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Refreshing Peanut Butter, Banana Icebox Pie

In the heat of summer, what could be more satisfying than a cool, refreshing dessert like an icebox pie? Peanut butter, banana icebox pie will quench your desire for a frosty treat that is slightly more rich and decadent than the traditional lemon icebox pie.

This pie is an especially great option for those who do not love sour desserts or just for folks looking to try a new version of icebox pie. Enjoy this delightful dessert after a hot day in the sun, and you will feel refreshed and rewarded by the smooth texture of this frozen delicacy. 

peanut butter, banana icebox pie
Peanut Butter, Banana Icebox Pie
Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Now, let’s prepare a delicious peanut butter, banana icebox pie. 

The Ingredients

The Crust:

  • honey graham crackers 
  • butter 

The Chocolate Crust Sauce: 

  • coconut oil 
  • cocoa powder
  • brown sugar

The Filling:

  • frozen banana for blending 
  • room temperature bananas to top the crust 
  • cream cheese (softened) 
  • peanut butter 
  • brown sugar
  • almond extract

The Toppings:

Honey Graham Crackers

This recipe embraces a childhood delicacy: honey graham crackers. Because they are so sweet, they need no added sugar. Just grind them and bind them. 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

If you are looking to avoid sugar or if you do not like graham crackers, alternate crust options include ground peanuts, ground almonds, ground cookies, or other ingredients that can be finely ground into a sand-like texture.

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Butter

Butter acts as a binder for the graham cracker crust in your peanut butter banana icebox pie. 

Combine the crumbled graham crackers with melted butter to create a sand-like mixture, and then press that mixture into an oiled or buttered pie plate. 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Bake your crust for 10 minutes to better bind the ingredients and build a stronger foundation for your frozen filling. After baking, let the pie crust cool. After cooling, place the pie crust in the freezer. This will help your crust sauce harden more quickly. 

Other ingredients you might consider adding to your crust include honey for extra sweetness or coconut oil in place of butter for a healthier version of the pie. 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Coconut Oil and Cocoa Powder

These two ingredients pair to make a classic hardening sauce commonly used to create a chocolate-dipped cone. When added to a frozen crust, the sauce coats the graham crackers and hardens over the crust, giving the bottom layer of your pie a chocolate bar solidity. You will love the way these textures mingle playfully in your mouth and give your peanut butter, banana icebox pie a well-composed variety of consistencies.

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Be careful not to burn the cocoa powder. Cooking cocoa powder at too high of a temperature can cause the powder to burn, creating a charred, metallic flavor in your chocolate sauce. The cocoa dissolves quickly, even at a low temperature. Whisk the powder and coconut oil quickly to keep any particles from remaining too long on the bottom of the pan. 

Adding brown sugar sweetens the sauce and adds volume and viscosity so your sauce can more easily stick to the peanut butter, banana cream pie crust. 

Allow the mixture to cool a little before pouring on your pie crust and then, immediately place crust back in the freezer for the best hardening effect. 

Skip this step if you are pressed for time or if you prefer a more traditional crust.

Frozen Bananas

Freeze your bananas before blending them with other ingredients. If you pre-freeze your bananas, when blended, they will integrate more fully into your other ingredients and add a velvety smoothness to your peanut butter, banana icebox pie. 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Room Temperature Bananas

On top of being delicious, bananas have amazing health benefits, so you do not have to feel guilty about adding extra tasty morsels to your peanut butter, banana icebox pie.

Adding room-temperature bananas to the top of the crust builds one more dimension of texture into your dessert. They freeze into the filling, acting as a frozen surprise inside of the pie. 

Skip this step if you do not have enough bananas or if you prefer a simpler recipe.

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Cream Cheese 

Wait until the cream cheese has softened to get the best texture. If you add cream cheese to your mixer before allowing it to soften, the cream cheese will stick to your mixer and create lumps in your filling. 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter thickens your cream, pairs delightfully with chocolate and bananas, and adds salt to your dish. That saltiness in dessert works to get your salivary glands excited and balances the flavors in your dessert, so the taste is not overwhelmingly sweet. Believe me, this balance keeps you coming back for more and creates a craving that can only be quenched by banana, peanut butter icebox pie. 

In this recipe, 1/4 cup of peanut butter is combined into the cream. Any equal amount of nut butter can be used as a replacement. If you are allergic to nuts or certain kinds of nuts, here are a few alternatives you might find suitable for this and other recipes.

Almond Extract

Almond extract is one of my favorite ingredients as it increases earthy nutty flavors and gives your cream depth of flavor. If you are allergic to almonds, or if you do not have almond extract, vanilla extract, other extracts, vanilla beans, or vanilla paste can be used in its place. 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Hershey’s Syrup

After making your hardening sauce, you can reserver a little extra to pour on top of the pie, but I really like simplifying my pie preparation by using Hershey’s Syrup. Adding this syrup reminds me of childhood, eating banana splits and topping it with as much whipped cream and syrup as I could get my hands on. So, go wild and embrace your inner child: pour on the Hershey’s. 

Whipped Cream

The whipped cream topping adds fluffy goodness that couples with pretty much any dessert. If you are whipping your own cream, try adding almond extract, vanilla beans, vanilla extract, banana extract, or some combination of all of the above to enhance the taste of your whipped cream. This will pair so nicely with your peanut butter, banana icebox pie, but you can also add whipped topping like Cool Whip to save a little time and keep from washing too many dishes. 

Salty Peanuts

This dessert balances texture and flavor beautifully. Adding salty peanuts gives a little more savory balance to the dish and a little more crunch. Which, for me, adds a lot more satisfaction. 

If you are allergic to peanuts, try adding almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, etc… Bananas and chocolate pair well with just about any nut. 

Chocolate Shavings

Chocolate shavings also work to add a little thin crispy texture to the top of your pie, and they bring out the boldness of the chocolate crust topping. I prefer to use dark chocolate to add a little bitter edge to the dessert, but milk chocolate will also pair nicely. 

Pairings

Peanut butter, banana icebox pie can stand alone as an afternoon treat or be paired with a delicious meal. 

I love pairing this dessert with a cashew curry or a nutty entree that brings reminiscent flavors into play. 

The cooling effect of this pie makes it the perfect follow-up for a spicy meal. Try it after a spicy Caribbean pork. Banana, peanut butter icebox pie fits in well with traditional cookout foods like burgers, hot dogs, Barbecue, and other grilled foods.

If you can find a way to play into the “peanut butter and jelly” motif, that combination never fails. Maybe add some fruit to your barbecue sauce, like in this cherry Barbecue sauce recipe for a playful pairing. 

Storage

If you are better than I am at practicing self-restraint, you may have a little pie leftover. The pie can be stored in its pan with plastic wrap pulled tightly around it several times, placed in freezer bags, or stored in an air-tight Tupperware container for up to one week. If left in the freezer for too long, the dessert can become freezer burnt and develop unpleasant ice crystals in the cream. Be sure to wrap the dessert tightly if you do not finish it within the day of preparation. 

I typically make this pie to serve to a crowd at cookouts, and it gets devoured quickly. Consider making this for a group or on a week you are craving lots of pie all to yourself. 

Refreshing Peanut Butter, Banana Icebox Pie

Yield: 8 Slices
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

Peanut butter, banana icebox pie will quench your desire for a frosty treat that is slightly more rich and decadent than the traditional lemon icebox pie.

Ingredients

  • 10-12 honey graham crackers
  • 7 TBSP butter
  • 4 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1-2 room temperature bananas for topping crust
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups of whipping cream
  • optional ingredients: Hershey's syrup, whipped cream, salty peanuts, chocolate shavings

Instructions

  1. Remove cream cheese from the refrigerator and allow it to soften for about an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Prepare your crust by adding honey graham crackers to a blender or food processor and grinding until the crackers break down into a sand-like texture.
  4. Melt butter on the stove or in the microwave and add to your graham cracker crumb mixture. Once ingredients are well combined, press them firmly into a buttered pie pan.
  5. Bake pie crust for 10-12 minutes (until the crust browns slightly and appears solid.)
  6. While your crust is baking, you can prepare the filling (if your cream cheese has fully softened.) Start by blending your bananas until they are a creamy consistency. Add your banana cream, softened cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar, and almond extract into a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of whipping cream.
  7. Mix ingredients slowly, adding 1/2 cup of whipping cream at a time. Blend until ingredients are well integrated and appear fluffy. You can place the mixture in the refrigerator while preparing your other pie ingredients.
  8. Remove pie crust from the oven and allow to cool. Once the pie crust has cooled, freeze for at least fifteen minutes.
  9. While your crust is freezing, make your crust sauce. Add coconut oil to a saucepan on medium-low heat. When Coconut oil fully melts, add cocoa powder and whisk quickly, keeping chocolate from burning on the bottom of the pan. Once the cocoa powder has fully dissolved, add brown sugar and continue to whisk for about 30 more seconds or until sugar caramelizes.
  10. Allow sauce to cool a little before adding it to your frozen pie crust. Once the sauce is no longer steaming, pour on top of the crust and return to the freezer for 15 more minutes. h
  11. After the sauce freezes, top the frozen sauce with room temperature bananas and banana cream, peanut butter mixture (in the refrigerator).
  12. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for about 3-6 hours or until ingredients reach desired firmness.

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