Friday, 30 August 2013

Peanut butter banana bars

If you’re looking for something really quick, simple and tasty, you can’t go far wrong with these. They’re also a great way of using up any old bananas that you know you’re never going to eat but feel too guilty to throw away. You know the type, the ones you glance at one day and think ‘oh, they’re getting a bit brown, better eat them before they’re too far gone’ and before you know it they look like they’ve been brushed with Creosote. Make these yummy bars and you will feel much better about yourself, particularly as – in cake terms, at least – they’re actually sort of good for you. Not as good as the banana on its own would have been, but you can’t have everything, can you?
Another thing I like about these is that they're something a bit different. Peanut butter and banana together might not be to everyone’s tastes, but if you’re new to this particular  combination or unsure whether it's for you then this recipe provides a nice, subtle introduction to the flavours. The bars also have a rather lovely texture, somewhere between a cake and a flapjack, and are substantial without being heavy. We like them a lot in our house!
On a side note, UK readers may have noticed that a lot of the recipes featured here use measuring cups. This is an American thing and, I’ve got to say, whoever thought of measuring butter with a cup needs their head testing. However, converting the measurements into grams etc. is often quite tricky, so I would definitely recommend purchasing a set of measuring cups if you don’t already have one. It opens up a whole new world of baking possibilities, which can only be a good thing! You can pick them up very cheaply – my own set is from a well-known budget shop (*cough*Wilko's*cough*), comes in nice bright colours and only cost me a pound! I was a very happy bunny the day I discovered that particular bargain. It’s the little things in life…

Recipe courtesy of Bake or Break.

1 and a 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but it's down to personal preference)

1. Preheat oven to 175C.
2. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add salt and oats.
3. In a separate bowl beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix well, then add the bananas and peanut butter and mix until just combined.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
5. Spoon into a greased, lined 8x8 inch baking tray and level the top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a pick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
6. Cool in the pan before turning out and cutting into bars (I cut mine into 9 generous servings, but you could easily stretch it to 12 or even 15, as these are great for kids or picnics).

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