Old-Fashioned Banana Floats

Fresh winter citrus with hints of spring! Here's an old-fashioned dessert, some times called a "banana float" and other times an "orange float" and it is reminiscent of a root beer float except with orange juice and a banana cream. It also reminds me of an Orange Julius and really, it's just plain fun.

Old-Fashioned Banana Floats (also called Orange Floats) ♥ KitchenParade.com. Part orange julius, part root beer float.

Real Food, Fresh & Inventive. Mere Minutes to the Table. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Naturally Gluten Free.

Kitchen Parade Loves! Loves! Loves! Recipes from Readers!!!

This recipe comes from a reader in South Dakota.

She wrote, "This is an old recipe I grew up with. It is light and served in a sherbet glass. At my home, we always had it after a big meal with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, gravy and lots of vegetables. In those days, we didn’t worry about fat!""

Thank you, Marilyn! (On a personal note, Marilyn was my mother's lifelong friend beginning in their girlhoods in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her husband was an Anglican priest and officiated at my parents' wedding!)

A Spring Dessert

Old-Fashioned Banana Floats are a perfect treat for this will-it-be-cold-or-warm-today? time as late winter slopes into early spring.

The days are noticeably longer, leafy daffodil tendrils burst lightward, knobby hyacinth bulbs nudge aside the dirt. Even if snow falls again, spring will soon don its flowery bonnet.

But speaking of fat, is your coffee shop abuzz with questions about the new study that says a low-fat diet doesn’t prevent breast cancer? and the one that suggests chocolate lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of death?

Research flaws are being revealed – isn’t reducing the risk of death from 100% to even 99.9999999999% preposterous? But more than that, for all the research, we understand precious little about the relationship between food and health. One study says X, another contradicts X but posits Y except Z.

So how about sticking to Plan A: lots of vegetables, some fruit, some grains and beans, some meat and fish?

And of course, the occasional treat. Banana Floats, anyone?

What Is a Banana Float, Anyway?

Well, think of a Banana Float as kissin' cousins with a root beer float. And it's obvious why!

  • Instead of root beer, fresh-squeezed orange juice.
  • Instead of ice cream, bananas mashed until creamy with sugar, cream and a little vanilla.
  • On top? The same squirt of whipped cream!

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Old-Fashioned Banana Floats (also called Orange Floats) ♥ KitchenParade.com. Part orange julius, part root beer float.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Serve immediately
Serves 4
  • 2 cups just-squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Sugar to sweeten, to taste
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 1/2 cup half ‘n’ half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

JUICES Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and sugar, then divide among tall chilled glasses.

BANANA "ICE CREAM" With a fork, mash together the bananas, sugar, vanilla, almond flavoring and half ‘n’ half. Divide among the glasses and refrigerate while whipping the cream.

WHIPPED CREAM Whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks form, then dollop atop the banana mixture.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS I have the idea that "vision" for a Banana Float is a "scoop" of banana ice cream floating atop a glass of chilled orange juice. Me, I haven't been successful realizing that vision so I just toss all the ingredients (except the cream and powdered sugar for the Whipped Cream) into the blender and let it fly. How many oranges does it take to squeeze out 2 cups of orange juice? Wow, does it ever depend on the oranges. Once, it took a full dozen medium-size oranges, another time just 3 large honeybells. Just keep squeezin' until you get those two cups of juice! To my taste, Banana Floats are quite sweet, especially with sweet oranges. To compensate, I usually mix all the ingredients except the sugar, taste, then add sugar a little at a time. And the orange color isn't especially pretty so think ahead, you'll want to garnish these glasses with some pizzazz. Stripe-y straws, anyone?

A NICE-CREAM VARIATION? Who's heard of "nice cream"? Just whip a few frozen bananas in a food processor until ice-cream-ish, maybe include a splash of vanilla or almond extract. So good! And surprisingly similar to ice cream, even though 100% plant-based. It is a little soft, so I think I'd freeze it, then use an ice cream scoop to scoop into glasses of the Juice mixture. Might be good! And would eliminate the sugar and half & half plus a bunch of calories which really do add up here. It's worth a try!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 328 Calories; 14g Tot Fat; 9g Sat Fat; 51mg Cholesterol; 25mg Sodium; 48g Carb; 2g Fiber; 36g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 7 & PointsPlus 9 & SmartPoints 16 & Freestyle 16 & myWW green 16 & blue 16 & purple 16 & future WW points

More Dreamy Banana Desserts

~ banana recipes ~
Banana Cream Pudding ♥ KitchenParade.com, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.

Shhh Banana Bread ♥ KitchenParade.com, healthy low-fat banana bread, just 1 tablespoon oil and whole wheat flour. Weight Watchers Friendly!

Banana Nut Cake with Caramel Frosting ♥ KitchenParade.com, my mom's famous recipe, a great special-occasion cake yet simple enough to make often. Plus, a new banana technique: no more waiting for bananas to ripen! Recipe, tips, nutrition & WW points included.

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.