Spice-Dusted Dark Chocolate Banana Pops
The heat and humidity are old hat by mid-April on the coast, but in July, it’s full-on summertime.
Capping these sultry days on a frozen note? You better believe it.
Sure, sure, dipped bananas are far from unique, but the creamy frozen fruit popped onto a stick beneath a rich, crackly chocolate coating was surprisingly unique to us. Flecks of gold and copper from turmeric and cinnamon make these extra special, and add a subtle spicy flavor.
This recipe takes no time at all, and doesn’t require a fancy mold, though you do need popsicle sticks — or tongue depressors, chopsticks, or those short rounded dowels used for caramel apples. Dusted dark chocolate banana pops are totally my new summer thing!
What’s in it for me?
For only 90 calories, one small (6- to 7-inch) banana provides over 10% of your daily needs of potassium, fiber, manganese, antioxidant vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Bananas are considered a prebiotic food, helping create and support friendly gut bacteria for improved immunity and a healthy digestive system.
Turmeric has been revered for centuries around the world, particularly in the east, for medicinal purposes. Its vibrant color is indicative of the polyphenolic compound curcumin, and represents its impressive list of health benefits. Known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric may also have antibacterial and antiviral properties, and has been linked to prevention of cancer cell growth.
Cinnamon is another powerful, and ancient, spice with antioxidant properties that may help promote skin health. It is also being researched for the potential to lower blood glucose and blood lipid levels, and to help treat neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease.
In addition to its rich, intense flavor and color, dark chocolate (aka “bittersweet” or “semisweet”) by definition contains a high percentage of cocoa solids (≥ 60%), and generally no added sugar. In comparison to milk chocolate, dark chocolate is lower in total carbohydrates and sugar, has roughly 2x the fiber, and is a better source of iron, magnesium, and the blood-pressure regulating compound theobromine. Found in particularly high quantities are polyphenols called flavonoids — antioxidants that may help reduce risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
You can’t go wrong with the banana-dark chocolate combo, and I can’t think of a better way to cool down after the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer than these simple, gorgeous, spice-kissed pops!
Tell me… What would you put on your pops? Spices? Nuts? Coconut? More chocolate?!
- 4 ounces (scant 3/4 cup) high-quality dark chocolate chips OR 4 ounces bar dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao), chopped with a serrated knife (see HGN Notes for additional melting tips)
- 4 medium-sized ripe bananas, peeled and cut in half width-wise
- high-quality ground cinnamon, for dusting
- high-quality ground turmeric, for dusting
- pinch of fine or flake salt, optional
- STOVE-TOP MELTING: Put chocolate chips or chopped chocolate in a completely dry heatproof bowl that will fit tightly over a small saucepan.
- Bring about 1 inch of water in the saucepan barely to a simmer, and place the bowl of chocolate over top. Be sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat, and stir again to ensure it's completely smooth. If adding the pinch of salt, go ahead and stir it in now. Use at once before it cools and hardens.
- MICROWAVE MELTING: Place chocolate chips or chopped chocolate in a completely dry wide, shallow microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium high (at 50% power) for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir. Repeat in 15-second intervals, stirring after each to evenly distribute the heat, until the chocolate is mostly melted.
- Remove the bowl and set it aside 30 seconds, stirring occasionally, until completely smooth and melted. If adding the pinch of salt, go ahead and stir it in now. Use at once before it cools and hardens.
- DIPPING: Line a large baking tray with a piece of waxed paper; set aside. Stick a popsicle stick into the cut side of each banana half. One at a time, use the stick to dip each banana half into the melted chocolate, twirling to evenly coat and then to drip off excess chocolate. Place the dipped banana onto the waxed paper-lined tray, and repeat with remaining banana halves. If you need to, use a small rubber scraper to help slather on the chocolate as you get toward the bottom of the bowl.
- After all of the banana pops are coated, sprinkle each with a little bit of both cinnamon and turmeric. Place the tray into the freezer for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 hour, to allow the chocolate to fully set and harden before serving. Any extras will keep in an airtight container or zip-top bag, frozen, for up to 1 month.
+ We prefer dark chocolate with at least 60% cacao, typically more toward 75 or 80%, but the same method can be used with semi-sweet, milk, or bittersweet styles of chocolate.
+ Have fun with toppings -- sprinkle the pops with (or roll them in) chopped nuts or seeds, coconut flakes, chocolate jimmies or colored sprinkles, even crushed graham crackers; OR drizzle with caramel sauce, a bit of runny jam, or a nut or seed butter that's been loosened up with a little hot water.
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