A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Sweet and healthy banana bars

What’s the perfect balance between sweet and healthy? Banana bars. These treats will satisfy your sweet tooth while (sort of) providing you with your daily dose of fruit! These delicious bars take only 15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to bake. Even better, those extra ripe brown speckled bananas that you’ll end up having to throw away are just what is needed for this great recipe!

These bars are perfect for a late night snack or great to take over to a friend’s house. They last through the week if refrigerated and stored properly. These bars are a semi guilt free treat that will make the long week just a bit better!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-3/4 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Baking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in bananas.
Spread into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool.
For frosting, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat in enough confectioners’ sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frost bars. Store in the refrigerator. Makes: 3-4 dozen.