A hot skillet might seem out of place in a recipe for an icy, creamy milkshake. But stay with me on this one, because it turns out to be an amazing way to add tons of flavour.
It's pretty simple. There's nothing all that unusual about adding fruit to a milkshake, especially bananas. But what makes this recipe different is that we brown the bananas in a skillet before adding them. This quick and easy step caramelizes the natural sugars in the bananas and gives them a serious flavour kick.
To help the caramelizing along, I added butter and a bit of brown sugar to the pan. The result is a rich, caramel banana sauce in the skillet, as well as deliciously browned fruit.
And this technique can be applied to other fruit, as well. Pineapple rings, apple wedges, halved strawberries, strips of mango, even pitted cherries. If you use apples, just be sure to brown them slowly over low heat until they are quite soft.
CARAMELIZED BROWN SUGAR-BANANA MILKSHAKE
Start to finish: 25 minutes (10 minutes active)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 cups milk
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and stir until bubbling. Add the bananas, then reduce heat to low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until evenly browned. Use a spatula to carefully turn the bananas and brown on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
Once the bananas have cooled, use a silicone spatula to scrape them and any liquid and caramelized bits in the skillet into a blender. Add the milk, ice cream, cinnamon and salt. Puree until very smooth.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 490 calories; 190 calories from fat (390 per cent of total calories); 21 g fat (13 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 70 mg cholesterol; 68 g carbohydrate; 12 g protein; 4 g fiber; 280 mg sodium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.