August 25 is National Banana Split Day, and in honor of the occasion, we’re sharing our best banana split recipe. While the toppings and ice cream component are all up for tweaking, we don’t suggest skipping the crucial step that makes this split truly phenomenal.
Rather than simply skinning a banana and sliding it into a dish before you pile it with ice cream and fudge sauce, give it some tender loving care. Split in in half lengthwise, brush the cut sides with butter, sprinkle them with a warming mix of cinnamon, brown sugar, and a pinch of cayenne (plus a dash of salt to bring out all the other flavors), then broil them until golden-brown and sticky-sweet.
You can also grill them if you have the BBQ going. Either way, it only takes a few minutes, so make sure everything else is ready before you start this step.
It’s such an easy upgrade, yet the payoff is immense. The intensified flavor of the fruit mingled with the warm spices, the gooey texture, and the warmth that contrasts so beautifully with the ice cream—you’ll never go back to boring old banana splits again.
But we have a couple other tricks to trot out while we’re at it.
The Hot Fudge
Want to know an easy way to make a truly thick fudge sauce, with that great chewy-soft texture where it hits cold ice cream? Condensed milk! (The same secret weapon that works so well in Rice Krispie treats, and lends its creamy, dreamy magic touch to icebox cake and Key lime pie.)
Simply combine it with semisweet chocolate chips, microwave until melted, and give it a stir to incorporate. Keep it warm or re-warm it just before assembling your masterpiece. Since sweetened condensed milk is so, well, sweet, you can get away with a darker chocolate here if you want. We wouldn’t recommend milk, though, or it would be cloying.
The Homemade Frozen Yogurt
While making this part of the sundae from scratch is totally optional, it’s also incredibly easy: just four ingredients go into this fro-yo, and there’s no need to make a custard or heat anything up. Just whisk heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, and whole milk yogurt before freezing in an ice cream maker. You can add a dash of vanilla if you like.
Or simply use your favorite store-bought pint.
Related Reading: Our Favorite Ice Cream Parlors That Deliver Nationwide
To make this split even more stupendous, we like to sprinkle it with toasted sliced almonds, fresh berries, and pomegranate seeds once assembled, but you can gild this lily any way you want to—or not at all. With the caramelized banana alone, it will already be out of this world.