Caramelized banana split

I'm going to be forced to be concise today.  As I type this, my computer is moving at a snail's pace and making funny noises; I'm just hoping to complete this post before it crashes completely.  It's just one of many things going on lately.  This past month has been a full one - filled with good things like birthdays, family gatherings, school activities, and weddings, as well as some not-so-great things like dealing with home maintenance issues (let's just say Roto Rooter was involved). 
With so much going on, this dessert was a belated Father's Day treat for my husband.  The little one (he might be 9 now but I'll still be calling him my "little one" for a while) helped me make this caramelized banana split and it was a hit with my banana-dessert-loving husband.

It's really simple to make by slicing up a slightly under-ripe banana, coating the pieces in some brown sugar and caramelizing them in a little bit of butter.  Top it with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and toasted almond slices.  And I don't know about you but I can't envision anything called "banana split" without ice cream so I added a scoop of neapolitan ice cream alongside.
It's a fun, tasty, as well as quick-and-easy dessert to whip up for anyone who love bananas.  

I got the idea to make this for my husband from an old show of Giada De Laurentiis' that I happened to be watching one morning while doing my morning stretches.  She calls it "fried banana split" but I think caramelized banana split is a better description.  Wonder of wonders, she didn't serve it with ice cream!  I suppose it's perfectly good without it but banana splits need to have ice cream in my mind.  You don't want to pass up on that satisfying contrast between the warm caramelized bananas and the cold ice cream.

I thought it would be nice to get my son involved in making this for his dad.  He helped me coat the bananas in the brown sugar, mix up the ganache for the topping, and serve it up (you want to keep the actual cooking for the adults since we're talking about sizzling hot caramelized sugar in the pan).  In this recipe, go with slightly under-ripe, firmer, bananas to begin with since you're heating and softening it in the hot pan.  

For the chocolate sauce, it's basically ganache but using water instead of cream.  I used the microwave to melt some chocolate and instead of stirring in cream to loosen it into a ganache sauce, I followed the recipe, using water.  I think it works really well; there's plenty of richness and flavor already and you just want a few sharp slashes of chocolate and you get that.
My husband has been a fan of banana desserts far longer than I have.  Last year around this time (I just realized it was really right around the same time when I checked just now!), I attempted a simple banana tarte tatin recipe that didn't work that well.  This caramelized banana split is even easier and I have to say, it panned out a lot better. 

My husband said the taste reminds him of the banana tart at Union Square Cafe in NYC.  We have a little history with that restaurant and that particular dessert.  We used to eat there all the time back in our dating days and hadn't been in years...but about a month or so ago, we actually took another trip down memory lane and went back there for dinner.  The banana tart was still on the menu and we enjoyed it thoroughly!  There is nothing like good food, great conversation, and a wonderful dessert to cap it all off.
Dessert at our recent dinner date at Union Square Cafe; Banana tart in the background
Happy Belated Father's Day!


Recipe:

Caramelized Banana Split
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

- For 2 servings -

For chocolate sauce:
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons water, room-temperature or warm

For caramelized bananas:
2 slightly under-ripe bananas, peeled, split lengthwise in half then sliced crosswise (to make 4 pieces from each)
2 packed tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon butter

Toppings: Toasted almond slices, Neapolitan (or other flavor) ice cream

To make chocolate sauce, place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat on half-power at 20 second increments, stirring well after each, until just melted.  Add water and stir to combine until smooth.

In a plate, coat both sides of the bananas in the brown sugar.  Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Place bananas in the pan, cut side down, and cook just until the sugar has caramelized and you have a golden brown crust.  This happens pretty quickly so keep an eye on it and try not to over-cook the bananas or they will be too soft.  Carefully flip the bananas over with a spatula (avoid using your fingers because the caramelized sugar is very hot) and cook for another 30 seconds or so until browned.

Divide the bananas between 2 plates.  Top with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, almond slices, and a scoop (or two) of ice cream.  Serve immediately.  






40 comments:

  1. This looks absolutely fabulous, Monica! I looove caramelized bananas, and obviously the addition of ice cream makes it even better!

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    1. Love an easy dessert and adding a plop of ice cream always makes for a crowd-pleaser! ; )

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  2. We LOVE caramelized bananas! This is a great summer dessert, Monica.

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    1. My husband's been a banana dessert guy from way back. I'm glad I'm on the bandwagon now. :)

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  3. That is something I would definitely want to make anytime I have ice cream in the freezer and bananas on the table..Delicious split!

    ela h.
    Gray Apron

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    1. Thank you - it is a fun twist of a banana split, I think.

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  4. Ooh this sounds almost just like a bananas foster, which is SO delicious. Especially when served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (: What a perfect treat for Father's Day!

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    1. Yes, very much so! You can always throw in a splash of something for a little extra flavor. : ) Ice cream is good enough for me.

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  5. Love summer and all the good things that come with it but it can feel a bit overwhelming with so many events all at once. Hopefully things slow down a little bit for you and you get to enjoy the summer now that it's here :) This looks like such a special treat! Love caramelized bananas - especially with ice cream! It looks fantastic and definitely the perfect summer dessert :)

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    1. So true, Kelly. By September, I usually find myself grateful for the change in seasons here and the chance to take it slower and spending time indoors again. haha.

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  6. I've been working on a recipe with bananas, brown sugar and a tablespoon of butter - but mine flopped! Yours looks very amazing and delicious. My hand is up - I love bananas!

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    1. My last attempt at an easy banana tarte tatin was too good to be true (and it was). This is simple, what you see is what you get. : )

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  7. This banana split looks wonderful Monica. The ganache including the water is so authentic too!! I hear you, so manic here this time if year too. Schools out in two weeks, yay!!

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    1. Thank you, Jo! I know...so crazy right now. School is out in 2 days here. I'm ready but also bracing myself for another level of busyness to come...

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  8. Sorry to hear that your computer is unwell. That's so frustrating isn't it! And this banana split looks so tempting! I wish I had some bananas right about now...

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    1. Everything is taking ages but it's hanging in there. Definitely see an upgrade in the near future when we have time!

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  9. Hi Monica, I bet this is delicious, have never prepared bananas like this before. Sounds like you have a lot going on right now, sorry about your computer.

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    1. Thank you, Cheri. Something sweet makes the stress of the day (computer issues and all) fade. : )

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  10. Replies
    1. Amazing what a little brown sugar, butter, and heat can do. : )

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  11. Home maintenance issues are the worst! And I hope your computer is okay! That's never a good feeling when it starts doing weird things!

    I've actually never caramelized bananas before - I need to get on that!

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    1. Absolutely! The PC is still wheezing and on its last legs but I'm holding on til we have time to deal with it. Thanks, Ashley.

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  12. I've never had caramelized bananas before. Is that crazy or what?! This looks delicious! I, of course, love that chocolate drizzled on top :D Hope your computer is not failing and that the crazy things settle down and you can relax.

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    1. Totally not crazy at all but here's something else to do with those bananas, Cindy. : ) Thanks and hope you have a relaxing summer, too.

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  13. Caramelized banana is the bomb! I usually use a torch to burn the sugar on top of the banana. Sweet, creamy and super easy! Yours look perfect!

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    1. haha...you said it! So simple but so satisfying. I've resisted buying a torch but it would be so convenient for something like this!!

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  14. This is something I can eat for dessert anytime!

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    1. It's something I'll keep in mind when I have bananas and need a plated dessert quick. : )

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  15. And now I'm officially hungry! Love the idea of caramelizing the bananas. I imagine they'd be quite awesome stuffed inside French toast too. =)

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  16. Your little guy (9 year old) is quite the little sous chef as this looks amazing and so easy to make. I am sorry to hear about your computer and your hard drive and all I can say is back up, back up everything!!!! Take care, BAM

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    1. I love it when he helps me! : )
      And I hear you on the computer...

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  18. I'm super allergic to bananas but I'm definitely going to make these for Mr. Bakes! Great Post!

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    1. That's too bad! If I was seriously allergic, I wouldn't even work with it. Be careful!

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  19. I've never tasted or caramelised bananas...I wonder why! These look so delicious with the ice cream. and chocolate sauce...YUMMM! Since the last few months, my laptop makes weird noises all the time. I guess it's all the image and photograph overload. It's scary. I hope yours is doing better now.

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    1. Anything is good with ice cream and chocolate sauce! Haha. Computer still off but at least we have the hard drive backed up.

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  20. Wow! Loving this simple yet awesome dessert. I love bananas and my next trip to NYC (very soon), going to try that banana tart. Looks insanely delicious!!

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    1. Not long after posting this, I read that the restaurant (with that banana tart) will be relocating at the end of 2015 because rent is going way up. It's an institution so I'm really sad about it. It won't be the same elsewhere but I'm glad we got to go there recently.

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