Whiskey Caramel Banana Bars

Over-ripe BANANAS!  A gift from the dessert heavens!

Do you need to find a recipe for those bananas that have been sitting on your counter too long?  You've come to the right place.  I can't even remember the last time I ate a banana when it wasn't baked into something.  That could be abnormal, eh...possibly unhealthy.

Okay, so let's agree, eat one banana, then bake the rest!

Whiskey Caramel Banana Bars
adapted from Une Gamine Dans la Cuisine

-1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
-3 c. graham cracker crumbs
-1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. cardamom (can be replaced with cinnamon)

-3/4 c. unsalted butter, browned
-3 ripe bananas, mashed
-2 eggs, room temperature
-1 1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
-1 Tbsp. whiskey (I used Maker's Mark)
-1 c. flour
-1/2 tsp. salt

-1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 Tbsp. whiskey
-2 Tbsp. milk

-Salted Caramel Sauce for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper and coat evenly with non-stick cooking spray.  Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl and stir until mixture resembles wet sand.  Spread crust mixture evenly into prepared pan and press down firmly.  Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.

Turn oven off.  Brown your butter by placing the 3/4 c. butter in a light bottom pan over medium heat.  Butter will melt and start to foam.  Watch butter carefully and start stirring because the butter will start to brown and give off a "nutty" aroma.  Once the butter is a nice dark brown, remove from heat and pour butter into bowl.  Let cool (this can be sped up in the fridge).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, whisk mashed bananas, (cooled) browned butter, eggs, brown sugar, and whiskey.  Add the flour and salt and fold into the batter until combined-no large lumps of flour.  Pour banana mix over graham cracker crust and spread evenly.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from oven and let bars cool on a rack.

In a bowl, add powdered sugar and salt.  Whisk in whiskey, and then slowly whisk in milk until you get your desired pouring consistency.  Add more or less whiskey/milk depending on how strong you want the whiskey flavor.  Pour over your bars and spread around evenly.  Drizzle desired amount of salted caramel sauce over the top.  I use Trader Joe's salted caramel sauce, you can find your own, or make your own!

Cut and enjoy!

I would like to make these having brown butter in the crust as well, but I didn't have time for that when I made them the first time around.  The banana part is almost cake-like and has that nice crust for  contrasting texture.  The glaze adds a nice sweetness but carries a lot of the whiskey flavor.  I thought the bars had a subtle spicy finish from the whiskey and cardamom.

Other banana recipes of mine to enjoy:
~Kicked-Up Banana Muffins
~Chocolate Covered Banana Whoopie Pies


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