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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blueberry Banana Brandy Bars (B4s)

The brandy give these "brown bag" bars a little kick and depth of flavor often missing from some banana cakes.  And, I knew that blueberry and brandy would be a great pairing.  Super easy and a great way to use up those ripe banana sitting on your counter! 

So, funnily, I was watching ~briefly~ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night, and just so happened to stumble into the part of the movie where Violet Beauregarde eats the complete dinner gum, replete with blueberry pie.  Before Willie could convince Violet not to sample and even spit out the gum before dessert, she enjoyed her meal only to find as she started "chewing" on dessert that she was becoming a blueberry!  Remember Violet (from the original movie)? 

Violet sure learned her lesson...This is the part when the Umpa Lumpas show up to roll her away.  I never liked Violet...Just too bossy!  And, I will admit, I turned off this Johnny Depp version of the movie almost immediately after the start of the Umpa Lumpa disco scene...I mean, really? 

OK, back to my B4 bars...I found this recipe in my King Arthur baking book, under "Brown Bag Banana Bars."  The name does not do these "cake" bars justice.  Packed with poppy seeds and with a texture that has a nice "crunch" from the cornmeal.  I added blueberries, which were in the fridge, for a fresh and bright addition.

Easy to make, moist and full of banana and blueberry flavors: one of my favorite combinations.  And, the brandy gives them a nice smooth flavor...


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Combine the blueberries and sugar, dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls.
Cream the butter, sugar and egg for 2 minutes on medium.
Add the vanilla, bananas and brandy.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low just to combine.
Finish by hand.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly to sides.
Sprinkle the blueberries and sugar over the batter.
Bake as directed.  Remove to the wire rack and cool completely before cutting.
Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if your heart so desires...Mine did!

Pretty and plump with blueberries...Had to give you the bursting blueberry shot!
I think Violet might have liked these a whole lot better!

Blueberry Banana Brandy Bars (B4s)
Adapted from King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook for Brown Bag Banana Bars

1 1/3 cup blueberries + 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (coarse mash/about 3 medium)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup brandy
1 1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat (or use 1 3/4 cup AP flour, I did)
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Grease (or use cooking spray) a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Set aside.
3. Combine the blueberries and sugar in a small bowl.  Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mash the bananas in a small bowl and add in the vanilla and brandy.  Set aside.
4. Cream the butter, sugar and egg for 2 minutes on medium.  Add the banana mixture.  Mix until just combined.
5. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Mix on low just to combine.  Finish by hand.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly to sides.
7. Sprinkle the blueberries and sugar over the batter.
8. Bake for 35-30 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
9. Remove to the wire rack and cool completely before cutting.
10. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.


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  1. A grown-up blueberry bar--I'll take one with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, please! What a clever name and recipe, XOXO Me

  2. I love these! Blueberry and banana, and brandy? YUM. I have never seen the Johnny Depp version, the original was awesome!


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