Speckled Monkey Bars

Bananas have always been a staple ingredient for lunch bags/boxes in our household. When selecting fruit to add to my weekly shopping list, bananas always take center stage. I often choose far more than needed for a week’s worth of lunches as I love having a few extra over-ripe bananas to add to tasty quick bread and snack recipes, such as this one. These delicious bars have few ingredients and highlight some of my family’s favorite flavors. My three (not so) little monkeys have enjoyed these flavors for many years.

Speckled Money Bars

4 medium (over-ripe) bananas, mashed

2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13×9” baking pan.

Mix bananas with oats and peanut butter; add vanilla and continue to mix until well blended. Carefully, spread the mixture in prepared pan making sure to evenly distribute to the corners. Top with chocolate chips and walnuts. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool before cutting into delicious squares. Wrap individually for a lunch bag treat or store in an airtight container.

Note: Lately, I’ve been using the Copper Chef brownie pan to make perfect portions while baking. Depending on your oven, you may have to reduce cooking time when using this pan. Cool completely before removing insert.

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Unbelievably Moist Banana Snack Cake

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Well, the weather outside has quickly turned from a mild Autumn of wind and rain to a wintery mix of cold and snow…I fear that our Midwest winter weather is here to stay for a while.
This recipe is perfect for a cold and dreary day indoors while the snow falls outside. I love to brew a cup of English tea and slice up this moist and flavorful cake. I am always amazed that mixing this simple list of ingredients together can produce such a delicious treat. By the way, this is a another great cake to pack in the lunchbox.

Unbelievably Moist Banana Snack Cake

1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, combine flour and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk brown sugar, water, banana, oil, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients, just until moistened. Transfer to greased 8″ square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Easy Banana Crumb Cake

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Well, it’s back to school for my high school kids this week and I am baking
packable lunch items for the start of the school year. I spied a few overly ripe bananas on the kitchen counter last night so I searched my old recipe folder for a banana recipe that would be suitable for lunch box storage. I used to make this cake all the time but it seems other recipes have become favorites and this one was moved to the back of the folder. I seriously can’t figure out why…this is a great moist, sweet, crumbly cake that is really easy to assemble quickly. Once again, I am using a cake mix to reduce time while adding flavor.

Easy Banana Crumb Cake

1 package white cake mix
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 medium ripe bananas
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped pecans

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed and cold
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with cooking spray a 13×9″ baking pan. Place first seven ingredients in a large bowl. Beat well. Pour into prepared pan. In a medium bowl, combine topping ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.

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Our Best Banana Nut Bread

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I have several recipes for banana bread in my stash of cookbooks and various magazine clippings but this is my family’s favorite. Adding wheat germ, nuts, and a few over-ripe bananas makes this quick bread loaf moist and flavorful. I often throw sweet, over-ripe bananas in the freezer so that I will have them on hand when I want to make a quick loaf. I thaw them on the counter or defrost them briefly in the microwave before mashing them into the batter. For an added health benefit, I add wheat germ to the recipe, giving a bit of crunch to the top of the loaf.

Our Best Banana Nut Bread Recipe

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine, softened
2 eggs
3-4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup water
1 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup wheat germ

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x5x3″ loaf pan. In a large bowl, cream sugar and margarine; stir in eggs until blended. Add bananas and water; mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients except wheat germ and mix just until moistened. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle batter with wheat germ; gently press into the batter. Bake loaf for 55-60 minutes; cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Place on wire rack to continue cooling.