Peanut Butter Banana Bread Brownies

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An easy recipe for dessert bars with the taste of banana bread & the fudgy texture of brownies. Sweet, skinny & seriously addictive!

 

 

Twice every week, I toss my reusable grocery totes into my car and drive across town to Trader Joe’s. After easing into a shady parking spot and grabbing a red shopping basket, I always head straight for the banana bin.

 

I spend at least two full minutes gently pawing through the fruit (yes, that long… and usually more than that!), searching for the biggest ones with the perfect shades of peel. Because I eat one every morning as part of breakfast, I always need a variety of colors. No use in buying a huge bunch that all ripen at the same time!  

 

 

I snatch up a few bright yellow ones first, sweetly ripe and ready to peel, before looking for two or three with a faint greenish hue that will turn yellow in a couple of days. Finally, I finish with the lime green ones that require a week to ripen. Although I look hilarious circling the bin multiple times, almost like a lion stalking its prey, that method works like a charm!

 

 

Well… Except for the times where I get greedy and pick out an extra. At home, it turns spotty before I can finish the rest, so I normally bake a batch of banana bread or muffins and freeze half to nibble on later.

 

But this time, with our moving date rapidly approaching and our freezer off-limits, in desperate need of cleaning out (why do I hoard so many ice cream flavors??), I had to come up with something else: a treat slightly easier to give away than half a loaf of bread. After a little bit of thinking and a whole lot of indecision, I finally settled on a new dessert to try.

 

 

Barely half an hour later, I pulled these Peanut Butter Banana Bread Brownies out of the oven. With the fruity flavor of banana bread, the fudgy texture of brownies, and a ton of peanut butter drizzled on top, these sweet bars taste like pure comfort food. It can be our little secret that they’re skinny, vegan, and actually clean-eating!

 

 

These fun brownies are so simple to make, and you only need a few dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt. We’ll add very little of the latter two. With such a small amount of baking powder, the bars barely rise, which results in the same fudgy texture as brownies. Yum!

 

After so many successful recipes in the past month—like brownies, muffins, and cake—I really wanted to keep going with my trend of gluten-free baked goodies. I created my own gluten-free flour blend for these with millet, brown rice, tapioca, and coconut flours, and the bars ended up with a silky smooth texture and flavor. But as always, whole wheat flour works too!

 

 

We’ll skip the egg in these healthy banana brownies and add extra mashed banana instead. (Yes, that means they’re actually vegan!) The extra mashed banana helps bind the bars together like the protein in eggs and gives them a bright natural flavor. With just a hint of additional sweetness from Stevia, these treats are seriously fruity and irresistible!

 

 

For the swirls on top, add a few tablespoons of peanut butter to a zip-topped bag, and heat that in the microwave for a few seconds. We just want it warm enough to pipe—not completely melted! Squeeze out the peanut butter into straight lines over the brownie batter, and carefully drag a toothpick through in perpendicular lines to achieve those fancy-looking “V” shapes.

 

Like regular brownies, we’ll bake these low and slow so the center cooks through without the edges turning crispy. Cool them all the way to room temperature in the pan, and let them set for as long as possible. I know it’s tempting to dig right in, but allowing them to rest longer really helps achieve the fudgiest texture possible—just like with my most popular brownie recipe!

 

 

After nearly consuming half the pan by myself in barely 24 hours, I sent off the rest of these Peanut Butter Banana Bread Brownies to my adorable little neighbors. I needed to focus on packing—not running a million extra miles to burn all of these off! The kids’ eyes lit up, and they immediately turned to their parents to ask if they could try one after dinner.

 

“They’re from Amy, so they’re healthy!” was their rationale.

 

Oops!

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies

Serving Size: 1 brownie

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Brownies

These sweet dessert bars taste like banana bread but have the fudgy texture of brownies—a fun & irresistible combination! Topped with a creamy peanut butter drizzle, they’re bound to disappear in seconds. Store any leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for 2 days, or refrigerate for up to 6 days.

1 ½ c whole wheat or gluten-free* flour (measured correctly)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 ¼ c mashed banana (about 2 large)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 tsp Stevia*
2 tbsp nonfat or rice milk
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F, and lightly coat a 9”-square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut oil, banana, and vanilla. Stir in the Stevia. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour, and stirring just until incorporated.
  3. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Add the peanut butter to a zip-topped bag, seal, and microwave on HIGH for 5-10 seconds, or until warm and slightly melted. Cut off one corner, and pipe in straight lines on top of the batter. Drag a toothpick through in perpendicular lines to achieve the “V” effect.
  4. Bake the brownies at 300°F for 19-22 minutes. Cool completely in the pan, and let the brownies rest for at least 2 hours at room temperature (or overnight, for the fudgiest texture) before slicing into squares.

Notes: For the gluten-free flour, I created my own blend using the following: ¾ cup millet flour, ¼ cup brown rice flour, ¼ cup tapioca flour, 4 teaspoons coconut flour, 1 ¼ teaspoons xanthan gum.

Melted unsalted butter or margarine may be substituted in place of the coconut oil.

Feel free to use your favorite regular or no-calorie sweetener in place of the Stevia. You’ll need the equivalent of ¼ cup of granulated sugar.

Any milk (cow’s, soy, almond, coconut, etc.) may be substituted in place of the nonfat or rice milk.

© Amys Healthy Baking. Recipe and all images protected. Please obtain my written permission before using images. If republishing this recipe, please rewrite it in your own words or link back to this post.
http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2014/08/16/peanut-butter-banana-bread-brownies/

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*Disclosure: Some of the links included in this post may be affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. I really appreciate your support!



Comments

  1. Sharon says on August 17, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Would it be okay to substitute Nutella for the peanut butter? I recently tried it and love it. I will make it with regular peanut butter first., though.

    • Amy says on August 17, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Of course Sharon!! No need to try the PB version first if you already know you love Nutella. I wish I had thought of that — it’s totally brilliant! Definitely going to do the same for my next batch. :)

  2. Marsha says on August 17, 2014 at 11:38 am

    You say “whole wheat flour OR gluten free”… if there is an option not to use gluten-free, then it’s NOT a totally gluten-free recipe? Also, I just read some reviews on rice milk.. namely Rice Dream. They use a barley-based enzyme, so technically it’s not completely gluten-free. :( They don’t list it on their ingredients, but I found the info on celiac.com. I just started eating gluten-free and it’s not so easy. Help or suggestions please! I have some ripe bananas and want to try your recipe! Thank you!

    • Amy says on August 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Marsha, I included the option for whole wheat or gluten free flour (no need to try both!) because they both work equally well and most of my readers do not follow a GF diet. I included the exact GF flour blend I used in the Notes section beneath the recipe, as well as other milk options. Feel free to use whatever works best for you and your GF diet! :)

  3. Kimberly says on August 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Amy,
    These look amazing! My husband actually shared them on Facebook to my surprise (he’s a traditional brownie guy, all the way)! I’m in the kitchen now making them and I was wondering if the 2 Tbsp of milk was a typo. I tried it like that and the batter was too stiff to stir. I ended up adding about a cup of milk to get the consistency more brownie batter like. Also, I have liquid stevia and added only one teaspoon because it is super strong (one drop = 1 tsp sugar). Any help would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and I love trying your recipes! There are many that have become favorites around here. :) Thank you for all your hard work to bring delicious and nutritious recipes to the world. :)

    • Amy says on August 17, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Thank you for your sweet comment Kimberly! I’m so touched that even your husband wanted to try them. I’m a traditional chocolate brownie person too, so I really appreciate what that means! :) Using liquid Stevia would definitely have an effect on the consistency because that’s less liquid. Also, did you measure a full 1 + ¼ cups of mashed banana? That’s where the majority of the liquid comes from, rather than the milk. Hopefully we can get this sorted out, and I appreciate you writing me to let me know!

  4. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says on August 17, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Digging for the perfect shades, yes that. Why are they all green? What if I need a banana TOMORROW? Or they’re all the same green, which means they’ll rot all on the same day. The perfect way to use them – these. Love!

    • Amy says on August 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Seriously… It’s annoying to plan banana recipes 6+ days in advance so they turn spotty when you need them! I think Averie had the perfect idea with her 6-banana banana bread. That’s the only (sane) way to get out of the “same green” problem! ;)

  5. Noelle says on August 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Mmm banana, brownie, and clean?! Count me in! I just made these tonight and they are super tasty. I’m sure tomorrow they’ll be even chewier! I used 1/4 c. agave instead of Stevia and that worked just fine for me. Can’t wait to bring some to work ttomorrow! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Amy says on August 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Aww you’re so sweet — I’m really happy you enjoyed the brownies Noelle! You’re so generous to share them with your coworkers. I hope they like them too! :)

  6. Kyla @ Two Cups Cacao says on August 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Honestly, I have the exact same process for bananas. It’s always hard to find the yellow ones, and whenever I do, they’re always bruised. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and find a perfect yellow winner immediately, but very rarely. And these brownies, wow! I’m a big fan of brownies, banana bread, and peanut butter, so I definitely want to make these. Unfortunately, I’m out of bananas, but I’ll undoubtedly be getting some soon. Do you think I could use powdered peanut butter (mixed with water)? Thanks!

    • Amy says on August 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      SO true about the yellow ones being bruised! I actually found 3 perfectly golden ones yesterday without a single spot, and I nearly dropped my basket and did a happy dance. Thank goodness there were so few people in the store so nobody would’ve seen me! ;) I’m fairly certain that powdered PB + water would work. Just make sure to add enough so it’s easy to pipe, and you’ll be fine. I hope you enjoy them Kyla!

  7. Putry says on September 6, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Hi Amy

    I have never tried any gluten free and am impressed with this simple yet healthy dessert bars.
    I noticed an ingredient, stevia, can it be substitute with something else as I’m not sure if I can easily get it here.
    Thanks! Cheers!

    • Amy says on September 6, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Putry! Stevia is a natural no-calorie sweetener, and I already included a suggestion for substitutions in the Notes section beneath the recipe. If you try them, I really hope you enjoy them! :)

  8. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar says on October 3, 2014 at 5:33 am

    I am loving these! First, I LOVE banana! But also that they look so dense and brownie like, instead of cake-like. I have to make them! The hubs would gobble them up! And can you believe I’ve never been to trader joes? It’s a hike for me and it’s been on my list forever, but I’ve yet to do it. Sadness.

    • Amy says on October 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      Thank you Lindsay! I’m all about the fudgy brownie texture. ;) I hope you’re able to make it to TJ’s someday! We had one in my hometown, but when I moved to college, the closest one way 30-40 minutes away. Because I LOVED their granola and ate it every day, I’d make the trek out about once a month and buy out their entire inventory. The cashiers always looked at me a little funny when I showed up with 10 boxes of cereal and nothing else!

  9. yasira says on October 20, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Hi!! I LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE ALL YOUR RECIPES! I wanna make these today, I was wondering if I could use almond milk?

    • Amy says on October 20, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Thanks Yasira! Almond milk is perfectly fine for this recipe. I’d love to hear what you think, and I really hope you enjoy them! :)

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