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baking prep

caramelized bourbon banana shake

When I was little, one of my absolute favorite things during the summer was a fresh banana shake. We would almost always have ice cream and bananas on hand, whether frozen or fresh, and I still have never had a banana shake I've liked better than the ones my mom made. A plain banana shake, that is. I think this one might rival it.

She would whip them up so effortlessly and serve them in these tall, greyish, bird-festooned pedestal mugs that were often chipped or missing a handle. I loved those mugs almost as much as the banana shakes. They've long since met their demise or you'd better believe those would be featuring prominently here.

Banana shakes were one of the few highlights of being sick. Well that and unrationed tv, which was unheard of at any other time. I'd always hope that whatever sickness I had would come with a sore throat so I could request the Great Banana Shake Balm. To this day, it's all I want when I come down with any ailment. One chipped bird-mug full of banana shake, please.

While those plain banana shakes are really all you need, it was a festive weekend so I decided to try spicing things up a bit. My sister had mentioned one time that she caramelized her bananas before using them for a shake, so I thought that might be a good place to start. She sent me this recipe that she used, just noting she used brown sugar rather than the white sugar this calls for. Which got my wheels turning and made me wonder what else I could alter to make it my own.

So I tossed a few things in the blender and gave it a taste and... um... guys it's really good. Really good.


caramelized bourbon banana shake

yield: 2 shakes


2 bananas

~2 cups vanilla ice cream

brown sugar

1 oz bourbon


  1. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Slice the bananas lengthwise and place flat side up on the prepared baking sheet.

  3. Sprinkle the bananas lightly with brown sugar, then bake at 400° for 15 minutes until the brown sugar has caramelized.

  4. Lift the foil (and bananas) from the pan and place it in the freezer until they have cooled to room temperature.

  5. In a blender, combine the bananas, ice cream, and bourbon and blend until thoroughly mixed but still thick.

  6. Serve!

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Pick varieties and flavors that bring you joy. Not everyone is a baker and not everyone likes to cook. 


Enjoy the process. One of my favorite things while baking is to knead the dough and feel how it changes in my hands. I love chopping vegetables that came fresh from the farmer's market, brushing the dirt off the leaves, and creating with something that came from the earth.


Listen to jazz. I know this is a personal preference, but there are few things that give me quite the feeling of contentment as cooking a good meal with a glass of wine and a Thelonius record on in the background.

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