Here, the pecan brittle adds the excitement to the caramel ice cream sandwiched between the banana bread by providing the crunch. But don’t add the brittle too far in advance, as it will begin to dissolve into the ice cream. If pecans are not your favorite, you can substitute a nut that’ll make a brittle more to your liking.–Tom Colicchio
Banana Bread with Caramel Ice Cream and Pecan Brittle
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 10 M
- 4 H, 10 M
- Makes 4 ice cream sandwiches
Special Equipment: Ice cream maker
- For the banana bread
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 3/4 cup banana puree (1 1/2 medium bananas, pureed until smooth in a blender)
- 3/4 cup mashed bananas (1 1/2 medium bananas, mashed with a fork)
- 3 large eggs, preferably pasture-raised
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the caramel ice cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
- 9 large egg yolks, preferably pasture-raised
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the pecan brittle
- 1 1/2 cups shelled pecans
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Sea salt
- Prepare the oven and pan
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Brush a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- Make the banana bread
- 2. Whisk together the sugar and oil in a medium bowl. Add the bananas, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and whisk together until smooth.
- 3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into the banana mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set on a baking sheet.
- 4. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, rotating the pan 90 degrees after 30 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, let rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Make the caramel ice cream
- 5. Place 1 3/4 cups of the sugar in a large saucepan with about 1 tablespoon of water; it should look like damp sand. Cook over high heat until the sugar melts and becomes a very dark, smoking caramel.
- 6. Remove the pan from the heat and very carefully whisk in the cream and then the milk. Return the pan to the heat and bring the liquid to a rolling boil.
- 7. Whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Temper the yolks by gradually whisking about half of the hot cream into the yolks and then returning it all to the pan and whisking it together. Add the salt and the vanilla. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
- 8. Chill this mixture over ice and transfer to an ice cream maker. Process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a covered container and place in the freezer for about 2 hours, until firm.
- Make the peanut brittle
- 9. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and butter a sheet pan.
- 10. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until they are fragrant and dark brown.
- 11. In a 4-quart pot, mix the sugar, water, butter, and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom, until a light caramel color [or, if using a candy thermometer, until it reaches 300°F (150°C)].
- 12. Remove from the heat and very carefully stir in the baking soda, pecans, and salt. Working very quickly before it cools, spread the mixture over the buttered sheet pan using a heat-resistant rubber spatula. Once it is completely cooled, break into small pieces.
- 13. When ready to assemble, let the ice cream defrost at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the brittle into the softened ice cream. Evenly spread the ice cream over 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices of banana bread, covering them all the way to the edge. (The ice cream must be soft enough to avoid ripping the bread.) Sprinkle some sea salt over the ice cream, close the sandwiches with a matching 4 slices of banana bread, and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.
Recipe Testers Reviews
I needed a fresh new banana bread recipe for all of the overripe bananas we had on hand, and this was a successful rendition of a tried and true favorite around my house and in my community. It barely made it to mealtime, with everyone taking just a little piece, or just a little taste, then another one! It was easy to make, had no complicated or unusual ingredients or directions, and made a good-sized, nice-looking golden loaf. While the grapeseed oil is terrific and I did use it, another neutral-flavored oil could easily be substituted here. The sour cream contributed beautifully to the moistness, and the bread was not at all too sweet. Someone slathered a warm slice with butter, which I didn’t personally try, but it did look terrifically appealing!
I didn’t make the rest of the recipe this time around, though I will try it someday soon. This time, I just wanted to check out the banana bread, and it’s a winner!
Tip: Save those overripe bananas by placing them, skin on and whole, in the freezer. When you have the urge to make banana bread, banana muffins, banana pancakes or any other baked goodie with bananas, simply defrost and squeeze out of the skin. This prevents wasting excess or too-ripe bananas, and something in the freezing process coalesces and condenses the banana flavor, creating an even more lusciously tasty banana treat.