Introduction: Chunky Monkey Squares
Beyond seductive chocolate and tempting toffee... beyond provocative peanut butter and beguiling bananas... way beyond.
Chunky Monkey Squares are more than just cookies. They're an addictive, passionate and lustful expression of desirous cookie love... if there is such a thing. ;-)
Step 1: Ingredient Overview and Tools:
This list may seem a tad lengthy, but when you're going beyond, the "journey" is always a little longer. You probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboard and frig anyway. ;-)
I've segregated the ingredients for each component /topping. It's helpful to measure out and organize the ingredients ahead of time so you're focused on the preparation.
- 2 1/2 cups crushed chocolate cookies- any variety (I used a combination of chocolate wafers/oreo cookies and pulsed them in my blender)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons banana extract (may substitute w/ 1tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2-1 cup melted butter (depending on the type of cookies you use)
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips- not pictured
Peanut Butter Topping:
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3/4 cup extra virgin Coconut oil
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips- may substitute semi-sweet or milk chocolate
- 3-4 Tablespoon extra virgin Coconut oil
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 9 x 13" baking pan
- 2 ziplock baggies- quart size
- metal spatula
- rubber spatula
- Heavy medium sauce pan
- Candy thermometer
- silpat mat or parchment paper
- wooden spoon
- assorted bowls
Step 2: Cookie Crust:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line 9 x 13" baking pan with parchment paper.
Mix 2 1/2 cups crushed cookies, 1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar* and 1/4 cup cocoa together in a large bowl.
Melt 1/2 cup butter and pour it over the cookie mix. Stir well with a fork. Let sit for a few minutes allowing the butter to be fully absorbed.
Pinch a teaspoon of cookie mix between your fingers. If it holds together easily, it's ready to be baked. If the mix doesn't hold the pinch and crumbles easily, you'll need to add more melted butter (2 Tablespoons at a time) until it does.
Spread the cookie mix evenly in the baking pan and press it down firmly with your fingers. Follow with a metal spatula to compress the crust more firmly and evenly.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips over the hot cookie crust.
Set aside to cool. Once cool, cover the cookie crust with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out.
*It's not your monitor and it's not your eyes. ;-) I'm using raw granulated sugar, which is naturally golden in color.
Step 3: Peanut Butter Filling:
Place the sifter in a small bowl and add 3/4 cup powdered sugar.
Stir 1 cup creamy peanut butter and 3/4 cup coconut oil together in a separate deep bowl.
Microwave the mixture on high for 30 seconds, stir with a fork. Microwave another 30 seconds and stir again.
Coconut oil goes from a solid state to a liquid state at 76°.F. It should be melting nicely now.
Continue stirring until the melted oil and peanut butter are well-combined. The mixture will be very soupy.
Sift* the powdered sugar into the peanut mixture a few tablespoons at a time, stirring it in completely after each addition.
Once all the powdered sugar has been added to the peanut mixture, pour it into a ziplock baggie, squeeze out most of the air and seal.
Refrigerate the bagged mixture to bring it back to a firm (like-frosting) consistency.. This will take several minutes. Just check the baggie every few minutes. Massage/squish it to move the mixture around and chill it uniformly.
If the mixture gets too cold (firm) just massage the baggy gently. The warmth of your hands should soften it up pretty quickly. The temperature of the peanut mixture controls it's consistency. You control the temperature. ;-)
*Unsifted powdered sugar is very LuMpY and will not incorporate well. 8-/
Step 4: Homemade Toffee Bits:
1. Put 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 Tablespoons of water and a pinch of sea salt into a heavy medium saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
If you don't have aheavy saucepan, begin heating on low and increase the heat to medium when the sugar has completely dissolved.
When the mixture begins to boil, remove the pan from heat just briefly enough to carefully clip the candy thermometer to the pan, then return it to the heat.
4. Remove the molten toffee from the heat. Pour it carefully onto the lined baking sheet and spread it thin with the wooden spoon.
5. Let the toffee cool completely, place it in a ziplock baggie and tap it with the back of a heavy spoon or measuring cup.
Keep the toffee bits in the sealed until they're ready to be used.
*My toffee was a tiny bit over-cooked but it wasn't at all noticeable in the finished cookies.
Step 5: Chocolate "Syrup" Drizzle:
Open a ziplock baggie and tuck it inside a large cup. Fold the sides of the baggie over the rim.
Heat 3 Tablespoons coconut oil in a medium saucepan over low heat.
When the oil has melted, add 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and a generous pinch of sea salt.
Using a rubber spatula, stir constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and the consistency of chocolate syrup. If the chocolate mixture seems too thick, add more coconut oil.
Pour the melted chocolate into the baggie and set it in the frig to cool while you begin topping the cookie crust.
The chocolate syrup is much like the peanut butter mixture. The temperature controls/determines the consistency and you control the temperature.
Step 6: Cookie Construction
Snip a 1/2" section from the corner of the baggie and pipe about 1/2 of the peanut butter mixture onto the cookie crust as pictured.
Peel the barely-ripe bananas, slice them horizontally, the vertically into nice chunks. Scatter them equally over the peanut butter mixture.
Scatter the toffee bits over the banana chunks.
Snip a tiny section from the corner of the baggie filled with chocolate syrup. Drizzle about 1/2 of it equally over the bananas.
Pipe the remaining peanut butter mixture over the bananas.
Drizzle with the remaining chocolate syrup and sprinkle with sea salt if you don't forget. (like I did. ;-)
In a nutshell, layer with:
- 1/2 Peanut butter mixture
- Banana chunks
- Toffee niblets
- 1/2 Chocolate syrup
- Remaining peanut butter mixture
- Remaining Chocolate syrup
- Sea salt (optional)
Refrigerate the filled pan immediately. When the chocolate drizzle has set (5- 10 minutes), cover with plastic wrap. Put the cookie pan back into the frig. Chill for a few hours (and up to 3-4 days!) before serving.
Let the cookies sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before you slice and serve them.
Step 7: Author's Notes and Credits:
It's been 4 days since I made these cookies. I just finished eating the very last one I had hidden in the frig. (good thing, because the rest just magically disappeared!)
Seriously beyond nom nom nom. I didn't want this cookie to end... ever.
I think they taste better now than they did on day one. You can definitely put this cookie on your make-ahead recipe roster. I don't recommend freezing it though. The banana chunks would probably revolt. 8-/
The peanut butter/ coconut oil filling in this recipe is nothing shy of delicious. It's also quite versatile. I've used it to make to-die-for Buckeyes and homemade Peanut Butter Cups. Homemade Tagalongs are next on my must-bake list... right after I lose the 5 lbs I gained during this cookie challenge. 8-/
For those of you who've never tried coconut oil, please do yourself a favor and make this recipe! You'll be a convert! Extra Virgin Coconut oil is extremely healthy and has almost no taste or smell. It's rapidly gaining popularity and can be purchased at many stores (like Trader Joe's) or even online at Amazon.com.
Special thanks to army wife over at zestuous.com for her fabulous toffee recipe. Down here in Baja, I wouldn't have been able to purchase Heath bar bits even if I wanted to. They added such a delicious crunch to the Chunky Monkey Squares, I won't ever leave them out of this recipe.
And finally... Thank you for stopping by! ;-)