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Caramelized banana malts (and a tiny little excuse)

Hello there! Happy day-after-Valentine’s. I bet what you need right now is another dessert recipe. Yes? Great. We’re on the same page.


Many apologies for my disappearing over the last few months. Three months, to be exact. Three fairly queasy, fatigued, food-averse months. That’s right, I’m using the little, tiny human growing inside me as my excuse, and believe me, it’s a pretty good one. I wouldn’t wish a job working with/talking about/thinking about food upon any newly pregnant lady, not ever.

But I’m coming back to life, step by step, or at least figuring out what life looks like in these somewhat disorienting circumstances. I’m certainly not in fighting form – a few days ago (one of my first non-teaching cooking attempts in the last three months), I transferred a skillet of pan-roasted chicken thighs from the oven back to the stove and almost immediately grabbed the searing hot handle of the skillet with my bare hand. After a few less-than-ladylike words and some quality time with a running tap of cold water, I turned back to the stove – and proceeded to do the exact same thing with the other hand.

This is your brain on pregnancy.

We are over-the-moon excited, of course, just trying to make our way. Turns out working full-time and owning a small business (both food-related, oh boy) is a lot when you’re trying to grow a tiny human, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve felt a little over my head in 2015. Many apologies to those who have been signed up for the classes I’ve cancelled so far this year … I swear, I wouldn’t do it unless I really needed to. Things should be back on track soon.

In the meantime, here’s a pretty perfect pregnant-lady recipe. Perfect for all kinds of ladies, and gents as well, in fact – but especially perfect for this pregnant lady at this particular moment.



First things first – turns out, cooking bananas in butter and brown sugar is one of the best things you can do to bananas, in cold hard competition with slicing them on top of peanut butter toast.

Now – let’s talk about malt powder. You could certainly make this recipe without, should be a malt-averse sort of person, but I will say that caramelized bananas pair perfectly with toasty, just ever-so-salty malt. I’ve always loved malt and often seek out ways to use it other than in a blender with ice cream (e.g. frostings, cakes, simply mixed with milk, etc.), and so I’m particularly excited that here in Wisconsin there’s a local source for it. CTL Foods has been selling malt powder and other soda fountain products in Wisconsin for over 40 years, and you know that I’ll jump at the chance to diverge away from a major grocery store brand if there’s a local alternative. Their name sounds a bit mechanical, but I assure you they’re certainly real people, and quite nice in fact, and after I bought my first can of malted milk powder from their both at last year’s Isthmus Food and Wine Festival, I’ve been buying from them ever since. (Should you be interested in such a thing, you can buy from their website or on Amazon.)

(And in completely full disclosure, CTL did send me a free extra can of malt with my last order when they noticed I had a website. I was fully planning on posting a malt recipe anyways – in fact, that’s why I was buying a can from them in the first place – and this totally falls into the category of products/companies I’d be happy to spread the word about in any case. Long live the malt!)

Fingers crossed, you should be hearing from me again soon. Here’s to getting back in the game!

Caramelized banana malt

Makes approximately 2, easily scalable

Note: The ratio of ice cream:milk is completely up to you, depending on how thick you want your malt. I’m always shocked at how little milk to include when I want a thick one, especially if the ice cream is at all soft or if the bananas are still warm.

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 quite ripe bananas
  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder
  • Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

– Caramelize bananas Heat a large skillet (preferably non-stick, including cast iron) over medium heat. Add the butter and brown sugar, mix together, and cook, stirring occasionally, until melted mostly together. Meanwhile, split the bananas in half lengthwise and remove peels. Add bananas to the caramel and cook until almost entirely soft, browned, and covered in caramel, at least 3 minutes on either side. The longer you cook them, the sweeter and more delicious they’ll be – I cook mine until they’re almost difficult to pick up without mushing together.  If the caramel starts to smoke or smelled burned at all, reduce or turn off heat. Set aside to cool for at least 5 minutes.

Make malt Combine all ingredients, including bananas, into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust ice cream and milk as needed to get desired texture. Pour into glasses and serve, with whipped cream if desired.

Making ahead/storage: Bananas can be caramelized and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Malts are best enjoyed freshly blended.

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