Warning: this is a mammoth post.
This is because:
a) I tried using the fancy new camera again for a photoshoot of this creation. Fancy new cam + photoshop = obsessed.
b) I can’t restrain myself from oversharing photos from said photoshoot. So you can just scroll down and look at the pics. I won’t mind.
c) I’m sharing three recipes with you.
But please! Stick around. I promise this is delicious. Spoon-lickin material. Or at least interesting. And don’t you want to know what the surprise is?
See that drizzle? That’s not chocolate sauce. Also that fluff of white under the sauce? That’s not whipped cream. This is a HEALTHY(ish) banana split.
So that’s another reason for the mammoth-osity. I’ll also share my calculations for how the heck this banana split thing ended up at a total of 330 calories.
So I’m trying to keep the commentary to a minimum. Except I just have to tell you a liiitle context: I was making this for my (first ever) submission Tastespotting’s banana split day and I literally planned for a week. What kind of banana split to make? A traditional three-scoop deal? Or a riff on banana splits in the form of french toast or doughnuts or muffins or cupcakes or cake?
Possibilities were endless, but I ended up combining a few elements that I couldn’t get out of my head: banana bread ice cream, banana bread french toast and the “surprise” chocolate sauce.
BUT OMG! I made all of these somewhat time-consuming elements, plopped them all together and snapped pictures until they started melting and then I was like…
WHAT IF THIS DOESN’T EVEN TASTE GOOD???
It didn’t take me long to figure out the answer to this question.
It did. (taste good.) Phew!
So I present to you: my ultimate banana split.
Let me break it down for you–this is a chunk of fragrant banana bread dipped in pancake batter and lightly fried topped with fresh banana slices and creamy vanilla ice cream laced with chocolate drizzles and crumbles of more banana bread that get all cold and cakey in the ice cream. This is then crowned by a spoon of tangy Greek yogurt that gets all frozen-creamy in the freezer which is doused in sauce and rainbow sprinkles. And a cherry on top–but don’ t eat that, because they’re nasty.
Oh yeah. That sauce? Is REDUCED BALSAMIC.
Salad dressing on ice cream? No. That’s weird. This is reduced, concentrated syrupy, tangy sweetness that somehow–don’t ask me how–tastes almost a little like chocolate. But probably more like a super sophisticated fruit syrup.
I <3 THIS. THIS IS THE BEST BANANA SPLIT OF MY LIFE.
Triple Banana Bread Split (with banana bread ice cream, battered banana bread French toast, balsamic reduction and Greek yogurt)
Assembly suggestions (all recipes below):
Top 1/2 a slice battered banana bread french toast with several banana slices. Place one half-cup scoop of banana bread ice cream on top. Add two tablespoons Greek yogurt on top of ice cream, drizzle 1 tablespoon of balsamic reduction on top of yogurt and scatter 1/2 teaspoon rainbow sprinkles on top of balsamic.
Place entire creation in freezer for 10 minutes before eating.
This may seem torturous, but I promise the Greek yogurt gets better when it’s a teeny bit frozen! And the balsamic will harden ever so slightly like those magic shell things. Except it’s TOTALLY NATURAL and free of added sugar. Yeeeeeee.
You could try making this all in one day, but you would probably be unnecessarily exhausted. I recommend making the balsamic reduction and the banana bread the day before so that you can keep your eye on the balsamic and let the banana bread sit for a day before making it into French toast. The ice cream is best the day it’s made and so is the French toast.
Calorie breakdown: portion size is everything…
Battered banana bread french toast: 1/2 slice = 70 cal
Banana bread ice cream: ~1/2 cup scoop = 175 cal
Greek yogurt: 2 tablespoons = 15 cal
Banana: ~1/4 banana whole or sliced = 30 cal
Balsamic reduction: 1 tablespoon = 30 cal
Sprinkles: 1/2 teaspoon = 10 cal
Cherry: don’t eat that nasty thing. Knock it off. Do not buy in the first place. = 0 calories
70 + 175 + 15 + 30 +30 + 10 = 330 calories. Woohoo!
Inspired by Oh She Glows
I didn’t use any fancy balsamic for this and I didn’t add sugar the way some people do and I thought it tasted pretty good. I DID simmer it for 40+ minutes and over-reduced it, judging from the sludgy, tar-like substance I ended up with. Luckily, I discovered that you can save over-reduced balsamic by drizzling in a bit of water (a teaspoon or less), microwaving for ~30 seconds or until bubbling, and it will become perfectly drizzle-able again.
Yield: ~1/3 cup
1 cup balsamic (or any amount–your yield will be the total starting amount reduced by 2/3 or 3/4)
Bring balsamic to a low boil over medium-high heat in a small non-stick pot or pan. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 25-35 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the balsamic thickens and coats the back of your spoon. Don’t worry if it seems too thin–as long as it sort of sticks to the back of your spoon and doesn’t immediately drip completely off, it’s good. Once it cools, it will thicken greatly.
Store in the fridge, keeping in mind that this will firm up reduction. Set out and bring to room temperature before using.
I’m working on a healthy, but not too healthy-tasting banana bread based on the recipe I grew up with. In this version, the chia seeds are optional because if you don’t have them, it won’t greatly affect the outcome. With them, the banana bread gets a little extra moisture and tenderness. This is not a super sweet banana bread (I’m still trying to cut down on the refined sugar), but it has a very full, mellow sweetness from the bananas. It’s very soft, so it’s best to wait a day before trying to French toast this. Once you do, however, it should fry up and hold together beautifully.
Yield: 1 loaf or 12 large muffins
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons warm water, optional
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 tablespoons yogurt, Greek yogurt, or milk
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, or half wheat, half oat flour)
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F.
1) Grease and flour one loaf pan or 12 muffin cups.
2) In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and chia mixture if using. Mix in oil, yogurt and sugar, then mashed banana and vanilla.
3) In another bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips.
4) Stir this into the egg mixture until just combined (do not overmix). Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (check early and often if your oven runs hot). For muffins, bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Nutrition facts (per 1/12 recipe): 198 cal, 7g fat (2g sat), 2.7g fiber, 17g sugar, 3.3g protein
Banana Bread Ice Cream
Are there supposed to be rules for making ice cream? Because so far, it seems to me that you can just put whatever you want in the base ice cream and throw in some kind of cake and it will be AMAZING.
This is a variation on the base of the red velvet ice cream recipe I use. I love this vanilla ice cream base because it’s so easy–no egg yolks, cooking, or extensive freezing beforehand required. Feel free to play around with the proportions of 2% milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, whole milk and others. The original recipe calls for whole milk, half and half and heavy cream (in order of least fat to most fat). For lower fat substitutes, the booklet suggests using 2% milk, whole milk, and evaporated milk, respectively.
Milk mixture #1: 1/2 cup 2% milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Milk mixture #2: 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/4 cup 2% milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted chocolate
2 slices banana bread
Combine milk mixture #1, sugar and salt. Stir with a wire whisk until sugar is dissolved. Stir in milk mixture #2 and vanilla. Pour into canister and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
During the last five minutes of the freezing, crumble in 2 slices banana bread and 1/4 cup melted chocolate. Ice cream may be liquidy, so put in freezer until ready to use.
Nutrition facts (per 1/10 recipe): 176 cal, 7g fat (4.3g sat), .7g fiber, 21g sugar, 3.6g protein
Battered Banana Bread French Toast
Adapted from Real Mom’s Kitchen
This may be my new favorite thing in the world. I’ve been obsessed with these pancake-battered banana bites for awhile but this–this is pancake-battered French toast. Carb on carb? Yes please.
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (can sub AP)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 egg
- scant 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ~8 slices banana bread (really depends on the thickness of the slice)
- Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and brush on just enough vegetable oil to coat the entire skillet. I like to use an oil-greased paper towel to do this so that it is lightly and evenly greased.
- Whisk together all the dry ingredients, and in a separate bowl, mix together all the milk, egg and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients; stir until just combined.
- Pour the batter into a flat dish, like a baking dish and dip single pieces of bread into the batter, flipping to coat both sides. This batter only coats the bread and will not soak into the bread like regular french toast. Place immediately on the hot skillet. Flip when browned and brown the other side. Mix batter in between batches of dipping bread so the flour doesn’t settle to the bottom of the dish.
Nutrition facts (entire batter recipe): 300 cal, 7g fat (1.4g sat), 6.8g fiber, 4.6g sugar, 14g protein