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What is a banana split?

Banana Split
A banana split is the quintessential soda fountain sundae and probably the best thing that you can do with ice cream. They were first introduced in the early 1900s, when bananas were still a relatively new and exotic fruit for Americans. The original recipe calls for a split banana (hence the name) to be topped with three scoops of ice cream, topped with chocolate syrup, marshmallow, nuts, whipped cream, and a cherry. You don’t find them at ice cream parlors anywhere near often enough anymore, but they’re easy to make at home to cool down on a hot day and enjoy a thoroughly retro dessert.

A banana split starts with a perfectly ripe banana that is peeled and split lengthwise. The banana should be laid in a long, shallow dish or bowl and can then be topped with three scoops of ice cream. The most basic combination is a Neapolitan one – one scoop each of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry – and each of the flavors is doused with a single type of sundae topping, such as hot fudge, strawberry sauce, pineapple sauce or caramel sauce. The whole thing is covered with whipped cream, chopped nuts and a maraschino cherry.

Like any kind of ice cream sundae, you can easily customize a banana split with any ice cream or topping flavors you like. As long as you start with a split banana, you can still call the sunday a split no matter what you top it with! The sundae pictured above uses coffee, chocolate and dulce de leche ice creams. It is topped with hot fudge, caramel sauce, marshmallow sauce, chopped peanuts, whipped cream and a few maraschino cherries.

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  • Maureen
    July 21, 2011

    Holy Cow!! The size of that is overwhelming. I’d need a helper to eat it all. It looks so good!

  • Noa
    July 22, 2011

    I’ve actually never eaten a banana split. I love bananas in dessert, but I prefer them cooked into a pie or bread, or even just caramelized! This looks delicious though.

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