8soft chocolate old-fashioned cookies, such as Archway brand, 1 package
3/4cupof confectioner's sugar, divided
1cupsvery cold whipping cream
1teaspoonvanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1boxinstant banana cream pudding & pie filling mix
1 1/2cupscold milk
1cupsmooth peanut butter
8ouncepackage cream cheese, softened
Place the bowl and whisk attachment for your stand mixer in the freezer to chill 30 minutes. Have ready a 9" x 5" loaf pan ready, 1.5 quart size.
Once the bowl is chilled, assemble it and the whisk on your stand mixer. Pour the whipping cream into the bowl and turn the mixer on high. Whip the cream for about 5 minutes, then pause it to add in the vanilla or vanilla bean paste and 1/4 cup of the confectioner's sugar. Continue to beat the cream on high for another 5 minutes or so - watch it carefully it the last few minutes. Beat the cream until it forms and holds stiff peaks, but do not overbeat it. Transfer the cream to a bowl, and wash the mixer bowl. Stash the whipped cream in the fridge until you need it later in the recipe.
Pour the cold milk into a medium-sized bowl. Pour the banana cream pudding mix over the milk. Whisk them together for 1-2 minutes until the pudding is smooth and thickening. Set the bowl aside.
Beat together the peanut butter, the remaining 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar, and the softened cream cheese until the mixture is well-combined.
Assemble the cake: have a ready a 9" x 5" loaf pan (1.5 quart size.) Set one of the cookies aside: this will be crumbled over the top at the end.
Break four of the cookies into pieces and fit them into the bottom of the pan. There will be a few gaps but it does not have to cover the bottom perfectly. Lightly press the pieces into place.
Spoon half of banana pudding over cookies in bottom, and spread it into an even layer.
Spoon half of the peanut butter filling over the pudding and carefully spread it.
Spoon a half-cup of the whipped cream over the peanut butter filling and spread it evenly.
Repeat the layering steps, with another layer of broken cookies, followed by the pudding, then the peanut butter filling, and then the remaining whipped cream. Crumble the reserved cookie over the top of the cream.
Cover the top of the icebox cake loosely with plastic wrap. Very gently press the top of the cake down, just to compress the layers a little. (But don't squish out the fillings!) Place the pan in the fridge, and allow the cake to set overnight.
When you are ready to serve, remove the cake from the fridge. Cut slices of the cake and lift them carefully from the pan - a spatula can be helpful in doing this, especially with the first slice! Serve the cake immediately.
Makes about 8 servings. Leftover cake can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
*Note: this icebox cake needs time to chill in the fridge overnight before serving, so plan for this step! Also allow time for your mixing bowl to chill in the freezer for 30 minutes before starting this recipe. (See step 1.)Be sure that the banana cream pudding mix you choose is instant... sometimes the packages of instant and cook-and-serve puddings look very much alike!