Easy Choco-Banana Bars

These super soft, super easy choco-banana bars are insanely delicious! If you love a little chocolate with your banana bread, you’re going to love these!

Lifting piece of choco-banana bars out of pan with small spatula.

Oh man, these divine little banana bars – part chocolate, part not – are amazing. My friend, Teresa (she’s been a MKC reader for years even though we’ve never met in person!), sent me the recipe with rave reviews a few days ago, and I literally think I was pulling the first test batch of these bars out of the oven within an hour of reading her email.

Why do simple, delicious, banana bready recipes that are equal parts snack and dessert speak to my soul like this? 

I’m powerless to resist their charms, and these delightful (and easy!) choco-banana bread bars are a perfect way to use up those bananas ripening for destruction on your counter.

Square of choco-banana bars on white napkin.

The first time I made them (ahem, yes, I’ve made them a couple times in the span of two days or less), they were great! Super tasty!

But I couldn’t help making a few adjustments to make them totally foolproof and perfect. Channeling my love for this favorite-ever buttermilk banana bread (and actually this crazy popular sour cream banana bread also gets points for inspiration), I added buttermilk/sour cream to the recipe and that fairly innocent addition totally amps up the soft, tender texture of these bars. 

Additionally, I threw in more mashed bananas and modified the dry ingredients to account for those two changes. The result? The perfect amount of batter for a 9X13-inch pan (it was too skimpy before, in my opinion), which naturally leads to the most perfect choco-banana bars. 

Square cut out of 9X13 pan of choco-banana bars.

You could get all fancy and swirl the two batters together, but it’s honestly not worth it in my opinion. The layered look is stunning and with the healthy amount of chocolate chips on top, you get chocolate in all the places anyway. 

I’ve made a lot of banana bread-type recipes in my day, and these choco-banana bars have skyrocketed to the top of the favorites list. Quick and easy enough for a snacky snack (maybe even breakfast? throw some whole wheat flour in there and guilt be gone), but delicious and decadent enough to count for dessert, too. 

Love them. Love them. 

One Year Ago: Thick and Creamy Lentil Soup with Lemon {Instant Pot or Stovetop}
Two Years Ago: The Best White Sandwich Bread
Three Years Ago: Soft Baked Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie {Egg-Free}
Four Years Ago: Fudgy Coconut Oil Brownie Bites
Five Years Ago: Incredible Chocolate Pudding {Dairy, Egg and Gluten Free}

Easy Choco-Banana Bars

Yield: 9X13-inch pan of bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Easy Choco-Banana Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces, 8 tablespoons) butter, melted (I use salted butter)
  • 1 cup (7.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or sour cream
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 18 ounces, 4 medium bananas)
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour (see note about using whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (.75 ounces) natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan and set aside. I use a metal baking pan for this recipe; a glass baking pan may require additional baking time.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, buttermilk (or sour cream), and mashed bananas. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until no dry streaks remain (don't overmix).
  3. Scoop half of the batter into a second bowl (about 20-22 ounces of batter if you are weighing your ingredients). Add the cocoa powder to this bowl and mix until evenly combined.
  4. Spread the chocolate batter in the prepared pan. It will be a thin layer but should cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. Dollop the banana bread batter in large spoonfuls over the top and spread in an even layer across the chocolate batter.
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate chips across the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bars are puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs (but not wet batter). The top should spring back lightly to the touch when pressed.

Notes

I think these bars would work quite well with whole wheat flour in place of some of the all-purpose flour. I'd probably start with half all-purpose, half whole wheat (I always suggest using white whole wheat flour for a lighter texture).

Ripe bananas are key for good texture and perfect sweetness! Any green on the banana? It's a no-go. Look for brown spots. 🙂

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Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe my friend (made through blogging), Teresa, sent me from this simple living blog (looks like the recipe is originally by way of Taste of Home) – I altered it to make a bit more batter to easily fill up the pan as well as emulate the tender texture of my favorite buttermilk banana bread recipe