I have to admit, the banana splits I have eaten in the past have far from impressed me. I can remember having one at Dairy Queen and wishing I had simply ordered a mudslide...as the fruit sauces were overly sweet and the whipped cream probably came from a can...not to mention the nasty artificial marschino cherry perched atop. Maybe I just hadn't had a banana split, but my opinion of them was they were not that great. That is until I was watching a show on the cooking Channel on sweets and I saw a revamped classic banana split at a New York city restaurant. The chef had totally played around with it coating the bananas in chocolate, including cake, and macadamia nut brittle and ice cream flavors like buttered popcorn and mango...I don't remember all of it but it looked and sounded amazing! It got me to thinking, why can't I create my own banana split with ingredients and flavors I love?!
So I got to work creating it! I started with the ice creams. Classic banana split has vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. But...none of these would do for mine. I instead decided on maple peanut butter, chocolate cacao nib, and raspberry chipotle. It took me a week to make all of the ice creams, because I only have one machine, but it was so worth it! Although the ice creams would have been good on their own, this was a banana split, not a bowl full of ice cream. So of course I made sauces as well! For the sauces, I would not be using the classic pineapple, chocolate syrup and strawberry...but instead maple peanut butter sauce, dark chocolate sauce, and fresh raspberry sauce. I figured I would pair the sauces with the ice creams like in the classic so that was one thing that remained the same! I could have stopped there, but I liked the idea of something crunchy in the dessert, so I made some salted peanut brittle to throw in among the ice creams! Lastly, I didn't want to use dairy whipped cream so I made whipped coconut milk which I much prefer. It is so much sweeter, and even more so once I laced it with vanilla beans. Now, about that cherry on top...you will not find one on my banana split because I hate marschino cherries and their artificial color and hurt your teeth sweetness. Instead I chose to top mine off with fresh raspberries, which I love!
Once it was all assembled in one of my Grandmother's antique rose bowls, it was quite lovely! Almost too pretty to eat, the ice creams all lined up on top of the bananas with their matching sauces and the billowy whipped cream on top dotted with berries! But...not too pretty because of course I dove in and devoured it. It was amazing and it forever changed my opinion of banana split. How do I describe the taste and texture...it was a lot to take in, all of it heavenly all together but I will try, by breaking it down. The peanut butter ice cream was sweet and nutty with a hint of maple and a silky mouth feel, and it went perfect with the maple peanut butter sauce which was gooey and sweet! The chocolate ice cream was intense like dark chocolate with the crunchy cacao nibs throughout and the decadent fugde sauce was a wonderful texture to add to it! The raspberry ice cream was sweet and slightly spicy and it paired well with the slightly tart fresh raspberry sauce!
The crunchy peanut brittle was like sweet salty goodness among all of the soft ice cream and the whipped cream tied it all together! It melted a little and the bananas soaked up the goodness...the best part being the combining of the ice creams and melted coconut cream at the bottom of the bowl all together! It was amazing...and although it took a while to create, it was so worth it! Yeah, I could have bought ice cream at the store and made it easier on myself but that is not how I operate. If you wish to try any of the ice creams or toppings for yourself, or maybe the whole sha-bang, here is the recipe!
Recipes For All of the Components:
Maple Peanut Butter Ice Cream
1 cup lite organic coconut milk
2 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
1 cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp maple extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Once processed, pour into a freezable container with a lid and place in the freezer for at least a few hours, or overnight to firm up for best results.
Chocolate Cacao Nib Ice Cream