These bananas were the result of yet another Food52 contest– the theme of this one was “Your Best Frozen Dessert.” I batted around ideas for a while… I wanted to create something that wasn’t overly sweet, and that might even be a tad healthy. Then I thought– fruit, nuts, dark chocolate– do a variation on that old-time treat the “dipped banana,” and I think we have a winner. Plus Season 4 of Arrested Development just came out, and there’s always money in the banana stand.
Here’s my write-up from Food52, (the recipe ended up being a Community Pick over there):
This rich and satisfying handheld treat marries the creamy sweetness of a frozen banana with the deep and spicy undertones of a dark chocolate ganache infused with cinnamon. Peanuts roasted briefly in a coating of honey, cinnamon, and ground New Mexico chile, then dusted with flaky sea salt, add the perfect crunchy counterpoint, with a kick that keeps you coming back for another bite. It’s one of my childhood treats — my parents owned an ice cream parlor, and there was always a tray of frozen bananas dipped in crackle chocolate and rolled in nuts available. Now, I’ve recreated it for an adult palate.
Anyway, as the Food52 reviewer mentioned, this really is a quick recipe to throw together, and it was a big hit around the indieculinary household. I could definitely see making these as a light dessert for a summer dinner party or barbecue. And the extra dipped bananas around here may even have been enjoyed for breakfast. (Hey, they’re mostly fruit and nuts.) If you’re feeling nervous about the ganache, A) Don’t; ganache is really easy to make, and B) Check out my post on how easy it is to make ganache, and clear up any lingering anxiety.
- 1 1/2 cups roasted, salted peanuts
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon ground New Mexico chile (or another spicy ground chile, like cayenne)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
- 6 medium, ripe bananas
- 8 ounces good quality dark chocolate
- 4 ounces heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups Spicy Honeyed Peanuts
- Preheat an oven to 300 degrees F.
- Dice the peanuts into small pieces; each peanut should be roughly quartered.
- Stir the honey, ground chile, and ground cinnamon together, and microwave briefly (20 seconds is sufficient) or heat briefly on stovetop. You just need to warm the honey enough that it flows freely.
- Toss the warm honey and spice mixture with the peanuts until coated.
- Spread the peanuts on a silpat over a cookie sheet, and roast for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them and make sure they don't burn.
- Cool. Once cooled, break apart with your hands into small bits, for coating the bananas.
- Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the roasted peanut bits.
- Peel bananas and slice each in half at the midpoint on a slight diagonal.
- Insert a popsicle stick carefully into the center of each banana half, pushing in as far as you can go without the stick coming out the other side.
- Place the bananas on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet and place in the freezer to chill and firm while you make the ganache.
- Chop your chocolate into chunks no bigger than 1/2 inch each, and place in a bowl with room for whisking.
- Combine the heavy cream and cinnamon in a small pot and bring to a simmer.
- Once bubbling, pour over the chocolate pieces. Let sit for one minute.
- After a minute has passed, whisk vigorously. A smooth ganache will come together before your eyes.
- (If chocolate chunks remain despite your best whisking efforts, set your bowl of ganache aside for a moment. Add some water to the pot you've just emptied of cream and bring it to a boil. Set your bowl of ganache above it, completely sealing the pot with the bowl, to create a double boiler. Give it a minute for the steam from the boiling water to heat the bowl, and then whisk again, until your ganache is smooth.)
- Once your ganache is smooth, dip a banana in it to coat. (Note: I've had you make a little more ganache than you'll need, for ease of banana immersion in the dipping phase. I trust you will find a yummy way to use any leftover ganache.)
- Set the dipped banana onto some peanuts and press additional peanuts onto the top side.
- Set the banana back on the wax paper-covered cookie sheet and press peanuts by hand onto any side left uncovered.
- Repeat ganache-dipping and peanut-coating process with each banana.
- Return tray of bananas to the freezer. Freeze at least two hours before serving.