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Grilled Banana Splits with Coffee Ice Cream and Mocha Sauce

Pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini of New York City's Jean Georges describes his home cooking as "lazy." For these splits, he marinates bananas in rum, coats them with sugar and grills them until the outsides get hard and crackly.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

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  • 2 quarts plus 1 cup water
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 8 firm, ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Turbinado sugar, for dredging
  • 3 pints coffee ice cream
  • Whipped cream and chopped nuts, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, combine 2 quarts of the water with the brown sugar, cinnamon sticks and star anise and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat. Add the rum and bananas and let stand for 4 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk the remaining 1 cup of water with the granulated sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cream and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 40 minutes. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Remove from the heat; keep warm.
  3. Light a grill. Drain the bananas and pat dry with paper towels. Put the turbinado sugar in a shallow bowl. Cut each banana in half lengthwise; dip each half in the sugar to coat evenly. Grill the bananas over a hot fire until they are richly caramelized, about 1 minute per side.
  4. Transfer 2 banana halves to each of 8 bowls. Place 3 scoops of ice cream in each split banana and top with 1/4 cup of the mocha sauce. Dollop whipped cream over the splits, top with the nuts and serve.
Contributed By Photo © Catherine Ledner Published June 2005

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