First, let me to introduce the world’s expert on caramelized bananas, my Mom!
If I had to select one recipe to always associate with her,  I’d pick caramelized bananas.  When I was a child she’d make a batch almost every week,  using different types of bananas from the street markets of Sao Paulo.  Sometimes, depending on the variety she found at the market,  the “doce de banana”  turned almost purple when she cooked it, which was quite interesting.  For my Brazilian readers, “banana prata” was the one that acquired the reddish-purple color.  But, the regular Brazilian banana, which is the one on the shelves here in the US, was her top choice, because both me and my Dad loved it the most.  It gets dark brown, with an intense, sweet flavor and a splash of freshness from the lemon juice squeezed at the end.  So, when I saw this recipe in the February issue of Food and Wine I immediately went to work, making a batch of caramelized bananas, and using some for this delicious frozen yogurt treat.

(adapted from Food and Wine magazine)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large ripe bananas, cut into 1-inch rounds
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons 2 percent milk (divided)
2 + 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 + 1/3 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Add the bananas in a single layer and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Cook over moderate heat, turning once, until caramelized, about 8 minutes. Squeeze a little lemon juice all over.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the rum and swirl the pan to completely dissolve the sugar. Scrape three-quarters of the bananas into a food processor and add 3 tablespoons of the milk. Puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a small bowl and freeze until chilled, 15 minutes. Chop the remaining bananas and freeze until chilled.

In another bowl, whisk the cocoa with the granulated sugar, salt, vanilla and the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk in the yogurt until smooth, then the banana puree.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and churn until nearly frozen. Mix in the chopped bananas and pieces of chocolate. Scrape the frozen yogurt into an airtight container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.


to print the recipe, click here

Food memories are so powerful!   As the bananas cooked down in the skillet, their aroma whisked me back to my  parents’ home.  Suddenly I was 17 again and rushing  home from school, dashing to the kitchen, all tantalized by the smell of Mom’s caramelized bananas.  Back home people like to pair them with farmer’s cheese or some vanilla ice cream, but I’m a purist: just a small bowl of “doce de banana,” and a tiny spoon to make sure the pleasure lasts longer…  😉

I never imagined using them as part of a frozen dessert, but it is sublime!  The  yogurt reduces the sweetness, but the bits of banana and the chunks of chocolate bring it back, just enough to make you happy.   It is still a light dessert, much lighter than ice cream, and perfect for someone who’s not wild about sugary concoctions.  Come to think of it, the other day I found a recipe online for burnt orange ice cream, and my antennas immediately went up.  But I found that it called for a cup and a half of heavy cream,  a cup of whole milk, a ton of sugar, and 5 egg yolks.  It’s easy to make a decadent dessert with such a surplus of fat, but as David Lebovitz points out in his book “The Perfect Scoop,”  it’s really not necessary, and this frozen yogurt proves his point.   😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

TWO YEARS AGO: Whole Wheat Bread

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  1. Good afternoon, Ms. Sally’s Mom! It’s a pleasure to meet you!
    Sally, I can see from whom you’ve got the good genes 🙂 and that big smile 🙂

    I love this dessert, light and bananicious! Touching memories, nice story, healthy recipe. I’ll have to bookmark it, for when the weather warms a bit. It’s cold and snowy here, not a good time for frozen stuffs 🙂 But I enjoyed reading your post, and meeting your mom. 🙂
    hugs, codruta


    • bananicious! Love it! 😉

      I hope my Mom sees this post, she doesn’t open the computer very often, but I spread the word around, and hopefully my sisters and nieces told her to check it out


  2. Oh, Sally! What a gorgeous lady your Mom is! I agree with Codruta, it’s obvious how you got to be so beautiful, you got some excellent genes to start with (and the fact that you take so good care of yourself only helps, right? 😉


  3. How wonderful that you had the World’s Expert on Caramelized Bananas on hand for this post – and that she was gracious enough to allow you to take her photo and mount it on to your site, is simply fabulous ;-). Thank you Sally’s mom for sharing your technique… I love caramelized bananas and although I don’t own an ice cream maker, I think I can still make this delicious recipe happen (plus, I can always use your caramelized banana technique on all kinds of other foods…. I’m thinking buckwheat pancakes with caramelized banana… mmmm :).


  4. I expected caramelized bananas but got so much more this morning! How nice to meet your lovely mom.. and hear a story reminiscing about your childhood. These are the memories to treasure. Then.. you have chocolate frozen yogurt as well.. what a perfect post this morning!! xo Smidge


  5. Soooooo nice to see your mom here!. Como ela esta bonita e elegante!
    E como voces se parecem! I´ll try to get my kids to do this recipe, but we don´t have greek yogurt in Brazil to begin with……and, what a coincidence, yesterday I was just regreting this very fact (rather sad! :-), but I guess, the bananas steal the scene here …


  6. Hi Sally! I just love caramelized bananas! If they are on a dessert menu the win out over everything else for me. I’m used to them on warm foods-pastry, French toast, banana bread, etc., but I just had some with ice cream in Hawaii. AMAZING!!!! And you’re absolutely right about food memories. Bananas are deeply engrained in mine….hopefully my kiddo’s now too. Yum!!!!


  7. When I was growing up I had a friend whose mother always used to cook caramelised bananas. I used to turn up there for dinner whenever I knew she was making this sweet and tasty dessert. Great recipe!


    • I heard back from my nieces, they all loved the post, and remember very well my Mom’s caramelized bananas in the kitchen. She hasn’t done them in a long while, I think once my Dad passed away she stopped making them…


  8. A great dessert for a great memory! I love chocolate with the bananas, and the caramelized bananas sound fantastic. I’d love to try it with different varieties of bananas (maybe some day on a visit to Brazil)!


  9. Pingback: Quest for the Best Banana Bread: Final Showdown « Eat, Play, Love

  10. I love it! I’m a true believer in food memories and always ask people what foods bring them to that “happy spot” so long ago.

    Your mother is adorable and her bananas sound fantastic.


  11. What a lovely post, Sally, and a wonderful tribute to your mom! We lived in Peru for a year or so when I was a child: the bananas were wonderfully fragrant, small, curved and pink-fleshed. Maybe they came from your country…?


    • Serendipity hits at full force, MC!

      Guess what I JUST found at a store here in town? Peruvian red bananas, exactly the ones you described! Amazing! I bought a few because I’ve never had this exact type – they are not found in Brazil, at least not while I lived there, they must be original from Peru.

      I am going to try one after dinner tonight… very small, with a pinkish skin.


  12. so funny how much you and your mom look alike!! This recipe sounds and looks delicious, I love the combination of chocolate and banana…wait I love chocolate with anything 😉


  13. Awesome blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get comments from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you


    • Hello there! I hope you come back to see this reply.. 🙂

      the link below should take you to a very nice cooking discussion forum – you can read it without registering, but if you want to reply and take part in a discussion, or start a new topic, you’ll need to register. It is free. I’ve been a member for many years, although I don’t post very often.

      hope this helps…


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