Monkey Bars (Chocolate Chip Pecan Banana Bread)

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If you look, at any given time on my kitchen counter, you’ll find bananas. And if you’re lucky, you’ll find chocolate chip pecan banana bread.

Bananas are a shopping list staple for this single girl.

Even more so now that I have this recipe, now dubbed as ‘monkey bars’ in my repertoire.

Bananas are healthy, compact and versatile – you can pop them in cereal, eat one before a workout or transport in your purse for an on-the-go potassium fix.

The problem with bananas is that their window of ripeness is small.

There is a very limited period between the time when bananas begin to fade from pale green to perfectly yellow to the point where their skin becomes a myriad of brown blotches, too soft to the touch.

When I buy bananas, I always purchase bunches of four or five.

Even though I don’t have growing kids or a husband with a bottomless appetite, I always have good intentions of eating one a day.

Breakfast, pre-gym, afternoon snack….easy!

Plus, one of the most commonly searched phrases that people use to find my blog is “is banana bread bad for you?”

So, to come right out and answer that question, it’s not exactly healthy food but it’s probably not singly responsible for the American obesity problem either.

This banana bread – probably not so good for you.

Pecans and chocolate chips take it across the line from bread to cookie and its thick, cake-like texture makes it so much more substantial than a grab-and-go baked good.

Enjoy it for breakfast with coffee or dress it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.


Monkey Bars (Chocolate Chip Pecan Banana Bread)
Recipe type: Sweet Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cup brown sugar light packed
  • 2 cup mashed banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Turbinado sugar, optional
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Coat an 8x8 baking pan with butter or cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar into butter, followed by eggs, vanilla and mashed banana.
  2. In another bowl, sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Add in chocolate chips and pecans, stirring until just mixed.
  3. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. TIP: If you like a thicker, cakier bar, use the 8x8 pan as suggested. If you prefer a thinner, flatter bar cookie, use a larger pan, such as a 13x9 baking pan. Once cool, cut into 12 pieces.


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  • Reply
    March 18, 2010 at 5:21 am

    i actually rarely have bananas that i find too ripe to eat–the browner, the better, and if they get too close, the fridge slows it down. that said, i also love banana bread, so sometimes i buy bananas just for that purpose. your batch is DENSE and full of good stuff. plus, the name is awesome. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 15, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I’m the same way. I’ll buy a bunch of bananas and if they sit on the counter too long, I bake them into something… if it has chocolate chips, even better! This banana bread recipe looks amazing!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I saw this and instantly wanted to bite the computer screen. Unfortunately I think my engineers at work might not like that.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    oh yeah, I predict that these will be a part of my immediate future.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I have a very narrow window in which I’ll eat bananas (one day past the point of being green). And so after that they immediately go into the freezer for banana bread/cake/whatever else I feel like making. This is going to have to be next on my list. It sounds great!
    And I have a feeling that if banana bread were the only “bad” thing people were eating…we’d have a much skinner country.

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    March 15, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I remember visiting my grandmother in Florida during my college years, and every time I was there we made a pilgrimage to the market for bananas. Potassium, she would remind me, was very important! She never cooked with bananas, just ate them whole. Pretty much, I still do the same.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I’m imagining turning that yummy bread into bread pudding!

  • Reply
    Meal Makeover Mom Janice
    March 15, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Yum, yum! Bananas, pecans, chocolate… how can you go wrong? My friend Maureen used to make Monkey Bars when I lived in DC and they were filling and good as well. I think I’ll need to give these a try!

  • Reply
    Daryl Callahan
    March 15, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Yikes! That looks so good. Cute name too!
    Nice to make, freeze indivually and always have a great snack

  • Reply
    Sandie {Inn Cuisine}
    March 15, 2010 at 4:16 am

    I love the name of this recipe: Monkey Bars. How cute (reminds me of my youth)! 🙂

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