bit frozen, but I went with it and mashed it right up!

Once your bananas are mashed, add them to the batter. Now it's time for the dry ingredients. Add the baking soda, salt and flour. While the mixer was running I added the baking soda and salt, and then while the mixer was still running, I added the flour in small batches. I just used a half cup measure (four times) and slowly added it in.

Y'all know how to measure flour right? You don't pack it in. You get your measuring cup scoop up some flour so it's overflowing.

Then using a knife (or if you're me, your finger!) and scrape the top so it's level.

And there you go! This is important to know when you're baking. Too much or too little flour can totally change the outcome of your recipe!

Okay so all of our ingredients are in the bowl. The batter shouldn't be super thick or super thin. And the bananas don't have to be chunky. The mixer will probably break them up and that's totally fine. Pour the batter into the greased jelly roll pan.

I love how you can see the chunks of bananas!

Bake the cake for 30 minutes, give or take a few minutes. Mine actually took a little less than that. I would keep an eye on it for the last 5-10 minutes and use a toothpick to test it around then. The top will be golden brown and delicious looking!


Unlike the Texas Sheet Cake, you need to let this cake cool completely if you plan on making the cream cheese frosting. If you plan on making the glaze frosting then glaze it while it's still warm.

For the original glaze that my Grandma always uses, it's just a mixture of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. That's it! On her handwritten recipe, there's not even measurements, but I've made this glaze before and I think I kind of know the measurements.

1-3 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 c. powdered sugar

I know, they're not exact. But you'll know when it's too thick or too thin. If it's too thick, add more milk a little at a time. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar. Just play with it until it's the smooth, spreadable consistency you're looking for.

Now! Onto the cream cheese frosting :)

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened (half of a stick)
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 c. powdered sugar

Cream together the cream cheese and butter so it's combined. Add the vanilla. Then slowly add the powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want. Mine was a little thick so I thinned it with a little heavy cream.

This frosting is for people who love cream cheese....like me. And my dad. It's super cream cheesy and delicious on all kinds of things. Carrot cake, red velvet cake, brownies....oh yeah. The list goes on and on!

It took a lot of self-control to keep myself from eating this with a spoon. 

Once your cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting all over the cake. Sprinkle with some chopped pecans if you want!


Really, all you need is a fork and a glass of cold milk. Or just use your hands....wouldn't be the first time someone did that :)

Enjoy y'all!

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