Make these Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas
Growing up, I wanted to own an ice cream truck. I thought it had to be the best job–handing over Bomb Pops and Fudgesicles to little kids in exchange for a fistful of sticky quarters. I liked blue raspberry snow cones the best, and I would shake my coin jar upside down when I heard the music of the ice cream truck coming up the street.
I don’t eat blue food anymore, but there is still something magical about a frosty treat on a hot summer day (I mean, yeah. There’s beer. But, you know, like a dessert-type thing). The other day, inspired by an ice cream truck in North Minneapolis and an overabundance of bananas, I began dreaming up a frozen indulgence that could actually be nourishing. One that might even be called healthy. I give you: a frozen banana fit for a runner!
Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, and because raw cacao is not processed with heat like the cocoa in chocolate, it retains all of its antioxidant goodness. The magnesium in both the raw cacao and the bananas help stave off muscle spasms and cramps. If you roll these delights in almonds, you’ll be adding more magnesium to the mix, along with tryptophan, which helps form serotonin (a happy hormone). There’s also theobromine in the raw cacao, which is a mild stimulant thought to aid depression.
Shout out to thevedge.org, where I got inspired.
- 5 bananas, peeled and cut in half crosswise
- 10 popsicle/craft sticks
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 2/3 cup raw cacao
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
- pinch of sea salt
- chopped nuts (toasted or raw)
- dried coconut
- Insert popsicle sticks into the flat end of the cut banana. Bananas curve, and popsicle sticks are straight, so be careful not to push too far.
- Lay the bananas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Freeze bananas SOLID for at least three hours.
- Toast and chop nuts and coconut, if that’s your thing. I used about half a cup of toasted chopped almonds and half a cup of toasted coconuts. (Stay by the oven and watch. By the time you smell nuts toasting, they are likely already burned). Put nuts (or other toppings) in a small, shallow dish.
- In a quart-sized Mason jar, melt coconut oil. You can set the jar in a pan of hot water (coconut oil melts at around 76 degrees, so the water does not have to be boiling). Alternately, you can set the lidded jar outside for a bit in the sun. You can also microwave it for about thirty seconds (not with the lid!). Of course, if you don’t have air conditioning, your coconut oil is already liquid.
- Add cacao powder, maple syrup or agave nectar, and a pinch of sea salt to the jar. Put the lid on the jar and shake until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth.
- Take the bananas from the freezer, and one by one, dip them into the jar of chocolate coating. You may want to pour about half of the coating into a pint-sized jar or narrow glass–just be sure to leave enough room at the top of the glass for the coating to be displaced as you dunk the banana. Allow coating to run off the end of the banana.
- Once the coating has hardened a bit, place the banana back on the paper-lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all bananas are coated.
- Dip each banana again. This time, while the coating is still slightly wet, roll the banana in the nuts/toppings. The coconut oil hardens quickly, so move fast.
- Lay your finished bananas back on the paper-lined tray, and put the whole lot back into the freezer. The residual cold of the bananas helps adhere the coating to the banana, so this isn’t a race (unless, of course, you live on the third floor with no air conditioning. Then, you know, hustle up.)
- Once the bananas are sufficiently re-frozen (maybe a half an hour or so), please eat. And share. You should share.
- You can use any kind of nuts. Salted peanuts would be a good traditional choice. Cashews would be classy. Some finely chopped toffee? Rice krispies? Crushed graham crackers? Really, the options are limited only by your imagination. You can also forego nuts altogether.
- You could have a frozen banana party bar, with all of the toppings on little plates. Prepare the bananas through the first dipping and re-freeze. When your guests are ready for dessert, allow them to do the second dip and the topping. They can eat them straightaway.
- Raw cacao is available by the bag at Whole Foods, any co-op, and Amazon. I use Navitas Naturals brand.
- Open your own banana stand. There’s always money in the banana stand.
What is your favorite healthy way to stay cool after or before your summer runs?
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