Banana Boats have been a "Made-By-Dad" family favorite for many years! Well, a favorite of everyone but me. I thought they sounded downright weird, so whenever Dave asked "Banana Boats, anyone?" I declined. In fact, I wouldn't even taste them for the first three years he made them!
I'm not a fan of marshmallows in their natural, unmelted state. Roasted over a fire to where they're warm and gooey on the inside and crispy-golden on the outside? YES!!! But I didn't realize that marshmallows in banana boats do not remain in their natural, unmelted state! I just wasn't paying attention.
And it's just as well that I didn't realize how amazing these were ~ until I finally decided to try them one night ~ because...
Of course, you'll have to try them yourself to find out if you agree or not, so here we go on what you'll need to make these (just three ingredients!), and our tips for how to make them!
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Milk Chocolate Chips
(if you want to do
the dotted lines in Step 2,
which was actually just for
demo purposes. But hey!
Go for it!!!)
1) Start with one barely-starting-to-ripen banana for each person you're making one for. Each banana boat is a fairly hefty amount of food, so some children or gals may want to split one, especially if your bananas are large. For this purpose, we prefer them with just a tinge of green, as this one has:
2) Cut 1/2 to 1/3 of the skin off the top when it's on its side, which will create the "boat." This is easier to just show with a Sharpie marker than explain, so see photo below. Cut along the dotted lines. [NOTE: These lines will not be on your banana ~ unless you draw them on yourself.]
3) Then scoop out the top part of the banana itself. I like to use a spoon to do this, but here Carlianne (our youngest) is doing it with a knife. Either way, you just want to end up with a slightly-hollowed-out canoe-style "boat" for your next ingredients to be placed into. You don't want to take most of the "meat" of the banana out, or all you'll have to eat is chocolate chips and marshmallows, with no banana. But if you don't hollow out "enough," you won't have a place for those chocolate chips and marshmallows to nestle down into.
Carlianne (Shelton) Pickett
(She did this for me pro bono!)
Here's what it looks like ~ ready to be placed on a cookie sheet where it will be ready for the next step!
Had to get a picture of my sweet daughter (aka the hand model seen earlier,) Carlianne, hollowing out more boats ~ cuz we had these at a Shelton Family Night and had a rush on them as almost everyone wanted one!!!
SIDE NOTE: You will have a nice mess and a lot of banana hollowed-outs! So, especially if you are making a lot of banana boats, you might want to think ahead about making a fruit or Jell-O salad with the bananas. Or you could pack the pieces into a zip-lock bag, freeze them, and make banana bread or oatmeal banana cookies at a later date.
4) Now it's time to add the chocolate chips to the boats! Turn your broiler on ~ we set ours on "high" ~ so that it'll be heated by the time you get all the chocolate chips added. Just lay a nice spread of chips throughout each "boat," as shown here:
Here's a close-up so that you Type A personalities can see the exact number of chocolate chips you need to add!! I counted 37! Even just one chip more or less will utterly ruin them!!! ... [I was working on this article and reading it out loud to my 9-year-old grandson, Weston, and when I said that last sentence about ruining them if they had one chip too few or too many, he very emphatically said "In YOUR opinion!!!" ~ not realizing I was kidding!!!!] Juuuuuust kidding! You can't mess these up! Of course, a shorter banana will take fewer chips, and a longer banana more.
5) Now they go under the already-heated broiler ~ because you followed my instruction in Step 4, right?!?! So your oven is ready!!
Just how long it takes to "slightly melt" the chips depends on how hot your broiler runs and how close your top rack is to the heat. It takes about 45 seconds for ours to "slightly melt" ~ so you just need to be watching.
You can see the chips change and get meltier looking ~ which means they'll get shinier and slightly lose their shape.
Have a knife handy so that you can poke a couple of the chips ~ in different spots on the banana ~ and see how easy they are to poke into. As soon as they're softish, pull 'em out ~ they're ready for the next step!
6) Adding marshmallows: Be prepared to do this next step with the urgency of a surgical team working on a heart transplant patient. Since we had several banana boats to work on, the three of us ~ Carlianne, Dave, and I ~ went to work speedily adding marshmallows on top of the slightly-melted chocolate chips. You want to press the marshmallows into the chips a bit so they will stick. If the boats are out of the oven for too long, the chocolate will harden again.
Here (below) is a close-up of Dave performing this amazing surgical-like procedure: Notice the chocolate oozing around the marshmallows!!! (Oooooh just WAIT till this next ~ and final ~ step is completed!!!)
Here is an actual banana boat ready to go under the broiler for the final step! (Yes, I photo-shopped out the chocolate smudges above that you Type-Aers may have been bothere- I mean may have noticed in the previous picture! Nothing but the BEST for my readers!)
7) And back under the broiler they go!!!
And this right here is the ultimate goal! Just slightly golden-browned! Not totally browned. And not just a little gold, either. GOLDEN-BROWNED!
Of course, you're welcome to get them to whatever doneness you prefer, but if you want my thoughts, "golden-brown" is the best. The marshmallows are still soft and gooey, the tops just barely crispy!
If they get too brown, they'll be crunchy and hard to chew; too light (just barely golden), and the marshmallows are not melty enough. (I said that this is not an exact science, but this part of it kind of is.)
You need to watch them constantly or they will burn. (So no texting or email checkin', or these might cross over that line before you can hit "send"!)
Most broilers don't heat evenly, so the parts closer to the heating element will brown ~ I mean golden-brown ~ more quickly. So you may want to pull out the tray after a few marshmallows have turned golden-brown, remove the "done" boats with tongs (cuz they are hot) onto a plate you have handy, and then put the rest of them on the tray back under the broiler for a few more seconds to finish them.
Here's a closer-up pic of the beautiful golden-brownness:
I should mention that Dave likes to put his into the freezer for about a half-hour before eating his. This totally defeats the purpose of having gone to all that work to get the marshmallows all gooey and the chocolate chips all melty, but OH WELL!!! To each his own!
To be honest, these never actually make it to a serving plate; they get taken and eaten first! I barely got these on to this plate and people were coming to get them! (But I made them wait till I'd gotten a photo for this article!)
I apologize profusely to you Type A
people for that one banana that crossed
the boundary of the center circle; the banana
at right about 11:00. I have NO idea what
happened, but there's just NO
excuse for it.
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I hope your family likes
these as much as ours does!
If you make them, let me
know (in the comments)
what you think of them
and what creative