Um, it's August 5th. AUGUST. What the actual [insert expletive of choice here]?!
You see, August is a very busy month in Graham land: tons of birthdays (including mine, I'll be accepting donations of Williams-Sonoma gift cards all month long), the back-to-school mental and emotional preparation, this crazy New Orleans swamp-like heat and humidity. It's just a lot.
Even though I don't go back to college for another three weeks, this whole end of summer thing is starting to freak me out. But this panic isn't about my schedule or getting back into studying. For the first time in my life, I'm actually *gasp* excited to go back to school. Instead, I'm freaking about more important things. You know, like, how I can possibly whip up every single summery dessert I've been planning on making but haven't actually made yet.
Case in point: Banana Pudding.
(Okay, so maybe banana pudding isn't really an exclusively summer dessert, but in my brain it is. So let's just go with it.)
For somebody that eats bananas every single day, you would think that I'd get sick of them after a while. Nah, I still crave them. My craving was so bad that in Europe, I had a slight mental breakdown where I exclaimed that my life onboard our cruise ship was "devoid of all normalcy" because the buffet didn't have bananas readily available for my consumption every day. Dramatic, I know — but hey, I'm a typical Leo. Anyways, this past week my craving was so bad that I just had to cure it with banana pudding.
True to form, I didn't settle for just any straight-up banana pudding. Nope, I decided to throw in some extra calories and a heavy dash of totally unnecessary amazingness. The pudding? It's infused with Nilla Wafers. (I firmly believe that infusing things in milk is the next frontier, y'all.) The whipped cream? Perfectly flavored with salty salted caramel. And if that's not enough for my fellow salted caramel lovers: don't worry, there's some extra in between the layers too.
Anybody that knows me personally knows that I absolutely loathe cake mixes and premade cookie doughs. Don't even get me started on that "just add water" sorcery. Uh, how is that even possible? (No please, let me know.) HOWEVER, I have this strange love for trashy Paula Deen-style banana pudding. Said pudding involves only 4 ingredients: cream cheese, condensed milk, cold milk, and instant vanilla pudding mix. Pudding isn't even hard to make from scratch.
I would normally feel overwhelmed with guilt for cheating on my own morals, but this stuff, it's just too good. Feel free to call me Honey Boo Boo from now on; I wont mind, I'm too busy stuffing my face with this banana pudding,
Nilla Wafer Pudding
- 1 box Nilla Wafers
- 3 cups whole milk
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 14 oz. can condensed milk (I only used 3/4 of the can)
- 1 5 oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix
In a medium bowl, pour milk over Nilla Wafers. Let steep for 1 hour before straining and refrigerating until cold.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in the condensed milk to combine until smooth. Finally, add the pudding mix and infused milk. Beat until thickened.
Salted Caramel Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup salted caramel (Note: you can use jarred sauce or make your own.)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste or extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together all ingredients until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Extras + Assembly
- 1 box Nilla Wafers
- 5 bananas, sliced
- more salted caramel
In a trifle dish or individual mason jars, layer:
- Nilla Wafers
- Salted Caramel
- Sliced bananas
- Salted Caramel Whipped Cream
- Repeat all that good stuff one more time.
- Top with crushed wafers and salted caramel.