Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Snack Cakes

I am sitting here with crumbs all over my shirt, melted butter dripping down my hands and chin, mouth full...way too full, trying to figure out how to convince you that this HAS to be the most tender, moist, subtly sweet, delicious snack cake I have had...ever...yep...ever.

I just want to start out by saying that I was surprised at how well this came out. Honestly and delightfully surprised, because all I was trying to do when I started out with this recipe was use up three over ripe bananas! I had no idea what was about to happen, I just knew I would rather fling these bananas at random strangers on my cul de sac than turn them into

MORE banana bread. So I went pillaging through some old cook books searching for inspiration. I found it in the form of a pumpkin bar recipe that was certainly more fall friendly, but useless given my abundance of banana.
So I simply swapped out the pumpkin for exactly the same amount of banana and made a few other small tweaks. I was worried it would mess up the texture or the richness that was intended with the 1 cup of oil I left out. But, I guarantee that after you make these peanut butter banana snack cakes you will literally ignore bananas on purpose to have an excuse to bake them again.

Disclaimer: If you're expecting some overly sweet dense gooey snack...keep looking. Because this ain't it. Not that I am judging, I live for those kinds of snacks, this just isn't THAT
What this IS though, is light and airy and fragrant and moist! Did I mention that yet? Too moist and delicious for frosting or chocolate chips (but seriously maybe next time?) because it really is just perfect the way it is, right out of the oven warm and begging for a small or large-ish pat of sweet cream butter. Maybe a tiny drizzle of icing or some strawberry jam if you're into the whole gilding of the Lilly sort of thing.

I adapted this recipe from this Pumpkin Bar recipe from my old Betty Crocker cookbook. I replaced the cup of oil with a cup of all natural unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter and replaced the 2 cups of white sugar with 1/2 a cup of brown sugar (and 2tbsp of white sugar) since I figured the banana's would add more than enough sweetness. Now as of this moment no one else in the house has tried them (Mike is sleeping as he has work early tomorrow, poor sucker!) so speaking from my personal preference, I think this recipe is a great balance of sweetness and savory. However, knowing my husband...the walking sweet tooth, he would prefer (and you might also be inc
lined) to add a full cup of brown sugar. That would certainly work and my husband would love you.

In all honesty, replacing the cup of oil with peanut butter will make you feel all wholesome and healthy so you don't have beat yourself up over adding more sugar and eating 2 or 3 snack cakes while your loving husband snoozes away in the next room.

You're going to need a large baking dish because this makes a LOT of bars. The original recipe says it'll make 39 bars but I can tell you that would yield some TINY cakes. I cut away all willy nilly like and ended up with 28 generous portions. You could also bake these in a muffin tin and I'd imagine you'd be able to get at least 3 dozen large muffins.

3 medium size very ripe bananas (about 14-15oz)
1 cup all natural, sugar free, unsalted peanut butter

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
4 eggs
2 packets instant banana bread
flavored oatmeal (cinnamon flavor would work too)
2 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

In a medium bowl combine flour, instant oat meal,baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In a larger bowl cream together peanut butter, sugars and bananas until fully combined and batter is a pale light brown. Mix in eggs, one at a time then slowly incorporate dry ingredients and pour into a greased 10 by 15 baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes. I feel like mine took exactly 20 minutes but I can't say for sure because I didn't time it... What? You act like baking is an exact science or something, you'll figure it out. I believe in you. Grab a toothpick and do the cake test in the middle trick. If it comes out clean it done. Easy!

OH! And on a side note DO NOT do what I did and cut into these right out of the oven. The cake was way too moist to be hacked into right away. It was pissed, it got all ornery and fell apart on me. So please don't do that. It will be difficult because it smells amazing when they come out of the oven, but the wait is worth it. When they do cool down, DO slap some sweet cream butter on and grab a mug-0-milk and settle in. Then hide the pan till you can safely deliver these addictive little bars to friends and family, they will love you. Promise.