This Caramelized Banana Split with Espresso Hot Fudge Sauce is an elegant riff on the classic sundae, and it feeds a crowd. Making a quick caramel to pour over the bananas creates a delicious crunchy coating that shatters as you dig into the sundae. The espresso in the hot fudge highlights the bittersweet notes in the cocoa, making this one grown-up dessert.
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Make the espresso hot fudge: In a small bowl set over a pot of boiling water, combine chocolate, heavy cream, corn syrup, and instant espresso. Cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes. Keep warm.
Make the caramelized bananas: Place bananas, cut side up, on a wire rack set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over moderate heat until mixture is amber, bubbles are thick, and a candy thermometer registers 375°F, 16 to 17 minutes. Immediately brush caramel over bananas; let stand until cooled completely and hardened, about 30 seconds.
Make the sundaes: Place bananas, caramel side up, in serving dishes. Top evenly with ice cream, hot fudge, strawberries, peanuts, and pineapple. Serve with whipped cream.
Chocolate sauce can be made 3 days ahead and chilled. Before serving, reheat in a small bowl set over a pot of boiling water, or microwave in 30-second increments.
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