A banana split can have many variations, but traditionally it includes a banana sliced lengthwise topped with chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream covered in whipped cream, strawberry sauce, chocolate syrup, crushed pineapple and maraschino cherries. Crushed walnuts are another common addition to the sundae.
The banana split was invented by David Strickler in 1904 and originally consisted of a banana topped with two scoops of ice cream, one covered in mixed nuts and one covered in mixed fruit, with a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry in the middle. This quickly changed to three scoops of ice cream, with a variety of different toppings. One scoop of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream is traditional, but many ice cream parlors simply use three scoops of vanilla and rely on toppings for additional flavor. In some recipes, butterscotch sauce is substituted for one of the three toppings.
Traditionally, the banana is split lengthwise and placed in an elongated dish, with the ice cream arranged between the halves and other ingredients placed on top. This makes it easy for diners to get a bite of banana with each spoonful of ice cream. Other arrangements involve slicing the banana into coins and sprinkling them on top of ice cream with the other toppings.