PB and Banana Ice Box Trifle

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In my previous post, I created Pusheen-shaped sugar cookies made from scratch for my friend’s birthday party. They were placed on delicious vanilla and chocolate cupcakes made with buttermilk and sour cream. I had dedicated an entire day for each because I wanted to ensure they were made correctly and super delicious… but these cookies and cupcakes were not the stars of the evening. Oh no… the dessert that people went “bananas” over was this preservative-packed trifle made with all store-bought ingredients that took maybe 45 minutes to put together. Of course it was! I’m still getting over the fact that I purchased (and used) store-bought frosting – I mean, that’s a huge no-no in my world! But it’s SO easy to use as a top layer of this (or any) trifle and after it’s been melted and then refrigerated… it does, admittedly, taste pretty good.

The birthday girl isn’t really a cake person and is a big fan of the Jell-O no-bake cheesecake. It was no surprise that when I asked what she’d like for her birthday cake, she was shooting over recipes of all these pudding-ish/ ice box cake type desserts. I combined a couple different ideas into something that sounded like a dessert she would enjoy… basically combining peanut butter, bananas and some sort of pudding-like consistency. It’s personally not my favorite, mainly because I’m not huge into peanut butter desserts. However, I will tell you that on the evening of the party, when many drinks were had, and we were all hungry for more food… it was just the thing. JUST the thing.

PB and Banana Ice Box Trifle:

1 box chocolate graham crackers (there will be a few graham crackers left over)
2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes vanilla instant pudding
1 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 bunch of bananas
1 can chocolate frosting

1) Do not forget to take your Cool Whip out of the freezer to fully thaw before you begin!!! Also, make sure you are creating this the night before you plan to serve this dessert. It needs to be refrigerated overnight to fully “gel” into place.

2) Mix pudding mix, milk and peanut butter with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes and then fold in the Cool Whip.

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3) On a cutting board, slice up a banana and keep it on standby because you are about to build your trifle. I liked to cut as I go so that the air isn’t on the banana slices for very long, which causes bananas to brown. Once they are in the pudding, they freeze in time and don’t brown.

4) Start with a quick spray of Pam and then jump right in with a layer of graham crackers in your trifle bowl. Since they are rectangular and not round like the trifle bowl, feel free to break them up and place so that it makes a layer as best you can.

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5) Scoop a few spoonfuls of pudding on top of the graham crackers, sprinkle some of your banana slices and then start again with another set of graham crackers and pudding.

6) At this point, I felt it was high enough up the glass to put in a layer of bananas against the sides so viewers can see them from the outside. The first time I made this dessert, I made just one row of “viewable” bananas. The second time, I made two rows – I liked the two rows better.

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7) I did more layering of graham crackers, pudding and bananas until it was high enough to create row 2 of bananas against the glass. A graham cracker layer is okay to be more than a single layering of graham crackers. This dessert does not require accuracy. Then I finished using all the pudding ingredients and ended the layering with graham crackers on top.

8) Heat the container of prepared frosting, uncovered in the microwave for 30-60 sec (depending on how strong your microwave is). Pour over the top. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.

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I happen to have a trifle bowl that I used for this and it worked well to display the bananas along the sides. If you don’t have a trifle bowl, you can use a 9×13 pan and do 2 layer-sets of graham crackers, pudding, bananas with a final layer of graham crackers and then the frosting.

This is a great dessert for an upcoming Mother’s Day, bridal/baby shower or other spring event that’s coming up! Just make sure it stays cold and the peanut butter/ non-cake people will love it! (How am I friends with one of these people?!)

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