The other day while shopping with my mom, she picked up a box of Nilla Vanilla Wafers. That box brought back so many wonderful childhood memories. It was one of my favorite cookies to eat as a kid (that and Lorna Doones) and I remembered the old Wafer Banana Pudding that folks used to make with them back in the day. I immediately asked my mom if she'd let me make said pudding as I'd remembered seeing a recipe for it on Pinterest. So yes, I deprived my mother of her box of cookies just so I could make a dessert.
The first thing I noticed when I went to look at the recipe for Nilla Banana Pudding was that it wasn't exactly the recipe I remembered from my childhood. It seemed to be a much fancier version and, alas, a much more caloric recipe (not that the original was diet food). The recipe was from a Paula Deen version that used Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies instead of NIlla Wafers. I admit, it's an impressive version with those Chessmen on top, but I really was just looking for the old fashioned version with the Wafers. And while there were many variations of Paulas recipe, it was one by Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour that caught my eye. Okay, just the name of the blog caught my eye, but it was her double pudding version of the Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding that I decided needed to be made.
The Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour version uses two boxes of the pudding mix which I think just sent this whole thing over the top and made it super rich. But not so rich that anyone who I gave a piece to, didn't ask if they could have seconds! Easy to put together, no baking during the hot months of summer, this is one great blast from the past dessert to serve, especially for this upcoming holiday.
I made a few changes to her recipe which is what I'm listing here. For the original, please go to Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour's original post. Be sure to check out her blog in general (subtitled, A Pinch of June Cleaver, A Dash of Martha Stewart and a Whole Lotta Mommy!). You'll find some tasty recipes and some great DIY home projects.
Of course I do plan on making this again. But next time I'm just gonna go all diva on the thing and drizzle some rum over those wafers...maybe even coconut rum and then mix in some toasted coconut into the pudding mixture. Hey, go big or go home!
NOT YO' MAMA'S BANANA PUDDING
(adapted from Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour)
6 bananas sliced (not too ripe, but not green either)
3 cups milk
2 3.4-ounce boxes Jello Instant French Vanilla Pudding
1 11-ounce box Nilla Vanilla Wafers
1 8-ounce package cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 8-ounce container Cool Whip (thawed)
Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan with the Nilla Wafers (I used a glass pan). Evenly slice your bananas and place them on top of your Nilla Wafers overlapping if necessary.
Combine the milk and pudding mix in a medium size bowl using a handheld mixer until just mixed.
In a separate bowl, with the handheld mixer, mix together the cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth. Gradually fold in the Cool Whip.
Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mix and stir until well blended.
Pour the mix evenly over the bananas and smooth to make a flat surface. Layer the remaining Nilla Wafers on top of the pudding mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 12 servings.
NOTE: I used 6 medium bananas that were fairly on the ripe side. Next time I'd probably not let them get as ripe. The recipe I followed only used four bananas but I really wanted a banana taste so I used six. You could use more or less depending on how much banana taste you wanted.
NOTE: Most recipes call for a 12 ounce container of Cool Whip. My store only had the 8 ounce so that's what I used. The mixture almost spilled over the sides of the pan anyway so the 8 ounce worked fine for me. Gave me a more banana flavor I think too.
NOTE: I actually had a good handful of Nilla Wafers left over. I probably could have crowded them in more but chose not to.
NOTE: The cookies need to soften a bit, so this actually works better to meld for several hours before serving. But the bananas do tend to darken after a bit so don't wait too long to serve this.