Back in April, the wonderful Melissa Clark tried to make brownies into a vehicle for her ready-to-go bananas. After 6 failed batches, she couldn't get the results to taste chocolaty enough. Sometimes, a brownie just wants to be a brownie.
So she kept the chocolate for the bottom, and folded her mushy bananas into rum-scented blondies. Brilliant, I say.
Let's break it down: we've got a crumbly, crunchy chocolate cookie crust (ground chocolate cookies and butter - nothing bad there). Poured overtop is a batter that's the beautiful lovechild of blondies and brown-butter banana bread. Come again? Blondies, and brown-butter banana bread. You can imagine why I had no choice but to make these.
Here's the truth about something as intensely rich as these blondies: not everyone found them irresistible. D, in particular, thought they were too much of a good thing. Or too many different good things. Or something. I say, bupkis. They're a total winner in my book.
A person can only eat so much banana bread. Banana pancakes are a great alternative, but you know what? Sometimes you gotta treat yourself. That's what these are for.
Chocolate-Crusted Banana BlondiesAdapted slightly from Melissa Clark at the New York Times
A glutton for excess, I swapped the walnuts out for chocolate chips. Yea, I did.
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/4 cups), plus more for greasing pan 3 cups of chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (from about 200 grams chocolate wafer cookies) 1/4 cup light brown sugar (about 55 grams) 1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch fine sea salt 2 ripe bananas, mashed 2 large eggs 2 1/2 cups dark brown sugar (about 455 grams) 2 tablespoons dark rum or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 130 grams) 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (about 80 grams) Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment, and grease with butter.
Melt 1 stick of butter in a saucepan over low heat or in microwave. Put the chocolate wafer cookies in the bowl of a food processor and process to make fine crumbs. Add the light brown sugar, melted butter and a pinch of salt. Process until the mixture is the consistency of damp sand. Dump the mixture into the pan and press it into an even layer. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the surface is firm. Remove the pan and set aside.
Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 12 tablespoons butter, then let it cook until the foam subsides and butter turns a deep nut brown, about 5 minutes. Cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together bananas, eggs, dark brown sugar and rum. Whisk in brown butter. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and fine salt. Fold into batter along with the toasted walnuts. Pour the mixture over the prepared crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle top with flaky salt if using.
Transfer pan to oven and bake until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges with a few crumbs attached (or clean) but not wet, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack; cut into 24 bars.