Banana Split Dessert

This is an old recipe, clipped by my mom from some magazine many years ago. The back side of the clipping has a photo of Mrs. Carl Ford from Hamilton, Missouri, showing off the banana tree she expected to produce bananas. Tropical dreams.

I don’t remember that Mom made this often but it was always a hit. It’s a perfect dessert for summer since no baking is required. She always used neopolitan ice cream but use your favorite flavor – vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, butter brickle, even cherry nut or pistachio. Use toasted walnuts, or dry roasted peanuts if you prefer. Toast walnuts by spreading walnut halves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF for about 15 minutes, cool and chop. Make extra and store them in the freezer. Toasted nuts add a rich flavor that changes anything you make with them. Substitute commercial whipped topping if you don’t want to bother with real whipped cream. Keep in mind, though, that if you make too much real whipped cream you can always treat yourself to cafe viennois – coffee with whipped cream. Ah, memories of a Paris morning.

– Joan, 14 August 2020

Banana Split Dessert

  • Servings: 11x15 inch pan
  • Print

  • 3-4 bananas
  • 1/2 gallon neopolitan ice cream, softened slightly
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, plus a tablespoon for buttering the pan
  • 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint heavy cream for whipping

Lightly butter the bottom of the pan. Set aside ½ cup of the graham cracker crumbs and spread the rest evenly over the buttered pan. Slice bananas and arrange them over the crumbs. If you can slice the ice cream make ½” thick pieces and arrange them on top of the bananas, or scoop out chunks and level the pieces into a layer about ½” thick. Freeze until firm.

While the pan is freezing, melt the chocolate chips with the butter. When all is melted and stirred till smooth, stir in the powdered sugar till mixed. Pour in the evaporated milk and continue stirring till the mixture is smooth and bubbles begin to form on the edge of the pan. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and set aside to cool.

When ice cream is firm and chocolate is cool, pour the chocolate over the ice cream layer. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over all. Return to freezer till firm again.

Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Spread it over the frozen ice cream and chocolate, sprinkle with reserved graham cracker crumbs, cover and store in freezer. Serve with a garnish of chocolate curls and/or a marachino cherry or fresh strawberry, or a sprinkle of the chopped nuts and drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce.

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