I have never been a huge fan of bananas. It's not that I dislike them. Occasionally I will even pick one up to eat for lunch or a snack. Bananas are good but in my view so many things are better. Give me the choice of a banana or a ripe peach or pear, even a small bunch of grapes and I will leave the banana behind every time.
My family marches to another beat. For years my family ate a basket of bananas every few days. I never needed to worry about bananas getting black sitting on my counter. I bought bananas every time I went to the market and rarely were any discarded.
But things change. My son is seldom home these days and my husband has not been keeping up. Lately my bananas turn spotted, then dark. Still I forget and buy too many fresh ones.
Fortunately I do like bananas in baked goods. I sometimes bake bananas into yeast bread and I enjoy Banana Nut Bread hot from the oven or toasted. Still, enough is enough. Tired of making the same old thing with my overripe bananas I decided to search out something new. Thoughts of Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting led me along a circuitous recipe search that ended in my baking Banana Cake Squares topped with Vanilla Wafer Steusel and even a drizzle of Caramel Sauce. Along the way I am learning that I might like bananas more than I thought.
1 cup white sugar
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (I used 3)
½ cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup ground nutmeg
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter
1/3 to 1 cup of toasted nuts or toasted unsweetened coconut
(I used about 1/3 cup macadamia nuts one time, coconut another)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix the white sugar, bananas, ½ cup butter, eggs and vanilla with a spoon.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, stirring until just combined. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the vanilla wafer crumbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and ¼ cup butter using a fork or your fingers. When the mixture is well combined and crumbly stir in the toasted nuts and/or coconut. Scatter the crumbs evenly across the cake batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until the cake tests done. ( A toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or the cake springs back when pressed lightly near the middle. ) Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Note: If you prefer, you can skip the streusel topping and dust cooled Baanana Squares with powdered sugar or ice with Cream Cheese Frosting. Another idea is to serve the Banana Squares with Caramel Sauce, either drizzling the sauce on a dessert plate before setting the Banana Square on top or topping the Banana Square itself with the Caramel Sauce.