Banana-nut muffins and banana bread are my usual standbys when I want to use up overly ripe bananas. Banana bars studded with chocolate chips might be my new go-to.
Not only did these bars let me use up my bananas, but they also gave me another chance to bake with spelt flour. Spelt is a distant relative of present-day wheat and can be used in most recipes calling for wheat flour, especially quick breads.
I had no trouble finding spelt flour and purchased Bob’s Red Mill brand at my local Earth Fare. The store carried a few other brands of packaged spelt flour and also sold it to measure in the bulk section.
The original recipe, banana chocolate-chip squares, called for topping the banana bars with one cup of chocolate chips and one cup of walnuts. I made the bars a slightly different way and topped them with one cup of chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips, and 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips.
I also experimented by topping half of the banana squares with chocolate. After the squares cooled, I melted three ounces of chocolate with two tablespoons of butter and poured the mixture over the top of the cooled banana bars.
I shared my banana bars with co-workers who deemed the recipe a keeper. One friend suggested the banana bars could be improved if baked a crisp crust on top. I agreed a bite of crunch would provide a nice balance to the very tender banana bars, but we could not figure out exactly how to accomplish this. As for the verdict on the chip-studded versus the chocolate-topped bars, the split was 50-50. Enjoy!
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter
- ¼ cups light or dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 overly ripe bananas)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1¾ cups spelt flour
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Optional Ingredients
- ½ cup white chocolate chips
- ½ cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup walnuts
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Beat in the banana, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- Add the egg and continue to mix while sprinkling in the cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
- Add the spelt flour and mix until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan.
- Sprinkle the desired mix of chips and nuts on top.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes until the center is firm.
- If at all possible, allow to rest overnight before cutting and enjoying.