Monkey Squares

Bananas are a hot commodity in my house. My husband snags them when they’re still green and freezes them for his protein shakes. Something I don’t really understand but I’m sure he’s explained to me the scientific reason why underipe bananas are better for his workout shakes. Then there’s my little baby Wes who eats one for breakfast every morning.

This week Wes boycotted bananas and the bananas sitting on my counter were too ripe for John’s muscles so I found myself looking at a bunch of overipe bananas getting more ripe by the minute. My usual go-to is my favorite Banana Bread. Ohhh, it’s good. But today I made these Monkey Squares. It’s supermoist sour cream banana squares topped with a browned butter frosting. I found the recipe from a comment from a reader on another blog. I love finding recipes in obscure places. It’s a family favorite recipe…my favorite kind of recipe.

This picture does not do them justice. I LOVED them. They are good warm, cold, and room temperature. Browned butter anything gets me everytime. Make these…

Monkey Squares

Ingredients

    Banana Bread Bars:
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Browned Butter Frosting:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • about 3 tablespoons milk or half and half

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour 10x15 jelly roll pan or line with parchment paper (for thicker bars use a 9x13 pan). Beat first four ingredients until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla for one minute. Add dry ingredients and blend for one minute. Stir in nuts and spread in pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool slighty until warm but not hot and frost with Browned Butter Frosting (recipe below).
  2. For the Browned Butter Frosting: Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat past the melting point until it is boiling and a delicate brown. Remove from the heat and immediately add the remaining ingredients. This should be thicker than a glaze and thinner than frosting. Using a spatula smooth over the top of the Monkey Squares immediately. The frosting will be easier to spread once it's on the warm bread.

Notes

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/06/monkey-squares.html

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Comments

  1. Oh lordy, these look good. I’m a sucker for anything banana…

  2. Hmmmmm. I bet my picky 3 year old would actually LOVE these! He loves bananas.

  3. I just found your blog today and I LOVE it! My mom was looking for a fun Sunday treat to make and after seeing these, I recommended them. So we did! And they were DELICIOUS!! Everyone in my family loved them. Thanks for sharing! :D

  4. You had me at browned butter!

  5. Do we care if the butter is salted or unsalted?

  6. I’m always looking for new ways to use ripe bananas—my mom has made these before but I forgot about them until I saw them here. I can’t wait to make them!

  7. Can I use whole wheat flour instead? Or maybe whole wheat pastry?

  8. @Katherine,
    Shoot I don’t know if you can use whole wheat since I never have but I think it would turn out…

  9. I just made a banana cake, but I wish I had seen this recipe first. It sounds fabulous with that browned butter.

  10. @Ciao Chow Linda,
    Ooh girl it is…I’m not gonna lie. This is my new favorite way to use bananas. I just keep eating these…

  11. I made this recipe a couple days ago. I love love love the bread part, the topping is very sweet-I kinda wish it was just a light glaze. But super yummy!! Thanks:)

  12. I’m taking these around to people; otherwise, I’d finish them off myself and be fat and sick.

  13. Jordan & Lauren says:

    SOO Easy! The banana cake/bread was super moist! the frosting is like a caramel consistency so spread it quickly! One change i would make would be to sift the powered sugar so the frosting/glaze is ultra smooth. A real hit, delish and easy!

  14. Jordan & Lauren says:

    SOO Easy! The banana cake/bread was super moist! the frosting is like a caramel consistency so spread it quickly! One change i would make would be to sift the powered sugar so the frosting/glaze is ultra smooth. A real hit, delish and easy!

  15. oh my gosh, these are good… i didn’t have any sour cream on hand, so i used vanilla yogurt and it worked just fine. i love all of the flavors in this.

  16. This was absolutely delicious. I didn’t have enough sour cream, so I substituted cream cheese, and it is just divine. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. oooh thanks for sharing this recipe I love Monkey Squares they are just delicious, can’t wait for prepare it…thanks a lot =)

  18. I just made these today and there are very moist and delicious. I used creme fraiche because I had no sour cream. I was wondering can I freeze them?

  19. @Emer,
    I have not froze these but I think they would freeze beautifully!

  20. Love this recipe!

  21. Just made these and they are divine!

  22. Just wanted to let you know I made these bars and they were as good [or better] then you said! Omgosh, absolutely amazing! I included the link to my post if you wanted to check it out, thanks for the great recipe :)

    http://lifessimplemeasures.blogspot.com/2012/01/banana-bread-bars-with-brown-butter.html

  23. Thanks for the recipe. I just made them and they turned out great. I added a lil bit of cinnamon to my frosting it made it even YUMMIER!!!

  24. This was my second time making these, so I thought I’d let you know we loved them. The second time I subbed fat free plain yogurt for the sour cream and they were still super tasty! Thanks for a great alternative to banana bread!

  25. Just made-yum!!!! I used less powdered sugar (hence the above comment on it being super sweet) and it was perfect!

  26. I just made this – I dropped the sugar down to 1 cup – used Greek Yogurt instead of Sr. Cream – and added in 3 Tbsp of Chia Seeds for a little protein boost. I baked it in a 9×13 – and this is definitely a keeper!

  27. So, I’m a wee bit confused. It says to cool the bread before frosting, but under the frosting part, it says the frosting will be easier to spread on the warm bread. Do I cool the bread first or put the icing on while it’s warm?

  28. @Angela,
    You’re absolutely right-that is confusing. You want to spread the frosting on slightly cooled bread…still warm but not HOT!

  29. Household consensus was the bread was super yummy. It was nice and moist but still held up under pressure. The topping, however, was considered way too much. We ended up scraping it off, which was a shame, because I’m a browned butter fanatic. I think next time I’m going to make it into a loaf and then make a light browned butter glaze, just enough to moisten and add flavor to the top. Thanks for the recipe!

  30. These were super easy to make except I had one problem…there was NO way the frosting was thin enough to even be thick frosting. I had to add a good bit more milk to get the right consistency but then it was fine. Did I do something wrong?

  31. @Sarah,
    The frosting is super thick but is meant to be put on the warm bread then it kind of melts and is spreadable from there.

  32. I loved your recipe and posted a link to it on my blog: http://www.withglitteringeyes.com/2012/07/thanks-bunch.html

    Nadia

  33. hi i just baked and i had to add more milk to frosting..could not mix it – way too thick :( way too sweet also but cakes smells lovely. thanks

  34. I’m going to try these tonight!
    By the way, your PRINT FRIENDLY on this recipe doesn’t seem to work….?

    Jen

  35. @The6ofusinca,
    You’re right. It doesn’t work. It’s a plug-in I use so I’m not sure why it’s not working.

  36. This is probably one of my favorite recipes that I’ve found on your site! They are almost gone within the first day in our household! Definitely my go-to recipe when I have bananas that I need to use (much better than silly, boring banana bread :P)

    In response to your husband liking the green bananas for his health shakes, you should show him the study that recently came out of Japan stating that the more brown freckles the bananas have on them – the more they fight cancerous cells :P
    http://www.hoaxorfact.com/Health/full-ripe-banana-with-dark-patches-combats-abnormal-cells-and-cancer.html

  37. I made these for my son today and he loved them! He is not a frosting kind a kid so I didn’t use that part of the recipe but he said they were AMAZING!

    Thanks so much for posting this, I am always looking for new ways to use the bananas we don’t eat up. Love your blog/site.

    Shelah
    Blaine, MN

  38. All I can say is WOW!!!!!!! That frosting is AMAZING!!!

  39. I added 3/4 c of mini-chocolate chips. Really, really good.

  40. I made these, only instead of using a bar pan, I made muffins! I sprayed the muffin tins with cooking spray, and baked them for 15 minutes. Then frosted them with the browned butter frosting, they turned out awesome!

  41. My favorite new recipe find on Pinterest. Included them on my Christmas goodie platter. Added mini chocolate chips. Loved the dense, almost chewy texture and strong banana flavor. Good for breakfast, snack, or dessert. Any excuse :)

  42. I made these today for the first time and they are easy to make and soooooo good!

  43. Mmm! Thank you so much for discovering this recipe. My family kept on coming back for thirds!

    Here are the ones I made!
    http://thekitchenkook.blogspot.com/2013/01/moist-banana-bars-with-brown-butter.html

  44. I just made this recipe this morning. It is sinfully good. And extra delish with a hot, steamy cup of coffee on the side:)

  45. I made these last night I found them on Pinterest. I am not a hater but I am definitely not impressed. They were dense and tasted just alright. It is one of those cases where they look amazing, taste good but I would not make them again.

  46. Also, I agree with the other comments, the frosting was waaaay too much. It needed a thinner layer than what was called for in the recipe.

  47. These are so good! Turned out moist and delicious :) The frosting was a little too sweet for my liking but I would just cut back on the sugar a bit. I baked mine in a 9 by 13 pan for 30 minutes since I didn’t have a jelly roll pan. I was looking for something to do with over ripe bananas other then banana bread, and this recipe is keeper :) Will be definitely sharing these with friends and family.

  48. I made this, it was fantastic. Very full of flavor. The walnuts are a must.

  49. Love this recipe! I’m usually a banana bread girl but this is literally takes the cake for banana lovers!
    I made cupcakes instead with pecans and a cream cheese icing and they are to die for!
    Just ate one for breakfast :) naughty

  50. Oh my YUM! They disappeared quickly around here and then my son’s 4th grade class asked for them when they saw the pieces I took to the teacher. So I guess I’m making a batch for the end of year party tomorrow.

  51. I’ve made these twice in one week! Good stuff!! Thanks for sharing.☺

  52. These are fantastic, I made them for July 4th picnic and they went like crazy.

  53. I just, literally just now, made these. The picture does not do them justice. They are wonderful!! Perfect recipe for so many occasions! Loved it!!

  54. I needed a quick dessert to make for a party and I had pinned this recipe a while back decided to make it today. These are absolutely delicious. I used a cookie sheet pan and lined it with parchment paper. These turned out beautiful…so glad I tried this recipe.

  55. Whenever I need a ‘pick-me-up’, I come to your blog and try a new recipe. Your stories and ability to relate to your viewers is fantastic…and I want you to know that this blog consistently makes ‘someone somewhere’ very happy. Thank you! :)

  56. SO EASY AND SO GOOD! I made this recipe into cupcakes. Used fat free sour cream. Added walnuts and mini chocolate chips (dusted with flour). Didn’t have any eggs, so I used an egg substitute. Frosted with a simple powdered sugar frosting. OH YUM! Everyone loves them! I have to leave the kitchen because I can’t stop eating.

  57. I didn’t have sour cream in the fridge, so I used a substitute I found in the net- sour milk with a little added melted butter! It turned out amazing! Absolutely delicious! Made a huge pan. I divided it in three and gave two thirds away! Fun!

    • I also used a little less powdered sugar and a little more milk… But the slightly burning the butter really does change the flavor! Thank you for sharing!

    • I also used a little less powdered sugar and a little more milk… But the slightly burning the butter really does change the flavor! Thank you for sharing!

  58. Could you use frozen bananas? I always freeze my overripe bananas for future use.

  59. I made these today and they were one of the best things I have ever eaten! So delicious! Thank you for the recipe! My family thanks you as well! :)

  60. This is my most-made Pinterest recipe. I’d never had such good frosting before but I have to tell you, I had some leftover brandy from another recipe and I tossed in about an ounce and a half (added a bit more sugar to help the consistency) and it’s un-freaking-believable!
    Either way, the squares are moist and delicious every time (I use half dark brown sugar, half white) and they’re just perfect. My husband eats a whole pan In three days.

    • Ooh, should clarify, I don’t usually use four cups of icing sugar, much too sweet. 3 is LOTS but the brandy helps cut the sugary taste too :)

  61. I made this for our bible study class & everyone loved it!!! Definitely better than regular old banana bread!! Thank you for the new favorite recipe!!

  62. Just made these and they look (and smell) delicious! I can’t wait to eat one after dinner :) So happy to have another frosting recipe to stick in my cookbook too!

    • Also, I only used half the frosting, so I need to make another batch to use the rest up :p Took them to my kids’ swim teachers and will be feeding some to friends tomorrow. They were delicious! I left out the nuts for kid-safety.

    • Christy {The Girl Who Ate Everything} says:

      So glad you loved it!

  63. I made these last night in a jelly roll pan. I didn’t have walnuts, so I used pecans. I was in the mood for a cream cheese frosting so I made it (stick of softened butter, 8 oz pckg softened cream cheese, tsp of vanilla, & box of powdered sugar) instead of your frosting. Your frosting does sound good, though, and I plan on trying it the next time I make these, and there WILL be a next time. They were so good! Since the jelly roll pan makes so many servings, I was able to share with friends & neighbors. I rarely get around to posting on blogs, but I do read yours, and have had great success with all your recipes that I have tried. Thank you for sharing them!

    • Oh, and I did cool the cake completely before spreading the cream cheese frosting on it. In fact, after it had slightly cooled, I stuck the entire pan in my deep freeze for a few minutes to speed along the cooling process.

    • Christy {The Girl Who Ate Everything} says:

      Renna,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave feedback. I’m glad you loved them and thanks for reading! Nice to meet you!

  64. Can I use banana yoghurt instead of sour cream?

  65. I made these tonight! I used a regular cake pan, so they it turned out more like a cake than brownies, and I only ended up needing about half of the icing, but they were WONDERFUL! My 2 yo loved the “monkey cake” so much!

  66. WAY TOO SWEET. I used 1 1/4 cups sugar and halved the icing and it’s still too sweet. I did like the use of a jelly roll pan to make them bite sized squares. Next time even less sugar and maybe cut the icing with some cream cheese and peanut butter.

  67. Monkey bread came out really tasty and moist. A bit too seet for me, next time I would use less sugar. I also didn’t have sour cream so I used yogurt. And I didn’t have enough powdered sugar so MIy frosting was more of a glaze. Overall great recipe and will definitely make it again!

  68. These are moist and wonderful