In my house, you won’t find many “sweets” to my mother’s dismay when she comes to visit. I am however a fan of dark chocolate. I admire it not just for its deliciousness, but also its many health benefits. The latest studies show that dark chocolate may be good for the heart and help make blood vessels more flexible. Chocolate contains polyphenols, the same kinds of antioxidants found in red wine and green tea. It also contains stearic acid, a type of fat that doesn't raise cholesterol levels; and flavonoids, which reduce the stickiness of platelets, inhibiting blood clotting and reducing the danger of coronary artery blockages.
This recipe is one that my family enjoys and serves as a satisfying snack or after-dinner treat. Instead of offering your kids sugary snacks like cookies, gummies, or ice cream, try these chocolate banana pops instead. Your kids will love helping you make them too!
- 4 medium ripe but firm bananas
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped lightly salted nuts like pistachios or almonds (optional)
- 12 ounces good quality dark chocolate (like Trader Joe’s 72% cocoa solids), chopped — look for quality dark chocolate or a brand that contains at least 70 percent cocoa.
Peel, then cut each banana into 1 inch pieces. Place the nuts in a shallow bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate on top of a double boiler over slightly simmering water, over the low heat, stirring frequently. Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl with the chocolate in it.
Dip each banana section into the chocolate, turning it to coat, and then roll in the nuts. Place on a tray covered in waxed paper and freeze for 1-2 hours. Once frozen, serve immediately or store in airtight container in freezer for up to 4 weeks.
I also roll the bananas in hemp seed or chopped roasted sunflower seeds to give them an extra nutritious punch!