Frozen Banana Bites

It’s hot. I like to treat days that are over 95 degrees as “rainy days” – I don’t make myself feel badly for staying put all day in our frosty little home.

As leaving the house is often unavoidable, a frozen dessert makes for a perfect after dinner treat. When Breyers is 4 for 10$ at Giant and I buy four gallons (how could I pass up that deal?), I eat too much ice cream and then I look at the scale with flummoxed consternation when the numbers go up. I lie to myself and say things like, “how could that happen – I am eating the EXACT SAME!”. Newsflash, while 120 calories for 1/2 c. of ice cream isn’t a bad dessert, try actually eating just 1/2 c. It’s smaller than you think – measure sometime. And if you eat it out of the carton (like I do) then there is a much likelier chance of over eating. Ice cream tastes better when eaten out of the carton. Sometimes I throw some nuts on top and say I’ll just eat until the nuts are gone – I’m so weird!

Know what tastes like ice cream but is actually health food? Frozen bananas! I used to freeze them in discs and mix them into chocolate pudding – yum. I don’t know if you’ve ever had frozen banana, but it’s sugary starchiness freezes into an incredible consistency – sort of like really really hard hand dipped ice cream. By covering them in chocolate and adding an ingredient of your choice, you have a fancy looking, easy (and quick) to make, DELICIOUS and healthy dessert. Chocolate really IS good for you, it’s not just one of those things people say (as opposed to “french fries count as veggies” and “marshmallows are healthy since they’re fat free”). Make sure it’s bittersweet or (still good but not AS good) semisweet. Dark chocolate has antioxidants as WELL as healthy monounsaturated fats.

As the recipe says, they can stay frozen for weeks. One last tip – you might find yourself with leftover coatings as well as some leftover chocolate. IF SO, mix it all together, and drop the mixture in spoon-fulls onto a parchment lined sheet. Let sit until set, and store at room temperature. They’re like “everything cookies”, and they rocked my world.

Frozen Banana Bites
Makes 12 bites

3 ripe bananas, cut into 1½ inch chunks
2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons canola oil

For the toppings (Note: Feel free to mix-and-match here, or use just one topping. No matter how you decide to divide it up, you’ll need about two cups total to coat the 12 bites.)
½ cup flaked coconut
½ cup crumbled graham crackers
½ cup finely chopped almonds
½ cup crushed pretzels

1. Arrange banana chunks on a plate and freeze, uncovered, at least 1 hour (or up to a day).
2. Set up coatings in bowls and remove bananas from freezer.
3. Place chocolate and oil in a glass bowl or measuring cup and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.
4. Using your fingers, dunk banana in chocolate and immediately place in bowl with coating. Cover completely with coating. Because the banana is frozen, the chocolate wants to harden quickly. Make sure to get it coated before this happens!
5. Place finished bites back on plate and freeze uncovered for about twenty minutes. Bites can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for several weeks. Let bites sit out at room temperature for about five minutes before eating.

*My husband ranked the coatings. He says graham cracker is best, followed by pretzel, then almond, then coconut. If health is your mantra, go for the nuts.

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