- Use a high-quality cocoa powder for a rich chocolate flavor to the cupcake. We used a combo of Dutch cocoa powder and black cocoa and loved the results.
- Stock up on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges when you find them. They’re seasonal and can be hard to find
- Because the orange extract goes in both the batter and the frosting, use a high-quality brand for a natural tasting citrus flavor. We like these citrus oils from the King Arthur Baking Company. Fresh juice and zest is key also.
This Elvis-inspired “Peanut Butter Bacon Banana Bread” is a divine creation that features sweet and salty elements and great texture contrasts. It bakes perfectly too, coming out tender, yet firm enough to put on a stick. Among the judge’s comments: “very clever idea, delicious, and so state fair like.” We 100% agree.
This recipe won first place in the Blue Ribbon Banana Bread Contest at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair. Karen Cope created it for the competition, trying several variations and testing them on neighbors before settling on this entry.
Karen is a perennial winner who took home her first county fair blue ribbon when she was just 9 years old. She wins a $100 King Arthur Baking Company gift card.
Step By Step Recipe Overview
The toothsome treat is fun to make with kids and is easier than you think.
First off, you fry up the bacon crisp. Or leave it out if you’re not a fan. We’ve tasted it both ways, and both are phenomenal. Next you chop the bacon into small bits and set it aside as one of the toppings.
Next, prep your pans (grease, line with parchment), measure out your ingredients and set the oven to pre-heat to 350°F.
I love my stand-up mixture as it does the “heavy lifting” so well, an in blending ingredients smooth.
In this pic, I’ve already blended the bacon grease, butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar. I’m about to mashed my bananas.
I wish my bananas were more ripe than ^these^ ones shown above, but sometimes that’s all the grocery store has.
In my opinion, this is the ^ideal ripeness^ for banana bread. You could even go a bit more ripe. The aroma is very banana-y at this stage.
On this test run, I ended up doing a banana puree with an immersion blender with mine to eliminate bigger lumps. Once you combine the bananas with the eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking soda, you only need to mix in the flour, and half your chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. (You are saving the other half for drizzling.)
Mix only until just combined. Divide mixture between the two prepared pans. Batter will be quite thick, so level it out in the pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until light golden brown and edges start to pull away from the sides. Tip: if you only have 8-inch cake pans, use them, and bake about 10 minutes longer. A toothpick inserted into center should come out clean, without chocolate. Cool on wire rack.
The last step is fun. You cut the bread into 16 servings, insert the wide, wooden sticks (3/4 inch wide is ideal), then do your toppings.
- Melted peanut butter chips (with shortening)
- Melted chocolate chips (with shortening)
- Chopped peanuts (Planters, honey-roasted)
- Chopped banana chips (Trader Joe’s)
- Bacon pieces
Now you have the best-ever banana bread to enjoy: Peanut Butter Bacon Banana Bread, Elvis on a Stick!
These Almond Joy Cookie Bars will bring utter joy to any almond, chocolate, or coconut lover. With three decadent layers, these bars are thick, dense and delicious!
Thanks to almond extract, whole toasted almonds, and sliced toasted almonds, these sensational sweet treats burst with almond flavor. The shredded coconut filling, chocolate, and almonds altogether give them an addictive texture that’s crunchy, chewy, and rich, all at the same time. AND…they are super easy to make.
3 Easy Pieces
- Making these Almond Joy Cookie Bars, only takes three main stages. You par-bake a lush cookie crust made simply with butter, corn syrup, egg yolk, flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Next you mix shredded coconut and sweetened condensed milk with almond extract, then bake that mixture on top of the cookie crust as the filling. Check out the gooey good look of the filling (image below).
- You finish these fabulous treats with whole almonds, melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, and sliced almonds.
Top Preparation Tip
Using parchment to line your pan will make removing the bars from the pan and cutting them easy peasy. Once they’re chilled, all you need to do is lift them out by the parchment edges. Here’s a shot of the bars once they’ve chilled. This time I made them, I didn’t add the almond slices until just before serving. Just look at how is golden brown the crust is and how jammed the bars are with almonds.
Blue Ribbon Winning Sweet Treat
Recipe credit goes to Tammy Michalec of Leesville who won a KARO best recipe contest at her local fair, the South Carolina State Fair with this recipe.
Want More Almond Joyfulness?
Hey all you almond, coconut and chocolate lovers! If you love this recipe, be sure not to miss our Mounds of Joy Cake also. In January 2021, it was one of our #1 most popular recipe on the site.
These Guinness Chocolate Cookies feature the notorious dark beer from Ireland and four different types of chocolate: cocoa powder, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
They are super easy to make, a bit like our spicy snickerdoodles, which I also love. The hardest part about making these Guinness Chocolate Cookies is waiting for the dough to chill two hours. The chocolate intensity of these cookies make them a treat to eat. Every time I make these I think, why don’t I make these more often!
Recipe credit goes to Lora Pelzek who won at the Wisconsin State Fair, in a Gold Medal Flour cookie contest (2016).
Bake these for any chocolate lovers in your life, or for yourself.
Double Chocolate S’more Sandwich Cookies: S’more inspired treats are so much fun. So decadent. So delicious.
Barrie Linberg at the 2013 L.A. County Fair won a blue ribbon for these sandwich cookies; 1st place, Gold Medal Flour best cookie contest. The young baker grew up baking with her mother, who is also a blue ribbon baker.
Barrie named her creation “S’Mookies” for S’more cookies. She said they were inspired by cupcakes she saw on TV. She took the concept and morphed it into an entirely new recipe. Barrie’s Double Chocolate S’more Sandwich Cookies are a delight to bake and taste.
There is both cocoa and chocolate chips in the cookie dough. They end up soft and almost cake-like in texture, but also chewy. So delightful. Inside you have a rich marshmallow/vanilla cream and graham cracker crumb filling.
Wow. Don’t miss out on making these tantalizing treats.