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getting after it

Recipe: bananas foster

Winter is coming and going, but mostly it’s going. If I can stand on the deck at sunset in short sleeves, then winter is most certainly on her way out. The R-word has entered the forecasts… Rain. When I look toward the local ski resort from our house, I can see if there is weather over the mountain. But lately, the weather up the valley has been darker with more streaks. That’s rain.


a late evening surprise sunset



We are both wondering if we’ll be able to start lacing up our trail runners this month around here. April, sure. March? That’s a little disheartening. And even though the sun and atmosphere have conspired to kill our snowpack, we’re gonna ski until we can’t. Besides, you can always count on getting that 1-2 foot dump the day after the local ski hill closes for the season. And it always manages to snow on Mother’s Day. Plenty to look forward to. For now, we’ll make due with what we’ve got.

high sun at 5pm

great views of the surrounding high country

ready for some turns

time to ski out and get some dinner



I am adjusting with the seasons. Jeremy always puts the kettle on when we get home from skiing. He sweetly asks me what I’d like: hot cocoa, hot cider, tea? Something to warm me up from the cold. Except it hasn’t been very cold lately, so I politely decline and grab a glass of cold water – maybe drop two or three big ice cubes into it. That’s how stupidly warm it has been. Jeremy still likes a mug of hot coffee or hot tea and won’t transition to cold beverages until the dead of summer when you feel like your skin is going to go up in flames. This intermediate period is a good time for a compromise – hot and cold. Something for everyone. Like bananas foster!

vanilla, rum, amaretto, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon , salt, bananas

quarter the bananas

it goes quickly, so get your mise en place!



I’ve never actually made bananas foster before, and I might have had it once in my life by accident. Bananas do not rank high on my fruit list. In fact, they rank pretty low on my fruit list. What drew me to this dessert: 1) I had homemade vanilla ice cream in the freezer and 2) I had rum. There was the temptation to just pour rum over vanilla ice cream, but that’s a little ghetto. Bananas give it the pretense of being more than just booze and sugar, and FIRE makes it a real dessert. It’s a simple recipe – crazy simple. Just get everything ready to go because it comes together in mere minutes.

Most versions of bananas foster combine banana liqueur and rum, but I read a recommendation that subbing amaretto for the banana liqueur works nicely. Since I tend to collect bottles of random liqueurs and booze for the sole purpose of making desserts, I really really really didn’t want to own a bottle of banana liqueur. There, I said it.


combine the vanilla, rum, and amaretto

melting butter, brown sugar, pinch of salt, and cinnamon

adding bananas to the brown sugar and butter



The butter and brown sugar mixture will get a little grainy and may separate. Don’t worry, it will turn into a proper sauce after you add the booze. Cook the bananas for about a minute per side or less, because they can start to lose their structural integrity. When the bananas are done, turn the heat off and add the booze. Then light it with a long match or a long lighter. It should go up in spectacular flames, except mine didn’t. We added more rum and lit it. I could hear the “whoomp!” of the alcohol igniting, but couldn’t see the flames. We added more rum. Same thing. More rum… at which point I turned to Jeremy and said, “We’re just burning money now.”

pour the rum mixture over the bananas

light it up

spoon the bananas and sauce over vanilla ice cream



We both really enjoyed the sauce on the vanilla ice cream. Who wouldn’t? It’s butter, sugar, cinnamon, and booze! We were both “meh” about the bananas. I think it would be much better with apples. Apples foster sounds pretty good. Now, I’ve read that despite burning off all the alcohol, you don’t actually burn off ALL the alcohol. There will be some residual. If this is problematic for you, then might I suggest a banana split instead? If it isn’t a problem, then bananas foster is a fast, easy, and delicious dessert to whip up in no time. Just remember that once you combine the sauce with the ice cream, the laws of thermodynamics conspire to turn everything into a giant puddle. So eat up!

melty, but good



Bananas Foster
[print recipe]
from Food Wishes and Epicurious

4 bananas
6 tbsps unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
1/4 cup dark rum
1 oz. amaretto (original calls for banana liqueur)
1 tsp vanilla extract
vanilla ice cream

Peel the bananas and cut them into quarters (cut them in half, then cut the halves lengthwise). Place the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large (10-inch) frying pan over medium high heat. If you make half of this recipe, use a smaller frying pan. Stir to help dissolve the brown sugar as the butter melts. When it begins to bubble, add the bananas to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute then flip the bananas over. Cook another 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat. Combine the rum, amaretto, and vanilla extract in a small vessel and pour into the pan. Light the alcohol with a long match or long lighter and watch the alcohol burn (not all of it will burn off, so there is some alcohol in the dessert). Spoon the sauce and bananas over vanilla ice cream and consume immediately. Serves 4.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

bourbon caramel chocolate banana cream pie single-ingredient ice cream chocolate banana bombes chocolate chip banana bread

11 nibbles at “getting after it”

  1. Kristin says:

    Mmm. I love this, but haven ‘t made it for a while. My recipe is called Caramel Banana Sundaes, maybe because it thankfully skips the banana liqueur. Two in my family of 4 don’t like bananas, so I make it, serve them, then add the bananas for me & my son. I have never tried it on homemade ice cream!! And I do love Amaretto in desserts, so we may have to try this version. Yum.

  2. Bob Foster says:

    Love Bananas Foster! It’s our go to birthday dessert here. I won’t own a banana liqueur either, so I went with Coconut Rum. The “whoomp” without the accompanying flames may just need to be done in dimmer light. We shut the lights off and fire it up every time. A light blue flame pops up and everybody goes “Ooooo…! Maybe we will Oompha next time!

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Definitely one of my favorite treats. Love this!

  4. Trolleira says:

    mhhh, my favorite here in Brazil! You can get it everywhere. And we put some orange juce in and cointreau for the booze.Try it this way – you will love it!

  5. Thalia @ butter and brioche says:

    I’ve never tried a bananas foster before.. and think I’ve been missing out on something seriously delicious. I love the combination of bananas and run.

  6. JaneM says:

    Many decades ago as a novice cook, I decided to try my hand at Bananas Foster. After sauteing the bananas in the butter and brown sugar, I turned off the stove’s burner and poured on the banana liquor and rum. I then ignited it. My big mistake? I didn’t turn on off the range hood fan. Tallest flames I have ever witnessed in my life! Fortunately, I had a lid on hand and didn’t burn down my kitchen. They were delicious and this is a mistake I will never repeat – lesson learned.

  7. Susan M. says:

    First time I needed pineapple to flame with rum (their was an audience), three times I added more rum and it never flamed. Easiest way for me is to lite a large spoon of rum and then mix that into the pan. Works every time.

  8. Bev says:

    OMG I love you for this–your recipe is so ramped up from the recipe I learned (on the street! from one of the chefs doing tasters at a special event in Fernie, B.C.)–vanilla! amaretto! salt! over the top. Have to have it. Have to make it. Thank you (again–‘cuz you keep dishing it out.)

  9. jill says:

    Are you in avalanche territory when you ski like this? I worry about that.

    Goodness, those bananas look marvelous!

  10. Broken Nose Vanilla says:

    We are in banana country (tropical North Queensland, Australia) so always looking for new banana recipes, especially ones that include vanilla, cos vanilla and banana is just divine. Add that to living in the sugar state (spelt rum state) and we have the perfect combination! Must try!

  11. jenyu says:

    Kristin – I may have to agree with the the two members of your family who don’t like bananas :) I think I’d like this without bananas or with apples instead, but it’s still really good!

    Bob – Oh, coconut rum sounds like a great idea. Yeah, I figured it was just too light to see the flames, but thanks for the tip!

    Katrina – :)

    Trolleira – I will have to try that! xo

    Thalia – ha ha, yes – and it’s super easy to make, so you can get your fix!

    JaneM – wow! Thanks, I will definitely avoid making that move :) Glad you still have your eyebrows!

    Susan M – great tip!

    Bev – xxoo

    jill – nope, we are quite careful and we read the avy reports!

    Broken Nose Vanilla – Australia really is the land of plenty :)

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