You will find bananas in most Indian kitchens, especially in Kerala. Kerala grows a huge variety of bananas and the most common ones are plantains or nendranpazham, the smaller varieties like “poovan”, “palayamkodan” and “robusta or morris bananas. Family and friends visiting home were always offered banana with steaming hot filter coffee. Banana fruit (raw and ripe) and the inner stem of some varieties of banana are also used for cooking in Kerala. The banana leaf is used to wrap certain foods for steam cooking. Banana leaves are also our traditional version of eco-friendly plates as we eat off them. Let’s get back today’s post of Chocolate Chip Banana Squares.
The old days are gone and I have to confess to living in Kerala now and not having a banana plant in my backyard yet. I however, am rarely without store bought or gifted bananas of some sort in my fruit basket. That means that there often is a situation where I have pretty ripe bananas that need saving. Most often, they’re made into all manners of bakes including Banana Bread, Rolls, Cake, Pancakes, Ice-cream, Puddings, etc.
I love bananas, and they come second after mangoes as my favourite fruit. Yet, I don’t particularly like banana in most bakes. I’m the only one though, so I’m often baking with bananas. These Chocolate Chip Banana Squares are a firm favourite with the family and quite versatile. Serve them plain with coffee, or tea in place of a coffee cake, or with plain vanilla or chocolate ice-cream for a simple dessert. These are excellent after school snacks to serve to children with a glass of milk.
These particular squares are egg free because the first time I made them I ran out of eggs. I have since continued to make them this way even when I have had eggs on hand. If you bake egg free then you would know that bananas are a good substitute for eggs. Chocolate goes very well with banana so chocolate chips or chunks make these squares extra good. Cardamom makes them extra special but feel free to omit it if it’s not for you. You can completely mash the bananas for this recipe or just so there little chunks of banana in there. I prefer little bits in the mashed banana because it creates a more banana flavour in the bake.
I have a family can be very constructively critical (in a good way) with my food experiments. My husband and near family love these squares. My daughter who doesn’t generally like fruit in bakes pronounced them “quite nice” which is high praise indeed. I’ll confess I have been known to bake these squares even when the bananas haven’t called for them. If you haven’t been convinced to bake these by now, very little probably will. But I will tell you’re missing something good if don’t try hem at least once.
Chocolate Chip Banana Squares
- 75 gm butter softened at room temperature
- 3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 large banana mashed (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 to 3 tbsps milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 pods cardamom powdered (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup chocolate semi-sweet mini chips or chunks
- I prefer slightly chunky pieces when I mash bananas for these squares. Mash the banana with the milk using the tines of a fork.
- Put the softened butter and brown sugar in a bowl and beat, using a hand held mixer, till fluffy and creamy. Mix in the mashed banana and vanilla.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl,. Beat again (on medium speed) till the flour is incorporated into the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips or chunks
- Scrape the batter out into a greased and floured square cake tin (7-inch x 7-inch) and bake at 180C (350F) for about 30 minutes or till done, and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then unmould the cake. Cool completely on a rack and cut into squares. This recipe makes 9 big or 16 smaller chocolate chip and banana squares.