Banana, chocolate and hazelnut tray bake bars

April 15, 2016

Though it may seem like I'm always experimenting with different recipes and ingredients, the truth is that everything that comes out of my kitchen is made from things from my regular grocery shop, that make up my weekly meal roster, and are only eaten by me and Charlie... occasionally a guest or two!

I would love to be experimenting with weird, wonderful, varied ingredients every single day but it's just not in the blogger budget for now- which is why I really hate it when things go to waste.

One (or sometimes two!) thing that's been added to my weekly shopping list are my gestational fruits and vegetables:

Being 'all about the food' I thought it'd be nice to visually record the growth of the twins, every passing Thursday, using the (sometimes crazy!) fruit and veg comparisons on so many baby websites and app! 

Using up a couple of extra onions or tomatoes isn't too much of an ask, even lemons find home in Mr Vine's martinis and avocados add some much needed good fat to my diet post first trimester weight loss.

But then there was banana week. I've never liked bananas. I'd like to like bananas but it's just never happened. I can just about deal with a very firm, bright yellow specimen but only if it's small. And I don't have to eat it all.

Sat in the fruit bowl getting blacker and blacker, I knew I needed to do something about them before they reached the point of no return. Adding bananas to cake mixes does make for a lovely, rich, moist bake, and adding a shit ton of coco powder hides the flavour of banana

Any Nutella fan can tell you that chocolate and hazelnut are best mates so a decadent threesome is born: Banana, chocolate and hazelnut.

Ingredients: Makes 8 bars in a 9x9in square pan

6oz/170g mashed banana (black skinned and slightly sad looking fruits make for great baking ingredients)
2oz/60g margarine or baking butter
4 oz/115g white sugar
4oz/115g light brown sugar
4oz/115g ground hazelnuts
3oz/85 all purpose flour (or self raising flour for Brits- just omit the baking powder)
2 tablespoons baking powder
1oz/30g cocoa powder
2 eggs
4oz/115g chopped hazelnuts (most for the batter, retain a sprinkle to garnish)
a few tablespoons of grated chocolate to garnish


Preheat the oven to 360F/180C.

Peel and mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl, add the butter and blend with an electric whisk.

Measure in the sugars and combine.

Weigh the flour, ground hazelnuts and cocoa together, and add the baking powder to the scale bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together before sifting half into the main mixing bowl.

Crack in a egg and mix everything together well, sift in the rest of the flour mix and crack in the remaining egg, combine.

Stir in the chopped hazelnuts.

Grease and flour the pan well so that the finished tray bake bars don't stick, pour in the batter and smooth out the top. Pop in the oven for 35-40 minutes, the cake will be done when the middle bounces back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Leave to cool completely before sprinkling on the remaining hazelnuts and grated chocolate.

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