This is easier than you think, promise! No small fiddly things to dip and no worries about tempering the chocolate.
I used to buy and love Trader Joe’s Gone Bananas whole frozen bananas on a stick. They were one of my standard snacks, good both for a sweet tooth and for quick post-workout carbs. Then TJ’s discontinued them, prompting me to get serious about doing what I always thought would be easy, but hadn’t gotten around to– make them myself. Now TJ’s has a new, bite-sized version of Gone Bananas made with chocolate-covered banana slices.
Too bad, I’ve already got the routine down for chocolate-covered banana popsicles and I love my variation of covering them with cocoa nibs. The nibs give substantial crunch, and the sweet banana and chocolate coating balance the bitterness of the plain cocoa nibs. I’ve tried this with sweetened cocoa nibs and with unsweetened ones and much prefer unsweetened.
You can leave the bananas whole or cut them in a variety of ways. I don’t like to have the natural curve of the banana on the bottom of the stick, so I either cut the bananas in half or trim off the ends. I freeze the trimmed ends separately for future use in smoothies. The really big bananas I cut in half lengthwise, but for the smaller ones, that makes it too hard for me to insert the stick.
Chocolate experts will tell you that the best, the only way to melt chocolate for dipping is in the top of a double boiler, with a simmering hot water bath in the bottom pot. In point of fact, you can also use a microwave. Theoretically that can cause bad things to happen but it usually doesn’t. However, now that my microwave platter does not rotate, I’m melting chocolate the right way on the stove.
I melt more chocolate than I actually need for the bananas to avoid having to scrape out the last bits out of the pot and on to the banana. Once I’m done dipping bananas I pour the extra chocolate out onto some parchment paper on a baking sheet. I could just cool it plain to use again, but instead I’ve been making chocolate bark. I’ve made bark sprinkled with cocoa nibs, with a crushed-up peppermint candy cane leftover from Christmas, and with almonds stirred into the pot of chocolate to make chocolate almond bark.
My pot is too small to fully dip the banana in the chocolate so I sort of half-dip it and drizzle chocolate on the rest with a cooking spoon or spread it on with a spatula. If you wanted a thin layer of chocolate, you’d have to add oil or lecithin to the recipe like Trader Joe’s does. As far as I’m concerned, a thicker layer of chocolate is a feature not a bug, so I just melt it as is. If you are going to sprinkle on cocoa nibs or something else (crushed nuts, coconut shreds) work quickly. I freeze the bananas in a very cold stand-alone freezer, so they set up the chocolate in no time. I get the chocolate on the banana as quickly as possible and then sprinkle on cocoa nibs immediately.
The hot chocolate will melt the bananas slightly and I like them that way, a little softened. I’ll usually eat at least one right away and put the rest back in the freezer on a parchment-paper-covered baking tray. They can go from the tray into a large zip-lock bag in just a few minutes once they are completely frozen.
Enjoy! And please let me know how you like the recipe in the comments below, I love to hear from you!
- 1 lb. bananas (three or four small, peeled, one end trimmed off)
- craft wooden popsicle sticks
- 1 lb. (or slightly less) dark chocolate, melted in the top of a double boiler (or microwaved in short bursts until soft, stirring between each zap)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa nibs
- Cut and trim bananas as desired. I prefer the end that's on the stick to be straight to make it easier to insert the stick and to eat the popsicle. So I either cut the bananas in half or cut off one end of the banana and save it, frozen, for another purpose (my morning smoothie). With an especially thick banana, I may cut the banana in half lengthwise.
- Insert a popsicle stick into each banana.
- Lay the bananas onto a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours.
- Melt chocolate, either in a microwave or on the stove top. For the stovetop, simmer water in the bottom of a double boiler while melting the chocolate in the top pot of the double boiler. It is important that no water gets into the chocolate.
- Remove bananas from freezer, dip into melted chocolate one by one. If your pan, like mine, is too small to submerge the chocolate, drizzle or spread chocolate over the rest of the banana with a spoon or spatula. Work quickly if you are planning to add cocoa nibs or something else to the banana, since the chocolate sets up quickly on the frozen banana.
- Set the banana on a parchment-paper-covered baking sheet.
- Sprinkle cocoa nibs on the banana, turning it to get both sides.
- Enjoy one right now, or place bananas back in the freezer on the parchment-paper covered baking sheet.
- The bananas can be transferred from the baking sheet to a large zip-lock bag once the chocolate is completely firm, which will take only a few minutes in a large freezer.
- There will be 7 or 8 oz. of chocolate left over. Pour it onto a parchment-paper-covered baking tray. Let it cool, plain, to use again, or sprinkle it with your favorite topping and cool it at room temperature to make a chocolate bark.