Thursday, August 21, 2014

Canoe-Trip Banana-Butterscotch Brownies

I have a favorite recipe for Banana-Butterscotch Brownies.  In an April blog post, I provided a link to an article I wrote about them, where I had included the recipe.  Unfortunately, that article no longer exists on the web.  The good news is, I can now share that information here.  My family and friends love this recipe - and I think you will too!

Pan of brownies ready to be packed for a canoe trip!
It is fascinating how a recipe can become a family favorite. The first time I made these brownies, originally just called "Banana Brownies," it was because I had an abundance of overripe bananas.

Farmers, warm memories, and a new favorite recipe 

Years before I discovered this recipe, my grandmother gave me the National Grange Bicentennial Year Cookbook. "The Grange" is a National Fraternal organization, originally made up of farmers and was (according to the cookbook), the "very first organization of the country to give women an equal vote with men." My grandparents, dairy farmers, were faithful attendees of Pennsylvania Grange meetings; once or twice they invited me to accompany them. My cookbook invokes warm memories of my grandparents and of being proudly introduced to their friends. The original Banana Brownies recipe appears on page 188, and was submitted by Denise Smith, Sonora Grange, Grinnell, Iowa.

Floating brownies get renamed 

My children always liked these brownies. Then, my niece came to Montana for a visit. We packed a picnic and took her canoeing on the Jefferson River. The cooler held an assortment of sandwiches, fruit and beverages - and these brownies. Eaten chilled, on a hot summer day in the middle of a pristine river, they tasted like pure perfection. Their name was changed that afternoon to "Canoe Trip Banana-Butterscotch Brownies." I frequently make them for family, friends, team dinners, large parties, and always, for when we go canoeing.

"Canoe Trip" Banana-Butterscotch Brownie Recipe


2/3 cup shortening 
1-lb box brown sugar (=2 1/3 cup) 

  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten 

  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed 

  • 3½ cup flour 

  • 1 TBSP baking powder (2 tsp. if adjusting for high altitude)
  • 1 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 

  • 1 cup chopped pecans 

  • 6 oz. package butterscotch bits 

  • Glaze (recipe follows)


  1. PRE-HEAT OVEN to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 10x15 inch (jelly roll) pan.
  3. Using a wooden spoon or electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar in bowl.
  4. Blend in eggs and bananas.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients, then vanilla, nuts and butterscotch bits.
  6. Spoon this mixture into prepared pan.
  7. Bake, about 30 minutes, until lightly golden.
  8. Spread with Glaze. Cut into squares while warm.


  • 2 TBSP mashed banana
  • 1 ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 ¼ to 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
Using a fork, mix the following ingredients until smooth and pourable/spreadable.
    With my minor alterations to the original recipe (published in 1977), this recipe may become such a favorite of yours that you may also change its name!

Smith, Denise. ""Banana Brownies"" National Grange Bicentennial Year Cookbook. Montgomery, AL: Favorite Recipes, [c.1976]. 188. Print.
    Have you ever renamed a recipe because of a good memory associated with it?
    This article was originally published on Yahoo Voices on February 21, 2014, but Yahoo Voices was shut down, and rights for this content reverted back to me.  
    This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog.  Check them out!


    1. Bananas and butterscotch together?! Yum! Can't wait to give this a try, and I love the story you shared with them.

    2. Sounds terrific and as another avid canoer must accompany our next picnic! If you ever watched Little House on the Prairie Charles Ingalls(Pa) always talked about going to Grange meetings. There were several episodes involving them. Yes, I know every one by heart. This is my favorite all time show! Still love it to this day!

      1. I loved Little House on the Prairie - both the tv show and the books! i didn't remember Pa talking about the Grange meetings though. How cool.

    3. I really, really don't need another guilty addiction so I have carefully NOT read your recipe. And while not reading it, felt my trousers tighten...

      1. Funny - as I was posting this, I thought about how all the blogs I read are bad for my will power - and I felt a little guilty contributing to other people's temptation!

    4. It sounds teeth are itching just thinking about it.


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