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Easy Peasy Puff Pastry Neapolitans

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comThe hubby came home with puff pastry sheets when he ran to the grocery store…I knew what that meant! He was making our Easy Peasy Puff Pastry Neapolitans! If you like cream puffs, then you will love this dessert. You can’t live in Columbus, Ohio and not like cream puffs. We are home to the famous Schmidt’s Sausage Hause. They serve awesome, authentic German food and are known for miles around for their super huge, extremely tasty cream puffs! Nothing beats a Schmidt’s Cream Puff but these Easy Peasy Puff Pastry Neapolitans come very close! Simple to make and if serving this dessert to friends, they will think you are master French chefs. Your secret is safe with us!

Printable Recipe: Easy Peasy Puff Pastry Neapolitans

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Ingredients:

  • Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets

  • 3.4 oz Jell-O French Vanilla Instant Pudding

  • 8 oz Frozen Whipped Topping, Thawed

  • 1 Cup Milk

  • Powdered Sugar

  • Chocolate Syrup (optional)

Directions:

Cut each sheet of puff pastry into squares approximately 2” in size.

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Bake according to package directions.

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While pastry is baking, whisk instant pudding and milk together for 2 minutes by hand in a medium-sized bowl.

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Fold in the whipped topping. Place pudding mix in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

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Once pastry puffs are cooled, split pastry squares in half.

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Dollop and spread the pudding mix onto the bottom pastry puff.

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Put puff pastry top back on top of pudding mix. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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But why stop at just powdered sugar? Everything is better with chocolate! Drizzle chocolate syrup over the top. Be sure to serve immediately. If not serving for a while, cover the pudding mix in the fridge. Put neapolitans together just prior to serving.

This is definitely a family favorite for the Packs!

 

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Oreo Cream Fluff

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comIf you check out my recipe archive, it’s obvious I favor making desserts! If you are visiting and there aren’t any home-made dessert goodies found in the kitchen, then you should leave immediately! You are at the wrong house! LOL One of my favorite quickie desserts are the Pillow Sandies. I can’t begin to describe the yummy sensation of whipped topping melting in your mouth with yummy crumbs from pecan sandies! Not to mention it is a 3-ingredients dessert (my favorite kind of recipe). I started thinking, I bet this recipe would work on just about any cookie? So the Oreo Cream Fluff was born! Again, 3-ingredients is all it takes to achieve a creamy, chocolaty and fluffy taste explosion! Give this easy and cool dessert a try! It’s perfect in the summer time! No oven, no cooking…just dip and drop!

Printable Recipe: Oreo Cream Fluff

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Oreo cookies

  • Milk

  • 16 oz container of frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

Pour milk in a glass this is wide and deep enough for you to dunk a whole Oreo cookie in.

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Dunk one Oreo cookie at a time in the milk. Place the dunked

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Oreo cookie in a glass dish in an even layer.

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Cover the Oreo cookie layer with a layer of whipped topping.

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Repeat steps 2 and 3, two times more ensuring you have three Oreo cookies left over.

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In a sandwich-size Ziploc, smash the cookies using the side of a meat tenderizer.

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Spread the crushed Oreo crumbs all over the last layer of whipped topping. Cover the dish and place in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours to chill. Scoop out and enjoy! Store any leftover in a covered dish in the fridge.

Red, White & Blue Strawberries

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Having been born in the Philippines to my Navy father and Filipina mother, I have patriotic blood running deep within. I’ve lived in the Philippines and Japan. Been to Canada and Mexico. When you step off American soil onto foreign land, it is in that moment that you recognize and appreciate what it means to be American. The government of the United States is the result of a revolution in thought. It was founded on the principle that all persons have equal rights, and that government is responsible to, and derives its powers from, a free people. These rights are guaranteed no matter your race, your gender, your religion, your sexual preference, your socioeconomic class or any other psycho-social classification. The right to be educated, more specifically the right to be an educated woman, is the right I cherish the most.

We are in the middle of the long holiday weekend. It is Memorial Day weekend. A time to remember and give thanks to those who guaranteed our American rights. The soldiers in all of our branches along with first responders serving at the local level, the firefighters, EMTs and police officers serve to protect our freedom. Freedom isn’t free. It has been paid for with blood. Let us all remember why we are gathering with family and friends for cookouts over this weekend…this holiday reminds all of us how blessed we are to live and be a part of the great

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

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We will be bringing to a cookout some patriotic red, white and blue strawberries! Really easy to make! Rinse and dry off ripe, fresh strawberries. I chose to use short shish kebab sticks and pierced the strawberries through the stem (but not all the way through the tip of the strawberry). You can omit this and just hold the strawberry leaves when dipping. Place blue sanding sugars in a small bowl. Melt down white candy coating (found around chocolate chips used for baking) in a small but deep enough dish that allows you to dip the strawberries 2/3 up to the stem in white candy. Gently shake off the excess. Gently dip the coated strawberry 1/3 the way up in blue sanding sugars. See the photos for how much white candy melt and blue sanding sugar to use. If using shish kebab sticks, place sticks in a styrofoam block until the white candy melt sets. If not using shish kebab sticks, gently lay the dipped strawberry onto wax paper until the white candy melt sets.

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We are also taking one of our favorite desserts with us, our Strawberry Pretzel Dessert! Yum, yum, yum! Be safe friends and family and give thanks to those who deserve our respect this memorial weekend!

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Soft, Iced Oatmeal Cookies

I do believe I have a new favorite cookie! I know, I know, I know…I say that every time I try a new cookie recipe, lol! But I really mean it this time! These Soft, Iced Oatmeal Cookies are AWESOME! Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom brought home those brick hard iced oatmeal cookies? They were cheap and they were literally bricks! Remember…you would dip the cookie in milk for like five minutes to soften it or let it sit on your tongue for like 10 minutes till it broke down just so you could chew them? The funny thing is, as hard as those cookies were, I still loved the flavor. This cookie reminds me of those beloved brick, iced oatmeal cookies however now they are even more flavorful and super soft! I’ve made these twice in the past couple weeks. The first time I took the cookies up to Mom & Dad’s for our annual prime rib family dinner (my absolute favorite meal in the world is Mom’s prime rib). I popped the lid off the container of cookies and I do believe they were pretty much gone before dinner…and we only arrived maybe half an hour before dinner was served, lol! craftycreativekathy.wordpress.com

The second time, I sent a dozen over to one of the kid’s in the neighborhood that is friends with our oldest son who had an unexpected surgery. I figured some homemade treats would cheer him right up.

Hope you are feeling better Kyle!

The rest of the batch disappeared that night between the kids and our kids’ friends (somehow we ended up having way too many teenage boys hanging out playing xbox, lol). So I’d love to tell you how long you could store these cookies for but I can’t get them to last any longer than a few hours, lol! Make these and your welcome…because I know you will thank me later, lol!

 Printable Recipe: Soft Iced Oatmeal Cookies

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (NOT quick cook oats)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup softened margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet.  Spread wax paper out on a counter or table.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

You don’t want to use quick-cook oats for this recipe. The old-fashioned oats create that awesome texture that makes these cookies undeniably oatmeal.

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In a large bowl, mix together the margarine, brown sugar and sugar with a hand mixer till well combined. What I love most about this recipe is that the dough is completely mixed together with a hand mixer (with the exception of the initial stirring of the dry ingredients). With my pulmonary hypertension, it’s hard for me to hand stir a lot of recipes so I really appreciate the recipes that come together with a mixer!

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Add eggs to the large bowl one at a time and mix together until dough is smooth for approximately 2-3 minutes.

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When I lay my margarine sticks out on the counter to soften up, I also set out the eggs so that they too warm up to room temperature. I think it helps the dough come together better when the eggs are not so cold. Add vanilla to the large bowl and mix together.

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Add half of the dry ingredients and mix scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

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Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix, again, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop out a level portion onto the parchment paper leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.

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To ensure a more round cookie, carefully release the dough from the cookie scoop into a round mound (see photo above). Look at all those delicious cinnamon specks in that dough! Bake for 10 minutes until the edges are golden. Don’t overbake…you really want this to be a soft cookie. Also, since they cool down initially on the cookie sheet, it will continue to cook for a minute or two outside of the oven. The cookies puff up slightly but the centers will flatten out some while the cookies are cooling down.

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Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the wax paper previously spread out on the counter or table and allow the cookies to completely cool down before icing. I always use parchment paper whenever I bake cookies. I buy it at GFS and they come in this huge package of pre-cut sheets. Of course, their pre-cut is meant for industrial kitchens that use these oober huge cookie sheets. I just cut their parchment paper in half and it fits perfectly in my large cookie sheets. If I’m using my smaller cookie sheets (around 10 in x 15 in size), I do have to cut the parchment paper a second time in half so that it fits in those cookie sheets. I don’t mind the few minutes it takes to cut the parchment paper (I cut several layers at once) because they are so much cheaper than parchment paper by the roll you would find at the grocery store.

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To also save money, I use each sheet of parchment paper at least twice. After I remove the cookies from one side, I flip the paper over and reuse it. These cookies come right off the parchment paper without leaving any crumbs behind so I was actually able to use just two sheets (one for each of the two cookie sheets I used) several times by just flipping them over and then back over again. Obviously reusing parchment paper won’t work for every recipe, especially if it is a wet cookie dough. But if the cookie comes off cleanly from the parchment paper, then save some money and use it again for the next batch of cookies! This recipe made approximately 64 cookies, yep, that’s a mighty fine number of cookies to come from one recipe! I’m thinking this will have to become one of the cookies I make for Christmas from here on out because they look snowy and you can make so many of them at once!

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In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk with a hand mixer until the icing is smooth and free of lumps.

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Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The icing should have a thick consistency (add another tablespoon of milk if too thick), slightly thicker than Mod Podge.

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Using a silicone pastry brush, brush icing onto the cookies in a thin, even layer. Don’t cake it on, you want to see the icing go into the nooks and crannies while leaving some peaks exposed. I guess you could use a bristle pastry brush, but it slid off easier from the silicone pastry brush (which by the way is Betty Crocker brand and I bought it at Dollar Tree for a buck).

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As the icing dries, the bristle marks seem to melt away and the icing becomes this smooth glaze with a pretty glossy effect.

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Spencer was adamant he should ice the cookies. I did convince him to let me ice half of them and he did end up icing the other half.

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As you can tell, I’m not sure if he was icing the cookie or his hand? He just kept giggling because the pastry brush tickled his chubby little palms.

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After all the cookies were iced (and it took a long time for Spencer to finish icing his half of the cookies, lol) he asked if he could just “paint” his hand…

I thought that’s what he was doing already?

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I told him to go for it and then he licked it all off one finger at a time, lol!

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Allow the icing to dry for approximately 20-30 minutes before storing in an airtight container.

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This is really a yummilicious cookie! Enjoy!

German Chocolate Cake Pops

Of all the cake pops I have made the past few years the German Chocolate Cake Pops are by far the absolute BEST! I used a German chocolate cake mix and coconut and pecan frosting. Bake the cake as directed or you could doctor up the plain old cake box mix this WAY.

Allow the cake mix to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, don on some disposable gloves and smash the cake into pieces.

Add a hearty (half the tub) dollop of icing and with your gloved hands mash the cake and icing together into one mound of mushy cake.

I use a one-inch cookie scoop to scoop out the balls in even portions.

With still gloved hands, roll the scoops into tight balls. Chill in the fridge while melting Wilton Light Cocoa Candy Melts in a double boiler or my favorite kitchen appliance, the Wilton Deluxe Candy Melter.

After the cake balls had chilled for a bit, I took the remainder of the frosting and put it in a sandwich Ziploc bag. I snipped the edge and piped a dollop of the oh-so-yummy icing on top of each ball. Place back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until chilled again.

Dip about 1/4″ of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate. Insert the lollipop stick directly into the dollop of icing and through most of the cake ball. Repeat with remaining cake balls. Add another bag of Wilton Light Cocoa Candy Melts to the double boiler or the candy melter. Place mini cupcake liners in a mini cupcake pan. Once melted into a smooth puddle, dip the entire cake ball and dollop of icing in the chocolate. Place the dipped cake pop into the mini cupcake liner ensuring the lollipop stick is standing straight up. I did about 6 at a time. I then sprinkled on red and black sugar crystals along with yellow jimmies. Repeat until all cake pops are dipped and coated with crystals and jimmies. One box of cake mix will make between 50-60 one-inch cake pops.

I made the flags using Word. One side of the flag is the German Flag and the other says “I love you” in German. You can download the flags HERE. After downloading, cut the paper in half from top to bottom. Then fold each half in half and cut out the flags. The flags will be double-sided. Using double-sided tape, wrap the flags around the lollipop sticks about 1/4″ from the top of the stick. You could also add a red, black or yellow ribbon under the flag for extra cuteness. These look awesome but trust and believe they TASTE AWESOME!

My brother, Mike, suggested I make the German Cake Pops and he was so right! Thanks Mike for the suggestion and for being the best brother a gal could ask for!

Need more cake pop ideas? Check out these prior posts!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Pops

Camo Cake Pops

Graduation Cake Pops

Baseball Cake Pops

Birthday Cake Pops

Snowman Cake Pops

Basketball Cake Pops

Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops – Thank You Gifts

I have made my fair share of cake pops, probably north of a couple thousand in the past 2-3 years. They are great to give as gifts and can easily be personalized. I focus mostly on the overall product. I believe the flags, sanding sugars, ribbons and designer cupcake liners are what make and break a good batch of cake pops. I’ve been told that my cake pops not only look good but taste fantastic. It’s all about the right proportion of cake versus icing and using quality chocolates. I had pretty much stuck with the basic cake mixes like chocolate, white and yellow. In the past few months I have ventured into more gourmet flavors.

One night while hanging out with some of our favorite people in the world, The Smalls, we talked about different flavors I could make into cake pops. Tami had the fantastic idea of a mint chocolate cake pop. Mint chocolate is a favorite among many folks so I thought I would give it a try. Mike also suggested German Chocolate Cake Pops and I knew I would give that a try as well (HERE is a link to the awesome German Chocolate Cake Pops).

I made the Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops specifically for Tami as a way to say “Thanks” for all that she does for our family and also just for being one of the bestest of pals throughout the years. The wheels were turning in my head on how to incorporate Andes Mints into my cake pops. I think I found the magic combination! I am also not one to recreate the wheel. Cake mixes are so affordable and most of the time very tasty. You can elevate the basic cake mix with a couple changes in the box’s recipe. One of my most popular posts (seriously, it has over 11, 100 views) is how to improve store bought cake mixes and store bought icing. You can check that post out HERE.

I started with Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate cake mix. Duncan Hines is a favorite cake mix of mine because the cakes always turn out moist. When I make cake pops, I generally stay away from the “whipped” icings. I think normal icing works better with cake pops.

After doctoring up the box recipe to make it more home-made, I added chopped up Andes Mints to the batter. I chopped up about 15 mints into tiny pieces. Stir the candy pieces right into the batter. Bake as directed and allow the cake to completely cool in the pan.

I know most folks will tell you to break apart the cake in a bowl…I don’t see the point in dirtying up another dish! I don on gloves and break the cake up in the pan it was baked in. I add about half a tub of doctored icing (again, see HERE on how to make store bought icing taste like it is home-made). Still with gloved hands, I slowly work the icing into the broken up cake pieces until I end up with a mound of mushed cake.

To keep my cake balls somewhat uniform in size, I initially scoop out the cake balls using a one-inch cookie scoop.

With gloved hands, I roll the cake out into tight balls. I put the cake pops in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes or however long it takes to melt a bag of Wilton’s Candy Melts in my Wilton Candy Melter. Dip the ends of a lollipop stick about 1/4 of an inch up the stick and insert it into the top of the rounded cake ball. Repeat until all cake balls have sticks. Add a second bag of Wilton Candy Melt to the candy melter and allow the candy to turn into a puddle of sweet bliss. I was so happy to find Wilton Mint Cocoa Candy Melts at Walmart! Now the cake was minty and so was the chocolate! While waiting for the candy to melt, I chopped up more Andes Mints (the remainder of the bag) and put the candy pieces in a bowl. I got out my mini cupcake pans and lined it with these cute gold mini cupcake liners. After the candy was completely melted, I dipped the cake ball straight down into the chocolate until it completely covered up the cake ball. Allow some of the chocolate to fall off and back into the pot while gently swirling the cake pop above the chocolate. Place the dipped cake pop into the cupcake liner ensuring the lollipop stick is straight. I dipped 6 cake pops at a time and then used a spoon to dump a small amount of the crushed Andes Mints on top of the cake pop. You want to sprinkle the crushed Andes Mints on top of the cake pop before the chocolate sets. Repeat until all cake pops are dipped and covered in Andes Mints.

I used Word to create the flags. Cut down the middle of the paper and fold each half in half (to create double sided flags). Cut the flags out individually. Using double-sided tape, wrap the flag around the lollipop stick about 1/4-inch down from the top. I cut an upside down “V” out of the side of the flag for extra cuteness! When the flags are added to the Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops, they instantly become an amazing Thank You gift. You can download the flags HERE. I suggest using cardstock when printing out your flags. I wish I would have added green ribbon underneath the flags but ran out of time. They still turned out cute!

The Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops also tasted quite divine! One box of cake mix, half a tub of icing, 1 bag of Andes Mints and 2 bags of Wilton Mint Cocoa Candy Melts cost about $12.00. I made almost 60 cake pops out of this! Making cake pops yourself is fun and easy. It is time consuming but well worth it! Sure beats the $1.50 most bakeries charge for just one cake pop! Give these Mint Dark Chocolate Cake Pops away as Thank You gifts because the recipient will LOVE them…you probably won’t be able to give them all away because you will want too keep some for yourself! Just wanted to say it again, thanks Tami & Mike for being you and for being the bestest of friends to The Pack Family. Here’s to many more years of friendship!

NEED MORE CAKE POP INSPIRATIONS? CHECK OUT MY PRIOR POSTS OF DIFFERENT CAKE POPS BY JUST CLICKING ON THE PHOTOS BELOW!

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Karen’s Banana Split Dessert

You are with them at least 40 hours a week. You collaborate, sometimes disagree but always in the end get the job done. I’ve always believed wholeheartedly to love what you do but also love who you do it with. When you choose a profession, choose it for every reason except the paycheck itself. Find something that ignites a passion in you. You either will love what you do or spend way too much time being bitter in life. I loved being a nurse. I loved helping others and knowing that everyday I went to work, I made a difference. Your coworkers can make or break you, so put your differences aside and find what is common between you…it makes your life so much easier. Let’s face it, one of the best ice breakers is food itself! The hubster, Steve, has been working at the same hospital going on 6 or maybe 7 years. He also works part-time at a home health agency for the past 3 years. Before that, he had one job for almost 13 years. This says a lot about my husband. He’s only 42-years-old. When he commits, he COMMITS. Were they always his dream job? Well, no…but he sees everything as an opportunity. He has told our sons a gazillion times to love what you do and be the best at what you do. Whether you become a doctor, a mechanic or a manager at a fast food joint, be the best you can be at your job and treat everyone with respect. He practices what he preaches and has made so many friends along the way. Sometimes, the folks at his work get together at lunch time for a potluck. Sometimes folks just bring a dish to share for no other reason than to share it. The other day, I sent him to work with a few dozen Milk Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies (they were delicious by the way and I’ll post that recipe soon) because that’s what we do…we share. Last week Steve almost tripped getting into the house from work with a wad of tin foil he was holding so delicately in his hand. He ran to the kitchen, grabbed a fork and said, “Try this!” I’m not kidding, he was that excited. With one bite, I can see why! This dessert was so heavenly. Fruity, creamy and whippy. The perfect summer treat (I know, it’s fall time now, lol). I do believe I have a new favorite dessert and it’s Karen’s Banana Split Dessert! Karen works with Steve and not only gave him a piece at work but also a piece for him to bring home to me. She also scribbled down the recipe and you folks are all in for a major treat! This post is dedicated to Karen. Thanks for the sweet treat! Give this a try folks and you will be thanking Karen too! I’ve made it twice already and shared it with my besties, Rhonda, Beth and Cindy. They gave 2 thumbs up on this dessert too!

Printable Recipe: Karen’s Banana Split Dessert

Ingredients:

  • 2 pre-made graham piecrusts
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick margarine/butter, melted
  • 2 – 8oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 bananas
  • Can of crushed pineapples, drained
  • 2 – 8oz tubs of Cool Whip
  • Approximately 20 maraschino cherries (no stems)

Directions:

Dump both graham piecrusts into a medium-sized bowl and break up the piecrusts into crumbs. I’m guessing you could just buy graham crumbs (Meijer sells a box around these parts) but this is what Karen said to get and I wanted to follow her recipe exactly as it was written. Some things are perfect and should be left well enough alone.

Add sugar to the crumbled piecrusts and stir until sugar is well blended into the graham crumbs.

Pour melted margarine/butter over the sugar/graham crumbs and stir till well combined.

Using a spatula spread the sugar/graham mix onto the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Press down with the spatula packing the crust down. Place pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.

While chilling the crust, place both blocks of cream cheese and powdered sugar in another medium-sized bowl. With a hand mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.

After 10 minutes, remove pan with the crust from the freezer. Evenly spread the cream cheese mix over the crust with a spatula.

Cut thin slices of bananas and evenly spread the slices over the cream cheese mix. Karen’s recipe called for 4 bananas to be sliced up. I found 2 to be plenty enough. The second time I made this, I used only one banana sliced, about 12 strawberries sliced thin and pineapple tidbits. It was fantastic!

Spread the crushed pineapple evenly over the sliced bananas. I do think that although it is a pain in the arse to drain crushed pineapples from a can, I think it was better than the tidbits I used on the second pan I made. Try it either way, the tidbits were still awesome but the crushed pineapples where awesome-er (is that a word?)!

Spread both tubs of Cool Whip on top of the bananas with a spatula.

Randomly place the maraschino cherries on top of the Cool Whip.You could also just place random slices of strawberry on top (that’s how Karen made it). We however inherited this humungo jar of maraschino cherries and I use them anytime I can. Chill in fridge for approximately 2 hours before serving.

How awesome is this?! Another no-bake dessert! Love, love, love these type of recipes! This recipe is seriously the most awesomest of dessert recipes!