Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Bittah Bettah Buttah

How can I possibly describe these things? I mean, really... just saying that they're "Black Bottomed Banana Bars" would be doing the whole shebang a major disservice. They are so much more than that - and as anyone who's ever indulged in a peanut butter, Nutella and banana sandwich knows (what... that's just me? You HAVE to try it!), somewhere in that simple marriage of ingredients a spark of magic happens. The ingredients no longer define themselves as parts of a whole. They are the whole. When the balance of each element is spot-on, not the hardest thing in the world mind you, bitter, salt, sweet and creamy notes hit your tongue at exactly the same time, and it can blow you away. Trust me.

Oddly enough, even though I do have the original source of the recipe I worked off of (a Taste of Home magazine published in April / May 1994), I have no idea as to what sparked me to look it up in my ancient cache of magazine clippings. I know I'd spotted it on a few blogs, and probably have an electronic copy saved somewhere now, but regardless I've made a few changes to the original. For one, I halved the recipe. Anyone who knows this household knows we have a bit of a penchant for chocolate, peanut butter and bananas. The second thing I did was decrease the sugar a tad... nothing new in this kitchen. The last thing was the kicker - and I swear what sealed the fate of these bars forever. I added  a little bit of a bettah buttah. Yes... smooth, unctuous peanut butter got to play the game, in more ways than one! I chopped up some peanuts for the "blonde" top layer too, finally crowning the whole pan off with a mess of the best legal crack (IMHO) there is - diced, miniature peanut butter cups. The cups made the top of the bars look like the surface of the moon before they baked, like skyscrapers poking up from and into the raw dough.

But after? Well, all I can say is, look. And drool. Because every time you bite into one of those little craters of molten, peanutty decadence, it's like you're discovering a motherlode of diamonds. Over and over again.

Bettah Buttah Banana Bars
Serves 12
3 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 large, over-ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
10 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease an 8" square pan.
  2. In a bowl, beat butter, peanut butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla and bananas, beating well.
  4. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture, blending gently but thoroughly.
  5. Divide batter in half.
  6. To one portion of dough, add cocoa and stir in thoroughly.
  7. To the other portion of dough, fold in chopped peanuts.
  8. Spread chocolate batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with peanut batter and sprinkle with peanut butter cups.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  10. Cool completely in the pan before cutting.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 171.8
Total Fat: 8.0 g
Cholesterol: 8.1 mg
Sodium: 33.3 mg
Total Carbs: 24.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
Protein: 3.8 g


  1. I definitely agree that mini peanut butter cups are like legal crack. I love the mini's the best...I think because they are usually wrapped individually they keep fresh longer and the chocolate to peanut butter ratio is....have I put too much thought into this? LOL

    We'd love to get some more of your recipes on our Redpath fan page and also have a nifty truck to come to events and hand out free cookies so if there's anything happening in Oshawa give us a shout!


Thanks for the feedback!