OK, OK, I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t you just make an Oreo cake? How many Oreo desserts can one family eat? Well, thanks to my husband’s intense love of Oreos, there can never be enough sandwich cookie-themed treats. For Father’s Day, I made my favorite — frozen Oreo monkey bars in muffin form. I must assume they’re called monkey bars because of the bananas in the middle.
I got the recipe from my friend Jennell, who kindly emailed it to me last spring. I made it a few days after receiving her email, and proceeded to eat three of the monkey muffins for breakfast. Over the next two or three weeks, I made these evil things three times. Three times! After that, I restrained myself from making them again. Last week, just thinking about making these made my mouth water. I don’t want to set your expectations too high or anything, but, oh! Lord! These are amazing. They have an Oreo cookie crust topped with a blend of cream cheese, cool whip, crushed Oreos and chocolate sauce, with sliced bananas in the middle. The dessert is served frozen, and the texture is just delightful — airy, light (in taste, not in calories!), refreshing and satisfying. It’s not too sweet, and the crust provides just the right amount of crunch. The layer of banana slices in the middle fools you into thinking it’s OK to eat a few in a row.
Best of all, they’re also really easy to make, with no baking involved. The only equipment you need is a handheld mixer and a muffin tin. The original recipe calls for making the monkey bars in an 8×8 pan, but I agree with Jennell’s recommendation to making them as muffins. They’re much easier to serve because there’s no cutting involved, and you can make sure there are actually bananas in each serving. So, for the thousandth time, thank you for the recipe, Jennell!
Frozen Oreo Monkey Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
- 1 bag of mini Oreo cookies (you can also use a package of regular Oreos, but the mini bag yields just the right amount of crushed Oreos you’ll need, with a few leftover cookies for a cute garnish)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- One 8-oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk
- 1 8-oz tub of Cool Whip, thawed in the refrigerator
- 1 large banana, sliced thinly
- Chocolate syrup (I recommend using the good stuff, like Torani)
Line a muffin tin with cupcake cups. Set aside 12 mini Oreos for garnish, if desired. Chop or crush the rest of the Oreos. I dump the cookies into a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
Measure 1.5 cups of the crushed cookies into a microwave-safe bowl and add the 4 tablespoons of butter.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and milk until smooth. Set aside.
Add chocolate syrup to the tub of Cool Whip (make sure the whipped topping has been thawed in the fridge first; you won’t want to work with it frozen) and stir with a rubber spatula until well-mixed. I only add in enough to turn the Cool Whip a very light mocha color. I’ve never measured, but it can’t be more than two or three tablespoons of syrup.
Here I venture off of the original recipe by stirring in the remaining 1/2 cup or so of the crushed Oreos (the original recipe calls for sprinkling the crushed Oreos on top of the banana layer when you assemble the dessert, but I like the crushed cookies throughout the filling better). If you’d like to do the same, gently fold the rest of the crushed Oreos into the Cool Whip/chocolate syrup mixture. Then, transfer the Cool Whip mixture into the bowl containing the cream cheese mixture, and fold the two mixtures together thoroughly with a spatula.
Now you’re ready to assemble the monkey muffins. Spread a bit of the filling over the crust, up to about 1/3 of the way up the muffin cup. Place a layer of two or three banana slices on top of the filling.
Repeat until all the muffin cups are filled. You’ll have some filling left over; if you have more Oreos, you can make another batch later. Or, word to the wise, the filling also makes an excellent dip for vanilla wafers or fruit. If desired, stop each muffin with a mini Oreo.
Place the pan into the freezer. Let the muffins sit for at least 5-6 hours, or until frozen. When you’re ready to serve, just remove the muffin cups from the pan!