A brief conversation earlier this week reminded me of something that Fred Savage, a.k.a. Kevin Arnold, said in one of my favourite TV shows, The Wonder Years (1988-93). 'Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers; the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul.'
My grown up daughter made her own raw cacao version of these banana pops recently and said she remembered that I used to make them a long time ago, when she and her brother were little. It makes me happy to know that she has such fond memories of her mum's cooking. And truly, these banana pops are so delicious that my mouth is watering as I write this post.
CHOC-HAZELNUT FROZEN BANANA POPS
2 large ripe bananas (approximately 350g)**
200g good quality milk and dark chocolate buttons
1/2-1 cup coarsely ground hazelnuts, lightly toasted
Slice each banana into three or four pieces (see photos). Press a short skewer, wooden cocktail fork or paddle pop stick into the base of each piece. Place them onto a freezer-proof tray, such as the non-stick silicone one shown, or a freezer tray lined with baking paper. Blast freeze for 10-15 minutes until the stick is firm in the base of the banana.
Meanwhile, melt 150g of the chocolate in a Pyrex bowl over simmering water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl). Stir with a spatula until the chocolate is warm and smooth (if you have a candy thermometer you can check the temperature... it should be around 45 degrees C).
Remove the bowl from the heat and then stir in the rest of the chocolate and keep stirring until the chocolate cools down. You can then return the bowl briefly to the heat (to bring the chocolate back up to around 32 degrees C, which is less than blood temperature). This method of melting and tempering the chocolate will make the chocolate smooth and shiny, and it will also have that lovely 'crack' when you bite into it.
So now take the prepared bananas from the freezer and dip them into the melted tempered chocolate and, working quickly, roll them in the chopped hazelnuts. Pop them back onto the freezer safe tray or the tray lined with baking paper and then they go back into the freezer. You can eat them almost immediately, or leave them for a few hours or another day, should they last that long. Serves 6-8. Repeat the process (simply because they are so, so good!).
* For little children, cut the bananas into four or five pieces.
* You can also 'temper' chocolate in the microwave. My friend and fellow cook and blogger, Celia, writes in detail about it here on Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.
** The straighter (i.e. less concave or curved) the bananas, the better in terms of presentation.
A delicious treat for little kids... and big kids too!
My neighbour's children, Evelyn and Petria, have reached the age where they can begin to take care of our kitchen garden and pots for short periods when Peter and I are travelling. This gives them the opportunity to earn a little extra pocket money and is also good in terms of building life skills by giving them responsibility outside the immediate family environment. The girls are in awe of our flourishing strawberry patch and they've enjoyed picking baskets of the fruit. Their mum tells me that they're also amazed by the potatoes and lemons that we're growing in containers. Evelyn (pictured above, top) and her mum popped in at the weekend and we made some of these banana pops, as well as some rocky road, which is their dad's favourite. Watch this space for my rocky road recipe, coming soon. It got the thumbs up from next door. ت
Tell me dear readers, do you have fond food memories from your childhood (I hope so). What were your favourites? Thank you so much for taking the time to pop in and leave a comment. I love hearing from you xox.
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.