You’ve probably realized that with all of my banana uses and substitutions, I’m a fan. Put it this way: if there was a facebook page for bananas, I’d click the thumbs up sign.
That’s part of the reason why this dessert is so amazing. That and the fact that it involves chocolate. And this incorporates some cool relief from summer in the form of ice cream and doesn’t require heating the oven (which heats the kitchen which heats the house) to bake anything. So basically, this is a winner on all levels.
My brothers and I discovered this recipe on Epicurious when my parents were away and we wanted to try something different. We were free of the shackles of parental authority. A.K.A. we could wreck the kitchen and not use any self restraint for portion sizes. Since then, we’ve shared this with them (by scaling back our own portion sizes) and they find it just as delightful as we do.
As a matter of fact, my mom insisted she only wanted a little scoop of ice cream and a meager drizzle of chocolate sauce. But she had no problem scooping out what my brother didn’t finish of his.
Caramelized Banana Splits with Hot Chocolate Sauce
About four servings
3 tablespoons butter
3 firm-ripe bananas, sliced lengthways and sideways
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (we use semisweet chocolate chips)
Vanilla ice cream (Epicurious suggests vanilla or cinnamon)
(optional) 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, then add bananas in 1 layer and sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Increase heat to medium-high and cook bananas, gently turning once and shaking skillet occasionally, until sugar is caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Divide bananas among 4 bowls. Leave a little caramel in the skillet for the chocolate sauce.
Add cream or half and half to skillet and boil over medium heat, stirring, until leftover caramel is dissolved. Add chocolate with a pinch of salt and whisk until melted.
Top bananas with scoops of ice cream, then drizzle with some of chocolate sauce and sprinkle with nuts.
There is a lot of extra chocolate sauce left over, but I stuck ours in the refrigerator. There are some strawberries in there that would love the chance to mingle with that sauce.