Deep-Fry The Banana For Your Next Banana Split And Taste The Magic

What's more nostalgic — and delicious — than a good old-fashioned banana split? Made with three individual scoops of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream, all topped with pineapple, strawberries, chocolate syrup, crushed peanuts, whipped cream, and cherries accented by a sweet banana (or two), this all-American dessert is as timeless as timeless gets. But what happens when timeless gets boring? You deep fry the banana, that's what.

Deep frying caramelizes bananas, giving them an even sweeter, richer, and more dessert-like flavor. In addition to caramelizing the decadent, peelable fruit, deep-frying bananas also triggers the Maillard reaction – a chemical process that occurs when heat forces acids and sugars to interact, facilitating an enhanced flavor and a sweet, golden-brown char.

Not only does deep-frying a banana bolster its already ripe and fruity taste, but it also jazzes up its texture. The crunchy, crispy exterior gives way to the banana's soft, tender interior for a complex bite in every spoonful. The crunch of the deep-fried banana also complements the lush, fatty silkiness of the chocolate syrup-kissed ice cream, transforming the dish while maintaining the enduringly delicious flavor profile that characterizes banana splits as a perennial dessert.

Jazzing up deep-fried banana batter

It's easy to associate deep-fried foods with savory flavors, but you aren't giving bananas a chicken-fried treatment in this banana split remix. In the same way that savory foods are often fried in a batter threaded with umami-forward seasonings, you can deep-fry bananas with a sugar-tinted batter.

Thanks to the rich syrup, fluffy whipped cream, fresh fruit, and assortment of ice cream, you don't have to sweeten up your banana batter too much. Adding sugar to the dry ingredients of a classic batter made of flour, baking powder, vegetable oil, milk, eggs, and a pinch of salt is enough to sweeten it up while preventing cloying flavors — perfect for when you want to limit the ingredients going into your batter.

To introduce a layer of spicy warmth, add cinnamon to the dry ingredients, which will provide the deep-fried bananas with a subtle yet present complexity. Take things up a notch and dot the batter with vanilla extract to develop a fragrant, toasty flavor within the bananas. If vanilla isn't your thing, bolster the split's crushed peanut garnish with an almond extract instead. Be aware that added liquid can disrupt the texture of the batter if you're not mindful of adjusting ratios. Diversify the texture of the deep-fried bananas by adding other coarse, dry ingredients like breadcrumbs to the roster. Similarly, coconut flakes develop a tropical taste, chopped nuts provide an earthy flavor, and crushed ginger gives the bananas a touch of aromatic spiciness.

Additional tips for deep-frying bananas

Whether it's fish or fruit, deep frying food is a tedious process. Keep a few tips in mind when deep frying bananas to maximize the flavor of your split and preserve the safety of your kitchen.

First, determine if you want to deep-fry the whole banana or cut it into small pieces before dunking it in oil. Both options are great, but bite-sized banana slices will fry faster and more evenly than a whole banana. Use canola oil to fry the bananas. With its neutral taste and high-smoke point, it's your best bet for achieving the perfect crust. Although it sounds elementary, let the bananas cool down before adding them to your split. You want to avoid burning your tongue or melting the ice cream faster than you can eat it.

To make things easier on yourself, consider using a boxed pancake batter to fry the bananas. Boxed batters are formulated to provide consistent results every time, reducing the chance of errors or variations that can occur with homemade recipes. Just add your liquid and get to frying. Take safety precautions when deep frying bananas. Never overcrowd the basket, keep water from the boiling oil, avoid frying with low-smoke point oils, always use heat-friendly tongs to remove the bananas from the frying oil, and In case of an emergency, always know where your fire extinguisher is. With this eccentric banana hack, one of the best places to get a banana split might just become your own kitchen. Happy eating!