Summer, grilling, and fresh fruit go together like bikinis, lounge chairs, and suntan oil. That’s why I’ve combined them to create 10 delicious variations on what is arguably the best summer dessert since the advent of the s’more: banana bread ice cream sandwiches. Keep the basics in your pantry and freezer, and you’ll be able to whip up any one of these scrumptious treats at a moment’s notice.
Simple Banana Bread
Because all of these recipes start with a banana bread base, here’s a look at my favorite recipe – so easy you don’t even need a mixer. You’ll need:
- 4 ripe bananas (quick tip: freeze bananas once the skin starts to look mottled or turns dark, and you’ll always have them on hand for making a loaf.)
- 1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (extract will work fine, but for a richer flavor, consider scraping the inside of a vanilla bean instead!)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- Chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork or wooden spoon. Add the melted butter or coconut oil and stir well. Next, add the rest of the ingredients, in order, and mix until well combined. Pour into a loaf pan that’s been coated with non-stick baking spray, and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
Now that you’ve got a killer (and oh so easy) banana bread at the ready, it’s time to start turning it into delicious grilled ice cream sandwiches.
1. Fat Elvis
It’s well known that The King loved himself some peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Well, I’ve taken that delectable combination to the next level with the addition of bacon! Never thought of adding smoky, porky goodness to your sweet treats? This recipe might change your mind.
Grill a few slices of bacon over indirect heat to prevent flare ups. While your bacon is sizzling, slice your banana bread into thick slices and set some peanut butter ice cream to soften. Layer a piece of bacon and a scoop of ice cream on one slice of bread, top with a second slice of bacon, and drizzle with honey before putting on the second slice of bread.
2. Berry Delicious
A simple, warm berry compote is the perfect addition to grilled banana bread and creamy strawberry ice cream. Start by lightly buttering your banana bread slices and grilling them over indirect heat, turning once to ensure both sides get warm and toasty. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat (either on your gas grill’s burner or on your kitchen stovetop) combine the following:
- 2-3 cups fresh or frozen berries (I like blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, but you can use any combination you fancy)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Next, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with ¼ cup of water, and add this mixture to your berry mixture and boil, stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
Place a scoop of strawberry ice cream in between the grilled bread slices, and serve the warm berry compote on the side for dipping.
3. Salted Caramel
Another great way to enjoy those grilled banana bread slices is with the addition of a simple salted caramel sauce. You’ll need:
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/3 cup powdered confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Mix all ingredients together in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium low heat until the sauce is creamy and smooth. Use a caramel gelato between the grilled bread, and drizzle with the salted caramel glaze.
Variation: For another delicious twist on this sandwich, slice a banana lengthwise, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, drizzle with a touch of melted butter and put it on the grill for a few minutes, or until the peel begins to pull back. Add the grilled bananas to your sandwich before the caramel glaze.
4. Open Faced French Toast
For a dessert creation worthy of a summer dinner party, try soaking your banana bread slices in a mixture of whole milk, eggs, cinnamon and brown sugar before grilling. Top with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
5. Coconut Madness
Few things say “summer” like the rich taste of coconut. Build an ice cream sandwich with banana bread and creamy coconut ice cream, and then roll the edges in toasted coconut flakes for added texture and dimension of flavor.
Variation: To truly taste the flavors of summer, consider adding a fresh pineapple salsa to your sandwich before rolling in coconut. Dice up some pineapple, add some finely cut mint, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a splash of rum, and then layer the salad on top of your ice cream before adding the top slice.
6. Boozy Goodness
Bananas and whiskey make a most delicious partnership. Try this decadent sauce with grilled banana bread and butter pecan ice cream sandwiches.
Combine 1 ½ cups each of whole milk and heavy cream in a saucepan. Add a ½ cup of granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Next, over low heat, whisk in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1 cup of your favorite whiskey. Continue to stir over low heat until the sauce begins to thicken. Serve warm over your sandwiches.
7. Deconstructed Bread Pudding “Sandwich”
Leftover grilled or toasted banana bread? Turn it into this delicious bread pudding. Top with a scoop of your favorite flavor ice cream while warm and it will melt into a delectable sauce!
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 bananas, chopped
Cube a loaf of banana bread, and place about half of the bread in a greased 8-inch baking dish. Layer the chopped bananas, and top off with the remainder of the banana bread. In a bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients and pour over the bread and bananas. Bake at 350 for about an hour, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, but still wet.
8. Not Your Momma’s PBJ
Turn a much-loved childhood sandwich into an ice cream delight. Spread your favorite jam and crunchy peanut butter on two separate slices of grilled banana bread, and then combine them with a scoop of coffee ice cream in between.
These are only some of the best grilled banana bread ice cream sandwiches you can try today. What’s your favorite banana bread ice cream sandwich? Are you going to try any of these recipes? Share your thoughts in the comments section, please.