Hazelnut Banana Bread Bars with Nutella Swirl

Whether you enjoy them for breakfast or dessert, these hazelnut banana bread bars are sweet, nutty, and delicious! They feature an easy Nutella swirl on top for a fun, decadent flair and a dash of extra hazelnut flavor.

They’re sweetened with ripe bananas and brown sugar for a tasty, lightly caramelized flavor. There’s no electric mixer needed, either!

hazelnut banana bread bars with Nutella swirl

Nutella Banana Bread Bars

I’m all about a simple dessert recipe that you just mix, pour, bake, and slice. But sometimes, just a little bit of extra effort can go a long way.

In this case, there are just two added steps: toasting the hazelnuts (don’t worry, it’s super easy) and adding the Nutella swirl (again, quick and easy). And they’re both totally worth it!

I often have browning bananas lying around that need to get used up, which is where the spark of inspiration came from for this recipe. I also had extra chopped hazelnuts, so I quickly toasted them in the oven and tossed them in. It was a perfect match!

I love the hazelnut flavor of these banana bread bars, but you can also dress them up however you choose! Add chocolate chips, swap the Nutella swirl for peanut butter, or replace the hazelnuts with walnuts or pecans. They’re pretty versatile that way. 🙂

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make these bars:

  • butter: Unsalted butter gives moisture and a hint of rich flavor to the banana bread.
  • brown sugar: For sweetness and for added moisture. Brown sugar – as opposed to white sugar – adds a lovely caramelized flavor to baked goods. You can use white sugar if you prefer.
  • eggs: An egg and an egg yolk add structure to these bars.
  • vanilla extract: For a hint of vanilla flavor.
  • all-purpose flour: All-purpose flour makes up the base of this banana bread. I haven’t tested any other types of flour here, but gluten-free all-purpose flour should work as a substitute if needed.
  • baking powder: For rise and structure.
  • salt: To enhance the other flavors.
  • banana: A large mashed banana gives us the banana flavor, and adds moisture to the bars. The riper, the better – because it’ll taste sweeter!
  • toasted hazelnuts: Chopped hazelnuts add crunch and nuttiness. I don’t recommend using raw hazelnuts, as they have a pretty chewy texture. Luckily, toasting them is super easy in the oven! I’ve included directions further down in this post.
  • Nutella hazelnut spread: Last – but certainly not least – the Nutella swirl on top! Nutella gets dolloped over the batter and swirled with a butter knife just before baking. You can use a different brand of chocolate hazelnut spread if you’d like, as long as it’s drippy enough to swirl.

If you have extra overripe bananas, try these peanut butter banana brownies!

a stack of Nutella banana bread bars with hazelnuts

How to Make Hazelnut Banana Bread

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt).

In another bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar until well-combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, whisking again until thoroughly mixed.

Then, sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add the mashed banana to the bowl and stir with a spatula until the batter is mostly smooth. (We’ll finish fully mixing in the next step).

Next, add the toasted hazelnuts. (Instructions for toasting hazelnuts are further down in this post). Gently fold them in with the spatula, until no flour streaks remain. Don’t over-mix.

Spoon the batter into a parchment paper-lined square baking dish. Smooth out on top with a spatula.

Next, we’re adding our Nutella swirl! Dollop small amounts of Nutella evenly over the batter, leaving space between each dollop. Lightly draw a butter knife through each dollop in different directions, creating a swirled pattern.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean (with just a few crumbs).

Transfer the baking pan to a wire rack or heat-safe trivet to cool. Once fully cooled, slice into bars and enjoy!

hazelnut banana bread bars with Nutella swirl on top

Tips for Making Banana Bread

  • Use a browned, overripe banana for the best flavor and texture. Riper bananas are sweeter (and easier to mash)!
  • Mash the banana well. You want the mashed banana to be as smooth as possible, without too many large chunks, so it can be evenly incorporated into the batter.
  • Measure the flour properly. Don’t scoop your measuring cup into the flour, as this packs the flour. Instead, spoon flour into your measuring cup and level it with a knife.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients instead of just dumping them in. This breaks up any clumps that may not get properly mixed into the batter.
  • Don’t overmix the batter once you add the flour. Once you combine the flour with liquids, the gluten proteins are activated. Mixing too much once this occurs can make your banana bread tough and dry.

How to Toast Hazelnuts in the Oven

It’s easy to toast hazelnuts in the oven! Spread chopped hazelnuts in an even layer on a sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-7 minutes, stirring once in between. Be sure keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!

If you’re using whole hazelnuts, use the same method – you’ll just need to toast them longer (about 15 minutes). Then, chop them once they’ve cooled.

How do you store banana bread bars?

After slicing the banana bread bars, store them on the counter for up to 3 days.

Either wrap the bars in plastic wrap, or place them in an airtight container lined with a paper towel on the bottom. Place a paper towel between each layer and on top, too, essentially loosely “wrapping” the bars. (The paper towel will help absorb any excess moisture that the bars give off over time.)

Mix-In Ideas

Want to switch up this recipe a bit? Here are some ideas:

  • add chocolate chips
  • replace the Nutella with peanut butter or Biscoff spread
  • replace the toasted hazelnuts with pecans or walnuts
  • add cocoa powder to the batter (for chocolate banana bread bars)

You might also like these white chocolate pumpkin spice bars!

hazelnut banana bread bars with Nutella swirl on parchment paper

If you have any browning bananas on your counter: I think you know what you need to do. 🙂 Enjoy!

More delicious desserts with Nutella:

If you make these hazelnut banana bread bars, I’d love if you shared your thoughts with a rating and comment below.

Hazelnut Banana Bread Bars with Nutella Swirl

Whether you enjoy them for breakfast or dessert, these hazelnut banana bread bars are sweet, nutty, and delicious! They feature an easy Nutella swirl on top for a fun, decadent flair.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9 bars

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (1/2 a stick)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mashed banana (about 1 large overripe banana)
  • ½ cup toasted hazelnuts* (chopped)
  • ¼ cup Nutella hazelnut spread (for topping)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8x8in or 9x9in square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar for at least one minute. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add mashed banana. Stir with a spatula until the batter is mostly smooth, with a few flour streaks left.
  • Add the toasted hazelnuts. Gently fold them in with the spatula, until no flour streaks remain. (Do not over-mix!)
  • Spoon the batter into the baking dish. Smooth out on top with a spatula.
  • Dollop small amounts of Nutella evenly over the batter, leaving space between each dollop. Lightly draw a butter knife through the batter in different directions, creating a swirled pattern.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean (with just a few crumbs).
  • Remove the pan from the oven. Once cooled, slice into bars and enjoy!

Notes

*To toast chopped hazelnuts: spread evenly on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes, stirring once in between. For whole hazelnuts, bake for around 15 minutes, then remove their outer coating (if needed) by rubbing them with a kitchen towel. Once cooled, chop them into small pieces.
To store: After slicing the banana bread bars, store them on the counter (wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container wrapped in paper towels) for up to 3 days.
Keyword banana, bars, bread, hazelnuts, nutella

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