recipe image

Black-Bottom Banana Dream Bars

Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time
    45 minutes
  • Cook time
    45 minutes
  • Makes
    16 bars
Author Notes

Dream bars are the less­ layered ancestor of the seven-­layer or magic bar. Here, I riffed on the Coconut Dream Squares from Baker’s Chocolate and Coconut Favorites (1962), replacing the short­bread crust with a chocolate cookie crumb one and adding a bit of salt (like so many of the vintage recipes revamped here, the original called for none), diced banana, just a few mini chocolate chips (because . . . chocolate), and deeply toasted walnuts for good measure. The result is an awfully dreamy twenty­ first ­century bar, with a deliciously sticky and chewy topping.

—Jessie Sheehan

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

  • For the black-bottom crust:

  • 9 ounces

    [255 g] crisp chocolate wafer cookies

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 7 tablespoons

    [105 g] unsalted butter, melted

  • For the topping:

  • 2


  • 2 teaspoons

    pure vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup

    [150 g] packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    [30 g] cake flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    table salt

  • 1 cup

    [120 g] walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

  • 1 cup

    [60 g] sweetened shredded coconut

  • 1 cup

    [130 g] chopped ripe bananas

  • 1/4 cup

    [45 g] mini semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Grease a 9-in-by-9-in [23-cm-by-23-cm] pan with nonstick cooking spray or softened butter. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and up two sides, grease the paper, and set aside.
  2. For the crust, place the wafers and granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until finely ground. Add the melted butter and process until combined, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula, if needed. Transfer the crumbs to the prepared pan and, using your fingers, press them evenly on the bottom of the pan. Freeze for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days, tightly covered in plastic wrap.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C].
  4. Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until it is dry to the touch and slightly puffy. Let cool completely.
  5. For the topping In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and vanilla on medium-high speed until quite frothy, at least 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar and beat again for 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a wire mesh sieve, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over the bowl. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet with a rubber spatula. Gently fold in the walnuts, coconut, bananas, and chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the topping over the crust and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until the top is nicely browned, looks set, and is no longer wet.
  7. Let the bars come to room temperature and refrigerate until cold (this will make slicing the bars easier). Serve cold or at room temperature. The bars will keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

Bio: Jessie Sheehan is the author of The Vintage Baker and Icebox Cakes. Her new easy-peasy baking book, Snackable Bakes, hits shelves in spring 2022. She contributes to the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Food Network, and the Kitchn, among others.

Read More