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Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Bars

Prep Time:

45 minutes

Bake Time:

10 minutes

Total Time:

7 hours

Yields:

9-12 servings

Level:

Intermediate

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 60 Nilla wafers plus more for topping

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted

 

For the filling:

  • ⅔ cup heavy cream, room temperature

  • 16 ounces cream cheese (2 blocks), room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large box instant banana pudding powder (5.1 ounces)

  • ½ cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 ripe bananas, thinly sliced


For the salted caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, cubed

  • ½ cup heavy cream, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Tools Needed

Baking Dish

Food Processor

Hand Mixer

Cooling Rack


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Preparation

Adapted from Grandbaby Cakes


  1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. Place Nilla wafers in a food processor and pulse until only crumbs remain.

  3. Transfer crumbs to a medium size bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter.

  4. Press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the baking dish.

  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust turns golden brown. Let cool completely.

  6. Make the salted caramel sauce: Heat granulated sugar in a medium heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn it.

  7. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately stir in the butter until melted and combined.*

  8. After the butter has melted and combined with the caramelized sugar, stir constantly as you very slowly pour in the heavy cream. Since the heavy cream is colder than the hot caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. After all the heavy cream has been added, stop stirring and allow to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.

  9. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Allow to slightly cool down before using. Caramel thickens as it cools.

  10. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Caramel solidifies in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove to desired consistency.

  11. Make the filling: Using a hand mixer (medium-high setting), whip heavy cream in a medium sized bowl until stiff peaks develop then refrigerate. Clean beaters.

  12. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese with a hand mixer (medium-high setting) until fluffy.

  13. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and slowly add in the sugar, banana pudding powder, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat until well incorporated.

  14. Carefully fold pre-made whipped cream into the cream cheese batter using a rubber spatula.

  15. Taste and add a little powdered sugar to further sweeten, if desired.

  16. Assemble the bars: Line the bottom of the Nilla wafer crust with thinly sliced bananas.

  17. Pour and evenly spread banana pudding filling over bananas and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, until completely firm. 

  18. Before eating, garnish with Nilla wafers and drizzle with salted caramel sauce. Serve chilled. 

 

*Be careful! The caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. If the butter separates or if the sugar clumps up, remove pan from heat and vigorously mix to combine it again then return to heat.

Tags

Dessert

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