We were invited to a dinner with some of TheRoomDad’s coworkers, and TheRoomDad offered to bring dessert. That is code for, “My wife will make something.” My first thought was to bring Banana Peanut Ice Cream Sundaes. The sundaes are always a crowd pleaser, and it is easy to assemble the dessert on site. Then, I remembered another group dessert recipe that my mom served when we were all visiting her awhile back.
I abandoned the ice cream sundae idea and decided to make a Cranberry Ice Box Dessert. It is made ahead of time and sits in the refrigerator overnight before serving. It works well for a crowd, and the flavor is a little different from the desserts I might typically have at a dinner party (no chocolate). The dinner guests loved it, and I had requests for the recipe, so here it is.
- 2 c. chopped fresh cranberries
- 1 large banana, diced
- 2/3 c. sugar
- 2 c. crushed vanilla wafers
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (or chopped pecans– or a combination)
- 1 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped
- Mix together cranberries, banana, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Place 1/2 to 2/3 of the crushed wafers in the bottom of an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan.
- Cream butter and confectioners’ sugar together and beat well.
- Spread the butter mixture over the crumbs. This step is tricky! The crumbs move as you try to spread the frosting-like mixture. I drop little dabs around the pan and then use a spatula and my fingers to gently spread as evenly as possible. the crumbs will mix into the butter mixture a little.
- Top the cookie crumb and butter spread with the cranberry and bananas mixture. Sprinkle the nuts over the fruit layer.
- Spread the whipped cream over the fruit and nuts. Cover the whipped cream with the remaining cookie crumbs (and maybe a few more chopped nuts).
- Chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours.
- It is hard to find fresh cranberries at the grocery store if it is not Thanksgiving. I bought a 10 oz. bag of frozen cranberries from the frozen fruit section at my grocery store. I chopped the cranberries in my Cuisinart after letting them thaw most of the way.
- If you want to use a 9″ x 12″ dish, up the ingredient amounts a little. I needed the larger size for our group last night. I used the entire 10 oz. bag of cranberries, 2 medium bananas, 1 whole box Nilla wafers, a few extra tablespoons butter and ~1/3 c. more powdered sugar, 2/3 c. chopped nuts, and 2 c. whipping cream.