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Banana bars are a hit with kids of all ages. Topped with cream cheese icing, this recipe is baked in a sheet pan, ensuring plenty for eager hands. Kirchoff suggests topping the bars with pecan halves or decorative sprinkles for an extra-festive touch.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 large bananas)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with butter or nonstick spray and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time until just incorporated, then stir in banana and vanilla.

3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt, then add to banana mixture and mix well.

4. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until it springs back slightly when touched in the center. Cool completely.

5. Frosting: While bars cool, mix together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over cooled banana bars. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Makes 3 dozen bars.

May 2020 Recipe Contest