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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Easy Banoffee Cream Bars

This recipe is a paid partnership with Natures Charm.

A buttery shortbread base, layer of chewy caramel, bananas and a banana cream. On a scale of 1 to 10, these banoffee bars are OFF THE SCALE! They're scrumptious!


Banana, caramel and cream... what a combination!
It's coming to the end of summer [cue the tears], that means let's keep making summer recipes till the summers over.
Banoffee

What makes these banoffee bars so good?
These bars are crumbly, buttery, chewy and sweet. They're super refreshing and very moreish with lot's of banana flavour. They're are 4 separate layers which make up these delicious banoffee bars.

Base: SHORTBREAD. I am a sucker for shortbread. This recipe uses only 3 simple ingredients and is light, buttery and crumbly. The perfect base for these bars. 

Caramel Layer: This is the best caramel as it's thick, ultra chewy and gooey. Caramel, paired with the banana is absolute heaven!
In order to create THE BEST vegan caramel for these bars, you'll need a vegan condensed milk.

This post is a paid partnership with Natures Charm. For more information about product placement and partnerships, check out my Disclosure Policy.

Natures Charm have one of the best vegan condensed milks i've ever tried. Their milk uses coconut which tastes absolutely delicious! The condensed milk itself thickens up perfectly, great for including into bakes such as a chocolate fudge cake, lemon curd, fridge fudge and caramel. It'll blow your mind at how tasty it is! It's one of those products everyone needs in their pantry for a baking emergency, especially when you're craving these banoffee bars.

My caramel is super easy to make, contains minimal ingredients and creates a thick and ultra chewy caramel which doesn't ooze out the sides of the bars.

How to make caramel with condensed milk?
1. First you'll start off by putting the condensed milk into a saucepan, along with dairy-free butter, sugar and golden syrup.

2. You'll want to cook this over the hob until thick. This caramel recipe takes about 20 minutes. It's well worth the wait as this is probably the best caramel ever! It's super thick and chewy!

Where to buy Natures Charm Condensed Coconut Milk?

Banana layer: A single layer of freshly chopped bananas makes these bars irresistible! The texture of soft banana along with the buttery base and sweet caramel is divine! 

Banana cream: Why have a classic cream, when you can jazz it up and have a banana cream?! This cream uses dairy-free cream cheese, dairy-free whipping cream and a little mashed banana. It's absolutely delicious and makes the fruity banana flavour BURST! 
Vegan Condensed Milk

Caramel sauce ingredients
banana caramel bars
Caramel covered shortbread


Ingredients you'll need to make these bars

These banoffee bars are ultra easy to make, fun to make and are perfect for sharing!
Here's what you need in order to make these dreamy bars:
  • Plain flour
  • Dairy-free butter  
  • Caster sugar
  • Vegan condensed milk (2 cans of Natures Charm Coconut Condensed Milk)
  • Golden Syrup
  • Dairy-free cream cheese
  • Dairy-free whipping cream
  • A bunch of ripe bananas
You'll also want a 8 x 8 inch square baking tin (preferably with a loose base / push up base. 

Banana covered caramel

Notes*
What vegan cream to use?
My favourite dairy-free double cream / whipping cream is Elmlea Plant Based Double Cream Alternative. It makes the cheesecake filling thick and ultra creamy. Something like Coconut Cream or a Vegan Single Cream will be too runny and won't set, even if its in the fridge overnight. 

What vegan block butter to use?
My favourite vegan / dairy-free block butters are 'Naturli Vegan Block' or Flora Plant Based Block Butter Alternative (salted or unsalted).
Alternatively, you can use dairy-free / vegan margarine for the caramel, it just won't hold it's shape as well as block butter.


Preparation: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 12 (depending on the size)
Level: Easy / medium

____________________________________________________________

Ingredients for the base
  • 275g of plain flour
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 200g of dairy-free softened block butter / margarine 

Ingredients for the caramel
Ingredients for the banana layer
  • 1 large ripe banana

Ingredients for the banana cream
  • 100g of dairy-free cream cheese
  • 80ml of dairy-free cream (see notes*)
  • 80g of mashed bananas (approximately 2 small bananas)
____________________________________________________________

Method (base)
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c fan and line a 8x8 inch square / loose base tin with grease proof paper. Allow the paper to hang over the edges of the tin, this makes it easier for removing the bars when ready.

2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add in the flour and sugar. Stir to combine. Add in the softened butter / margarine and using your fingertips, rub the butter / margarine into the flour and sugar mixture until a crumbly dough forms. 

3. Firmly press the mixture into the base of the lined tin, trying to get it as even as possible. 
Tip: As the dough is sticky, coat your fingers in some plain flour before pressing it into the tin to prevent sticking.
Place into the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the caramel.

Method (caramel)
1.  Place all of the caramel ingredients into a medium / large saucepan. Place the pan on the hob over a low heat.

2. Firstly, you'll see the butter melt into everything. Give it a little stir. Keep it on a low, steady boil. This will take approximately 20 minutes. You'll want to stir this constantly with a whisk to prevent the caramel sticking and burning on the pan. After 20 minutes, the caramel will turn very thick. Be patient, this does take a while, but it's worth the wait!

3. Pour the thick caramel quickly on top of the base. Use an off-set spatula to quickly spread out the caramel, making sure it's even. This caramel will set quickly so you want to be fast when pouring and spreading.
Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then transfer into the fridge for an hour until fully set.
Tip: You can leave it in the fridge overnight, then allow it to come to room temperature.

Holly's tip for this recipe: Add the banana layer and cream just before serving as the moisture from the banana can make the caramel go soft. Bananas left at room temperature also have a tendency to go brown in colour. Allow the caramel to come to room temperature before adding on the bananas so the bananas can stick to the caramel. 

Method (banana layer)
1. Thinly slice the banana and lay them in rows on-top of the caramel. Place aside while you make the banana cream.

Method (banana cream)
1. In a medium sized bowl, add in the dairy-free cream and cream cheese. Whip on low speed at first to prevent it splashing out the bowl, then turn to high speed. Whip until thick. This will take around 5 minutes. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, but a hand whisk will work great too! The mixture should be thick and creamy. See notes for details on which products work best!

2. Mash 80g of banana and add it into the cream. Whip to combine. 
Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip nozzle. Pipe rosette style swirls over the top of the bananas.

Transfer into the fridge to set for 30 minutes, before removing from the fridge and slicing into bars.

TIP: Before slicing, heat a large, sharp knife in a bowl of hot water or with a kitchen blow torch. Make sure to wipe off any moisture before cutting the bars.

To store:
Store these bars in a sealed container in the fridge. Due to the moisture level in the bananas, its best to enjoy these day of making.



Shop the whole 'Natures Charm' range here.
 A huge thank you to Natures Charm for collabing on this recipe with me!

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