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story.lead_photo.caption Banana bread teams up with chocolate chips and oatmeal to create a layered brownie that's just as good for breakfast as it is dessert. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

Banana bread was one of the most-searched recipes online during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, and for so many good reasons. It's cheap and easy to make, features over-ripe fruit that might otherwise get tossed and strikes a chord of comfort and familiarity. Many of us are looking for things to make us feel better.

Banana bread brownies with peanut butter and chocolate do just that. You can't help but feel loved when biting into a piece.

This brownie recipe pairs a moist banana bread bottom layer with a chocolate chip-studded top layer. Peanut butter and oatmeal add a protein boost. While it's technically a dessert best enjoyed after dinner or as a midday snack, no one will complain if you sneak it in for breakfast.

The riper the bananas, the sweeter the brownies. To speed the ripening process, place bananas in a brown paper bag with a ripe apple or tomato and close loosely (they should ripen in about a day). Or bake unpeeled bananas in a 300-degree oven until the peels are shiny and black (about 20 to 30 minutes).

The original recipe calls for almond flour and almond butter, but on my first go-around, I substituted all-purpose flour and peanut butter to OK results. My second try with almond flour was better, so it's probably worth the added expense. Also, the smaller the pan, the thicker the brownies.

Banana Bread Brownies

3 tablespoons avocado or other neutral oil, plus more for pan

3 very ripe bananas

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup all-purpose or almond flour

1/3 cup quick rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8-by-8-inch pan with oil and line with the pan with one strip of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork or potato masher. Add peanut butter, avocado oil, milk, sugar and salt. Mix until almost smooth.

Add flour, rolled oats and baking powder. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Add cocoa powder and chocolate chips to the remaining batter. Pour the chocolate mixture on top of the plain batter and spread evenly and gently.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares to serve.

Makes 16 brownies.

— Adapted from

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