Moonshine Banana Blondies

May 6, 2013

moonshine banana blondies | une gamine dans la cuisine

"What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms."

Kobayashi Issa, in The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa, translated by Robert Hass

I have a bad habit of mourning the ending of something I love before it's truly even started - an all-consuming book, an impromptu party, a much-anticipated film, lemon cake, a vacation, etc...

Currently I have a massive crush on spring and summer. Of course, in vintage form, all I can think of is their fleeting presence. If only it were possible to place a wedge under the door of time - just so we could linger a little bit longer in the warmth and lush beauty of May, June, July, and yes, even sultry August. (And if only I could figure out how to take my eyes off dark horizons and live in the moment.)

Luckily I can always rely on baking to help me stay focused on "the now." Whiskey helps with "the maybe!"

P.S. I used normal whiskey in this recipe. Moonshine just sounds mysteriously intriguing. 

moonshine banana blondies | une gamine dans la cuisine

Lora, of the blog Cake Duchess, just made this NYT recipe too. She made her blondies with the called-for chocolate wafer crust - which I'm sure lent the bars added richness and depth! Unfortunately I didn't have chocolate wafers. Instead I used graham crackers and cinnamon - I think I made up for the absence of chocolate by tossing in a splash of least everyone seems to recall that the blondies were quite addictive.

If you have a few ripe bananas in need of a home, and you're not quite in the mood for bread, this recipe may be just what's needed. The blondie filling is soft and banana-y, with an almost cookie dough-ish texture. (If you don't want to use whiskey, feel free to use rum or vanilla extract instead.) I added a glaze only because the whiskey bottle happened to still be on the counter. It's certainly not required, but who can resist a drizzly glaze?

Wishing everyone a happy May! Please try to savour every single minute of this exquisite time of year! xo

moonshine banana blondies | une gamine dans la cuisine

Moonshine Banana Blondies
makes about 25-30 bars

for the crust
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 cups graham cracker crumbs (that's about 14 whole graham crackers)
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

for the filling
12 Tablespoons (that's 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 mashed, ripe, bananas
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon *whiskey (Or rum. Or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract) *I used Jack Daniels - not actual moonshine* ;)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

for the glaze
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 Tablespoon whiskey (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper or foil - leave a slight overhang around the edges (for easier removal). Butter the entire lined pan.

Prepare the crust: In the bowl of a large food processor, combine the melted butter, *graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse until the mixture resembles heavy, wet, sand.

*If you're starting off with whole graham crackers, add them to the processor before the other ingredients and pulse until they resemble fine crumbs.

Press the sandy mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan. If it's too sticky, use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust down into an even layer. Bake for 7-10 minutes - until the surface is firm. Remove from the oven and place the pan onto a cooling rack.

Reduce the oven temp. to 350 F. {Note: You may want to turn it off completely - it takes a while to prepare the filling.}

Prepare the filling: Have a medium heat-proof bowl on hand for the brown butter.
In a large saucepan, melt the 12 Tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Increase the heat to medium and, stirring occasionally, cook the butter until it turns golden brown and develops a nutty aroma. Depending on the stove's heat, it can take 5-8 minutes for the butter to brown properly. During this process the butter will first become foamy before changing color, making it difficult to see what's going on. Just be sure to give it a good stir now and then so that the butter doesn't burn. Once it's gorgeous and fragrant, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the butter to a heat-proof bowl. Cool to room temperature. {Note:You want to butter to be cool enough so that it won't scramble the eggs when they're added.}

Once the butter has cooled down, preheat the oven to 350 F. (If you turned it off.)

In a separate large mixing bowl - whisk together the mashed bananas, eggs, brown sugar, and whiskey. Add the cool brown butter and whisk until well combined. Add the flour and salt - use a large rubber spatula to fold the flour into the batter until just combined (try not to over mix).

Scrape the batter over the partially-baked crust. Use an offset spatula to spread the batter into an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes up with only a few moist crumbs. {Note: Mine took only 32 minutes, so be sure to check at the 30 minute mark.}

Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely before adding the glaze. Once the bars are cool, use the parchment or foil over hang to gently lift them from the pan - run a thin knife along the edges of the pan if needed.

Prepare the glaze: In a large mixing bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, whiskey, and salt. Whisk until smooth. If it's too thick to drizzle, add about 1 teaspoon of whiskey (or cream), whisk to combine. Use a spoon or fork to drizzle the glaze over the cooled bars.

adapted from NYT


  1. These blondies are exactly what my Monday needs. Love the graham-cinnamon goodness and the whiskey glaze!

  2. Gorgeous blondies! Addictive flavors.



  3. These are stunning, just stunning as are your lovely photos. I can almost smell the amazing aroma .......

  4. This is seriously so amazing! Banana and blondies sound like serious perfection. I need one of these immediately!

  5. Love!! These look tremendous! :)

  6. This just shot to the top of my Irresistible Blondies Pinterest board!

  7. There're here!!! Oh my! And so pretty! I've never tried NYT recipe for banana blondies and now I can't wait!

  8. These look wonderful! They will be made. I love the name moonshine!

  9. Beauties!
    I do have ripe bananas and whiskey, I'm so lucky;-)
    I think I should start a blondes Pinterest board, it does sound very good and tempting! I like the idea of baking with moonshine, maybe time to fire up that still in my backyard ;-)

  10. I love everything about these moonshine banana blondies and its name with "moonshine". Your photography is gorgeous. On my MUST MAKE list and pinning! :)

  11. NEED THESE!!

    "The blondie filling is soft and banana-y, with an almost cookie dough-ish texture." -- sold

    And the graham cracker crust. AND the moonshine.

    And the whiskey glaze.

    Valerie they are just sooooo perfect. I want these!

    In my cookbook I made a blondie with PB, rum, coconut, and white chocolate. It all works and I know I'd love these. Pinned!

  12. I have a huge crush on spring and summer too. What a great way to use bananas!

  13. How I adore banana bars and flavors. These bars look really good, Val. I also mourn the passing of my favorite things and sometimes live in the past too much.

  14. Gorgeous blondies, Val! The flavors are wonderful! ...and the glaze is amazing!!!

  15. I've never tasted a bar like this! Banana blondies? How interesting...

    I know what you are saying about Spring and Summer...although I'd rather Spring to stick around longer. I like it when flowers first bud...I love flowering trees especially, like magnolia trees, cherry blossom trees (sakura!), apple blossom trees, etc.

  16. I know exactly what you mean when you morn something because it over. I am that way with a good book - you just get into it and it is over - like loosing a good friend. These moonshine banana blondies are looking simply divine! Anything with a touch of alcohol just brings it up a notch!

  17. oh man i can't even imagine how amazing these are - these are incredible!! i definitely need to make these! i love the name moonshine, sounds so romantic!

  18. I just noticed that my blog is in your Tasty Links! Feeling so honoured, and on the clouds Valerie! Muchos gracias:-)
    Now these blondies are calling my name, what a clever idea to use banana and bet better than bread:-)

  19. These bars look just beautiful! I like that filling.

  20. what a visually stunning quote.
    I have, stood under the cherry blossom trees and yes, it was quite magical; it was like the prettiest snow most fragrant you've ever seen.

  21. I do the same thing on weekends, ha! These look wonderful.

  22. Blondies are at the top of my favorites... can't believe these can be made with moonshine!!!

    Would you believe that I'm the same way? I get on a plane to go on a vacation, and on the way there I'm already mourning about its end. :-/
    Also, moonshine? Would you believe that I have at least 5 liters of that in our freezer. Homemade! :) It's the liquor Macedonians live by. In fact, we use it as medicine, cleaning agent, party accessory, etc... :)

  23. Ha, whiskey helps a lot of things. I love the addition of whiskey in these blondies. And that glaze--yum!

  24. We are having the warmest weather these days here and I'm enjoying every minute of it, it's a pity this weather can't last the whole year.
    Having said that the blondies look delicious, Valerie and so do photos, beautiful light!

  25. I bought a box of graham crackers just for one of your recipes - now I have some for this one - thanks!

  26. With or without the whisky I like your version without the chocolate better! The combination of graham, cinnamon, and bananas in a chewy blondie sounds fantastic!

  27. Both versions of these blondies sound amazing, wish we could have an in-person taste test!

  28. I made blondies for the first time this week... they were delicious, but these sound even better! Hm, we can't buy graham crackers over here. Would a whole wheat cracker work? Love the flavour combination.. definitely making these!!

  29. Thanks for the shoutout, Val! You're so kind. I was looking forward to seeing your moonshine version (love the name)and they're as pretty as I knew they'd be. I wonder if anyone will make this w/the actual amount of sugar they listed?:)

  30. Ugh, I'm the worst about that too. Sometimes I start feeling sad about the weekend ending by midday Saturday. Glad I'm not alone :)

    Anyway, love the sound of these blondies. I'm *always* looking for new ways to use overripe bananas!

  31. @laura: If you can't find graham crackers, feel free to use any kind of digestive cookies (about 200 grams). The original recipe actually calls for chocolate wafers, so I'm sure anything sweet and crispy will suffice. :)

  32. I just love the idea of Moonshine Blondies, even if real actual moonshine is absent from the process. And I love the photos!

  33. These are truly beauties. I would love one with a cup of coffee for breakfast.

  34. These just look too too good to resist.

  35. interesting combo of whiskey and banana! sounds good!

  36. Blondies with booze?! Anytime! They look absolutely wonderful!

  37. Hey, it's that crazy NYT 2.5 cups of sugar recipe! :D I saw it on Lora's page the other day and was perplexed by the amount of sugar in them. Nice that you didn't follow their recipe, either. :)

    And I love that the two of you made these blondies almost at the same time. Both versions look great and your crust sounds great to me!

  38. I do the same thing when on vacation. I start counting down the days as soon as I step off the plane. Not a good habit since it takes away from the vacation itself!

    These blondies need to be added to my banana baking repertoire. Got tons of overripe ones right now and this recipe sounds like the perfect use for them. :)


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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