Friendly’s holds a certain nostalgia value for my husband. No surprise, since Stephen went there a lot as a kid. When we found ourselves in his home territory recently, it made sense to meet his mom there for lunch.
Let’s just say the cheeseburger on toast didn’t live up to his memories.
But the dessert sure did. While Harry wolfed down a gargantuan, “child-sized” make-your-own-sundae extravaganza, Stephen and I shared a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Sundae. That was just as good as it sounds.
It’s been nearly a month, and Stephen hasn’t stopped talking about the sundae’s peanut butter sauce. When he started shopping for a ready-made version packed with high fructose corn syrup, I knew I’d have to make it myself.
And then National Geographic Kids arrived. You’re scratching your head—let me explain. On page 12 lurks a recipe for banana splits. I have no idea why there’s a banana split recipe in a magazine devoted to cute animals and the natural world, but there you go. That was enough to inspire some major plotting between Harry and Stephen. Next thing I know, I’m Googling “Friendly’s peanut butter sauce” and buying bananas.
I won’t swear that this is an exact recreation, since I only ate it that one time and I’m sure mine’s not as sweet. But it’s ridiculously easy to make, and it uses plain ol’ corn syrup, not high-fructose—a completely different animal. If you avoid HFCS, please don’t be scared off.
The PB sauce also makes for a killer banana split, since you’ll have extra heavy cream to whip up with a bit of confectioners’ sugar and a splash of vanilla. In addition to the peanut butter sauce and whipped cream, our sundae had vanilla and chocolate ice cream, fresh strawberry sauce (just frozen strawberries microwaved & mashed with a bit of sugar), U-Bet chocolate sauce, and toasted almonds. Oh, and maraschino cherries, at Harry’s insistence. (He ate all three, the little bugger.) It disappeared in under five minutes.
Peanut Butter Sauce for Ice Cream
Makes about 1 1/4 cups
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I used creamy, but crunchy would work too)
1/3 cup light corn syrup (use 1/2 cup if you’re aiming for Friendly’s level of sweetness)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small, heavy saucepan, whisk everything but the vanilla over medium-low heat until smooth and fully combined.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Refrigerate in an air-tight container and use within one week. You’ll need to warm it up before serving.
MAKE BABY FOOD: It’s technically safe if your family is allergy-free, but given the sugar content I’d skip it until baby’s older.