Banana Split Cheesecake Bars

Banana Split Cheesecake Bars

Summer is just about here! Matt and I just finalized our vacation plans (woohoo!) which of course includes the beach, and now that has me thinking about the dreaded swimsuit. And the dreaded swimsuit has me pondering body image issues as of late.

making cheesecake crust

I freely admit, I’ve struggled with body image issues my entire life. I am not petite in any way. I’m fairly tall, and I have what people politely call “an athletic figure,” meaning that I’m fairly curvy and not at all lanky. I have curvy hips and big boobs.

graham cracker peanut crust for cheesecake

Having this body type has plagued me for as long as I can remember. Over the years, multiple people called me fat, even when my BMI was perfectly healthy. My church growing up spread the message that a young teenage woman of my body type wasn’t “godly”. If (or should I say when) any teenage guys leered at my chest, they were never called out for the immature, disrespectful lunkheads that they were; no, it was always said to be my fault, because I was “causing them to stumble” in their “battle of the flesh” and their “walk with the Lord.”

banana cheesecake bars

My weight has been up and down since high school. In high school, I basically starved myself, getting to 15 pounds below my ideal weight (according to CDC charts), because I was hoping that would change my figure and body type. It didn’t. And I still thought I was fat. And in more recent years, aided in part by aging metabolism, I’ve let myself gain some weight, mostly to avoid the frustration of working so hard to keep weight off and still feeling fat and still hating how I look. I guess it got to a point where it wasn’t worth it.

banana cheesecake squares

But you know what? I’m done with having body image issues. I’m so over it! I’m sick of feeling disgust every time I see myself in the mirror. I’m sick of dreading my picture being taken. I’m sick of trying to hate myself skinny – it doesn’t work anyway. The past few months I’ve been on a mission to completely accept and embrace my body for the exact body type that it is. There’s nothing wrong with me. I have the body type that I do, and I proudly accept that. My aim is being fit and healthy, no longer trying in vain to adapt to someone else’s standard or image of “skinny” or “thin” or the perfect body type. The people who called me fat were WRONG. My childhood church was WRONG.

banana split cheesecake square

I am okay exactly the way I am, and you know what? So are you. No matter what shape or size you are, I hope you love your body and accept it. Losing or gaining a few or many pounds doesn’t change the person you are. So let’s celebrate ourselves and our bodies by indulging a little.

Banana Split Cheesecake Bars

This little dessert is amazing! It’s banana split colliding with cheesecake – how could it be anything short of dreamy? The original recipe called for using walnuts, but I subbed in peanuts because I associate banana splits with having peanuts instead of walnuts sprinkled on top. It worked very nicely. But, if you would prefer walnuts, feel free to use them. All things in moderation, right? – so enjoy this one!

Banana Split Cheesecake Bars

Source: adapted from The Midnight Baker

Ingredients:
3 oz. graham crackers
¼ cup unsalted peanuts, plus extra for garnish
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup plus 2 tbs sugar
1 ½ overripe bananas, chunked
3 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or spray a 9-inch square baking pan. Line it with parchment paper that sticks out on 2 but not all 4 ends. They will be your “handles” for gently removing the cheesecake later.
Prepare crust: place the graham crackers and peanuts in the food processor. Process until finely ground. Add the melted butter and process just until combined. Press evenly into prepared baking pan.
Beat the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar, beating until well incorporated.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add banana and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.
Pour cream cheese mixture over crust and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until center is just about set. It should be jiggly but not liquidy. Shut off the oven and leave the cheesecake in there with the door somewhat ajar for 20-30 minutes. This lets it cool gently and avoids the dreaded cheesecake center cracks.
Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Remove the cheesecake by lifting the parchment paper onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into squares. Serve with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and some peanuts scattered on top.

4 responses to “Banana Split Cheesecake Bars

  1. OMG Julie, this looks like a great adaptation!!!! I am so glad you all liked them!!! <3

  2. Julie, this looks amazing. I’m drooling just with the title, but the pictures add so much more.
    My kids will love this, too–thanks!

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