Being a Starbucks devotee, my go-to beverages usually come straight from the menu selections, so imagine my surprise when I learned that Starbucks actually has over 80,000 drink combinations based on the variety of ingredients available in the shop. We don’t have time to go through all of them, but we have discovered the key to recreating one of the most popular off-menu selections: the banana frappuccino.
To order this drink at Starbucks, ask for a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino, blended with a banana. It’s as simple as that. To take it to another level, try a banana split variation by ordering a Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino, add java chips and blend in a banana. For extra decadence, ask for a drizzle of chocolate or caramel in the cup and on top of the whip.
Swinging into a local Starbucks isn’t necessarily a challenge, but making a great drink at home is liberating. I’ve done the work to decode the banana frappuccino and provide some options so you can make your own frappuccino at home.
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Here’s what you’ll need:
Milk of your choice (I used 2% milk)
Homemade vanilla syrup (see recipe below)
Whipped cream (the canned stuff works great)
Step one to an at-home frappuccino is the vanilla syrup. The trick here is getting vanilla bean paste. It can be a bit pricey, but the paste will last a while. The Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccino has those little black dots of vanilla that let you know it’s legit. In the homemade version, we want that, too. The syrup has a concentrated vanilla flavor, so when it’s mixed in a beverage the vanilla can shine.
Once the syrup is created, the rest is a matter of assembly. Blended drinks tend to be better when made fresh and in small batches. So, make these to order.
I used a small Magic Bullet to make a grande (16 ounces) size drink. The key to a great blended drink is a smooth consistency without any large ice chunks. My advice is to use crushed ice, so the blender doesn’t have to work as hard to get fine, tiny ice crystals. If you can snag some pellet ice, even better. This ice is not as dense and will blend up perfectly.
I like to have the frappuccino ingredients on hand, as well as additional flavor and mix-in options. These ingredients are great to have in stock if you want to make your own frappuccino bar.
While these frappés are perfect the way they are, you can caffeinate your creation by adding your own strongly brewed coffee or espresso, or you can put your own spin on the drink and throw in some extra ingredients to mix things up.
In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Simmer on low until the sugar is dissolved. Do not let boil. Then remove from heat to cool slightly.
Combine both vanilla extract and the vanilla bean paste into the syrup. Set aside to cool completely.
To make the frappuccino, combine all ingredients in a blender.
Blend until all ingredients are blended well and smooth.
Top with whipped cream and caramel drizzle, if desired.
Serve and enjoy immediately.
Banana split frappuccino
In a blender or food processor, combine strawberries, sugar and water. Blend until smooth and well combined. (If strawberries are very ripe, use less sugar and water. If strawberries are less ripe, adjust sugar, to taste, and use enough water to blend into a smooth consistency.)
To create the frappuccino, combine banana, milk, ice, vanilla syrup, chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons strawberry puree.
Blend until smooth and all ingredients are well incorporated.
Prepare a cup by drizzling the strawberry sauce on the side and the bottom of the cup.
Pour frappuccino into the cup.
Top with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, if desired.
Serve and enjoy immediately.
Syrup keeps well and can be used to make several drinks.