a mediocre food photo because while i may be able to pretend to be a food blogger, i can not fake food photography. this  photo serves as proof of my success; nothing more, nothing less.
one of my favorite desserts at my university's dining hall (it ranks up there with the fruit pizza and ice cream sundae wednesdae bar) is the banana bars with cream cheese frosting. i am generally repulsed by bananas and anything and everything made with banana flavoring, but for banana bars, i'll make an exception.

over the weekend, i was inspired by a pair of overripe bananas that i noticed lying on the kitchen counter to attempt to recreate those banana bars that my tastebuds have fallen so madly in love with. i'm so pleased, they turned out perfectly - so moist, rich, sweet, and creamy. the only problem is that the huge pan of them stares me in the face, ever-so-temptingly calling out to me every time i step foot in the kitchen, and so of course i've had a bar with every one of my last seven meals and for a snack in-between. i should probably take and share some with my coworkers and friends just to get them out of my sight. :) but i'm greedy and selfish! GIVE ME ALL THE BANANA BARS. NOM NOM.

i feel like a bit of a poser for posting a recipe on a very not recipe-oriented blog, but i figure, who would really argue against it? there's never a wrong time or place to talk food. trust me, i'm doing you a favor here! write this one down:

for the banana bars                               for the cream cheese frosting: 
2 c. all-purpose flour                             8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. baking soda                                    1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 tsp. salt                                                2 c. sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened                           1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. white sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (totally smooth or a little chunky - your choice)

preheat oven to 350* F. grease the bottom and sides of a 15 x 10 inch metal jelly roll baking pan. in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy for about three minutes. beat in the eggs one at a time and then stir in sour cream and vanilla extract by hand with a spatula. add flour mixture and mix until just combined. fold in the mashed banana. transfer the batter to the greased pan and smooth the top. bake for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. (mine took 23 minutes). let pan cool completely.

to make the frosting: 
in a large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and butter together until smooth. add the powdered sugar (i neglected sifting and it turned out fine). mix on low until combined. add the vanilla and mix again. spread carefully and evenly onto cooled banana bars.

> the original recipe called for 1 tsp. banana extract to be added to the bars, but i chose to leave that out (see above: banana-flavoring repulsion) and felt that the bars ended up plenty banana-y and flavorful. it's completely personal preference!

and that's it! pretty easy, huh? and totally worth it.

this recipe originated here and was tweaked to my liking

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