Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brown Sugar Banana Apple Monkey Bars

Whew. That's a mouthful of a name!

Brown Sugar Banana Apple Monkey BarsBecause our house has recently reached heatstroke inducing levels, I've shied away from the oven for the past week or so. Cooking has also been a chore. Last night, it got so hot in the kitchen I had to shower after making dinner. I don't know how chefs do it. What if I were a TV chef and after every take they had to towel me off? I'm sure I'd be canceled in no time. The last thing anyone needs to see is a sweaty chef.

Monkey BarsThankfully, its finally cooled off a bit, so in a fit of baking withdrawal I instantly consulted my ever burgeoning recipe collection to find something that didn't require a lot of baking time. Monkey bars? What are those? Good question. It seems that monkey bars are a cross between a banana cake and a banana bar. Not as fluffy as a cake, but not as dense as a typical bar. They're also part dessert, part snack, maybe even part breakfast. Are the monkeys suffering from an identity crisis?
Monkey Bars
I combined a few recipes to result in a light cake-type treat that is full on brown sugar sweetness accented by cinnamon, caramelized apples, rum soaked raisins and ripe bananas. Applesauce and yogurt provide moisture to lower the amount of fat used. Finally, a dusting of powdered sugar provides the final touch. These were delicious and very light. So light, that it's hard to eat just one!

Since I technically used 3 fruits here (bananas, apples, raisins) I'm submitting this recipe to Cate from Sweetnicks ARF/ 5-a-day Tuesday roundup.

Brown Sugar Banana Apple Monkey Bars
Adapted from Cooking Light

1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 tablespoons banana rum (can substitute with dark rum or apple juice)
1/2 large apple, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon brown sugar
pat of butter

batter recipe:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 medium bananas, mashed ripe
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine the raisins and rum in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high for 1 minute, and set aside to cool.

In a small nonstick saucepan, melt a pat of butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and allow to heat for 2 minutes or until bubbling. Add apples and saute until golden brown and tender, about 4 minutes. Add apples to raisins and allow to cool.

Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Set aside.

Combine 3/4 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add banana, yogurt, vanilla, egg whites and applesauce, beating well. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in raisin apple mixture.

Spread the batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool the bars completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar once cool.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Yeah, with the heat rising, the desire to bake definitely lowers - but I'm glad to see that you made those delectable bars!! Yum!!

La Bella Cooks said...

These monkey bars look delicious. I love those treats that can easily fit into any meal of the day, but I prefer lying to myself that I am having healthy cake for breakfast.

RecipeGirl said...

Three fruits = healthy, right? These sound like some pretty good bars. I just returned from vacation, so I missed the heat! Now we get rain :(

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! So simple, yet so inviting.

Leslie said...

I love anything Banana! This sucked me right in.Also thank you for stopping by my blog..come back any time!

Anonymous said...

Oh yummy..sounds like health food to me! Yum.

Anonymous said...

Yum! Those sound great!! They've got everything going for them -- banana plus chocolate and a little fruit here and there. I'm going to have to try these soon.

Prudy said...

Cute blog and lovely looking bars. I found my way here from Leelou. I;ll be back!

test it comm said...

These look and sound so good! They look nice and light and moist.

Sharon said...

Thanks all for the comments. If you're on the fence about making these, jump off! :) They're so good that 24 hours later, the pan is gone. Yes, embarrassingly the hubby & I polished it off already.

veggiegirl - I think I cursed myself...the heat is gone. It's been cloudy ever since!

bridgett - I fool myself into thinking their a fruit bar and thus not a dessert at all!

recipegirl - my thoughts exactly. I'm getting my daily serving of fruits! Oh, and yes the weather isn't so hot anymore :(

romina - thanks for visiting! They're quite simple to make so I'm sure this will be a repeat.

Leslie - I'm the same way. I used to have a banana addiction. Not joking.

noblepig - health food in disguise!

Anna - I'd love if you tried them! I think you could do a lot of different variations - pb chips instead of raisins...?

Prudy - Thanks! I hope you visit again!

Kevin - they're very moist. I couldn't tell you their shelf life since they're all gone :)

Antonio Tahhan said...

I'm glad it cooled down enough for you to bake this treat. I love almost anything that resembles banana bread and this looks like it's even better. It's funny, I like to use the applesauce and yogurt tricks to retain moisture, but never thought to combine the two!

tigerfish said...

Does a monkey like apples too ?
I thought they only like swinging bar to bar and having bananas :)

You made them one entity!

grace said...

you call them brown sugar banana apple monkey bars, i call them downright delicious. appropriate for dessert? yes. a snack? yes. breakfast, lunch, and dinner? yes, yes, and yes. :)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

What a great recipe! So many good things in one tasty bar. I'd happily turn the oven on for those.

Anonymous said...

Those bars sound really good with all the different fruits inside. I didn't realize it was so hot in San Diego! Glad it cooled off a little for you. It's actually quite cool in Hawaii tonight, but I'm sure it'll start to really warm up in the next week or two.

Darlene said...

Those look amazing! I'll have to try it next time there's a heat wave and I don't want to turn on the oven.

Elle said...

Oh my God! Those look incredible! These are torturing me right now, wondering what I can have for an evening snack...

SYD said...

Definitely look yummy yummy yum! Love all the ingredients-must try.

Sophie said...

Yum! Banana rum sounds good! I know what you mean about the heat; it's unbearable in Texas too! Since I work full-time, I leave the AC off until I get home...since the electric bill gets ridiculously high during the summers...but, yeah, baking is almost painful sometimes :P.

These sound like a great yummy treat!