Sweet, Sticky Banana Heaven: Chocolate-Crusted Banana Blondies

I've had Melissa Clark's Chocolate-Crusted Banana Blondies on my to-bake list for a long time. But it seemed that every time I had some ripe bananas on hand, I was missing the other key ingredient for the bars -- chocolate wafer cookies. I used to always make my own chocolate cookies whenever a recipe called for chocolate cookie crumbs. But after making a couple of desserts for last year's holiday party where crusts made from homemade cookies yielded suboptimal results, I've started keeping Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers in the house, and using them for projects like the Classic Diner-Style Chocolate Pie from and Peanut Butter Pie with Cookie Crust from Baked: New Frontiers.

If you're using store-bought chocolate wafers, this recipe comes together quickly. To make the crust, you grind the chocolate cookies into crumbs in a food processor, and add brown sugar, melted butter, and salt. You press the mixture into a parchment-lined 9-in by 13-inch pan and bake the crust until firm.

For the banana blondie portion of the recipe, you whisk together mashed bananas (I used two average-sized bananas, which had a total weight of 220 grams), eggs, dark brown sugar, and vanilla (or you can use rum instead of the vanilla); mix in browned butter; and fold in flour, chopped walnuts, and salt. You pour the banana batter over the partially-cooked crust, sprinkle on some flaky salt, and bake the bars until firm.
I liked the way the finished bars looked with the three distinct colors of the chocolate crust, yellow blondie, and dark golden brown top. The crust held together well and was not crumbly or too firm. And these bars were amazing. The blondie had a intense caramel-banana flavor and an immensely satisfying rich, chewy, sticky texture that was a fantastic contrast with the crisp crust. The banana portion of the bars would have delicious even on its own, but the pairing with the chocolate crust really takes these bars over the top.

These blondies do an amazing job of showcasing the sweet flavor of bananas and I could eat a pan of them. They are simple bars, but one of the best-tasting banana desserts I've ever had.

Recipe: "Chocolate-Crusted Banana Blondies" by Melissa Clark, printed in The New York Times.

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DB Lowe said…
These look delicious! I went to the recipe on NYT and there are quite a few comments about cutting back the butter and sugar. What do you think?
I read those comments too and ignored them. There's a stick of butter in the crust and a stick in a half in the batter, which I don't think is that much overall for a dessert baked in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. There is a lot of sugar in the recipe, but I didn't think the bars were too sweet, and I suspect the sugar also contributes significantly to the sticky texture I loved so much. So I think you could cut back on either or both if you want to try to be virtuous -- but I also don't think there is anything wrong with the recipe exactly as written.
DB Lowe said…
Followed your lead, did not cut down the butter or the sugar. Turned out great. I am more of a cakey brownie person but it was a definite hit with friends! Thanks!