No. 125: Frozen Banana Bites

Yesterday was a great day.

It all started at our neighborhood CVS. While checking out, the woman ahead of me was short $1, so I handed the cashier a dollar bill.

The woman paused a moment, then said, "No one has been that kind to me in a while. I'll pay it forward. I promise."

I was so struck by her honesty. Though I'll admit it saddened me a bit too that this was the most kindness she had been shown in some time. For her to immediately want to pay this act forward was such a wonderful response, and I told her so.

Finding Kind

It was a simple interaction, 60 seconds max. Yet it stuck with me.

We have so many opportunities each day to be kind and neighborly to others. Sadly, we miss a lot of them. Or think another chance will come along. Or believe that kindness is limited to those in our direct circle, not necessarily those outside it.

And to be clear, I'm preaching to myself in all of this. I'm not one of those amazing people who regularly pays for someone's gas or their Starbucks. I've also never had anything like that done for me. I'm no saint. But $1 was simple. It required no thought at all. It had a huge impact anyway.

I recently watched video of Jeff Bezos giving the 2010 Princeton commencement speech and loved his point of view:

Cleverness is a gift. Kindness is a choice.

It's so true. We can make a thoughtful choice to be kind to others. I need to be better about this.

One last thought on kindness for the day. If you have teenage gals in your life, check out the documentary Finding Kind. There is a wonderful campaign behind it, and the message is perfect for young women.

Banana Bites

How does all this kindness talk fit with frozen banana bites? It doesn't at all:)

We had friends coming over later in the day (hence the CVS run) and I wanted to have an easy, snackable dessert on hand.

Ingredients

2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips*
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
3 ripe bananas
3 cups total toppings — 1 cup each of sprinkles, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, toffee, granola ... any topping you desire

*We used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate. We also did sprinkles and chopped pecans as the toppings.

To make

Before anything else, set up your work space. Place a cutting board for the banana slices to your left. In front of you arrange bowls for the toppings and leave a space for the bowl of melted chocolate.

Work space

To your right, set a parchment-lined baking sheet for placing the dipped banana slices. Have two forks handy. Your work will flow from left to right.

Melt the chocolate in 15-second bursts in the microwave, stirring between bursts. Stop when there are still a few lumps of chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted. While the chocolate is melting, peel and slice the bananas into 1/2-inch slices.

Add the coconut oil to the chocolate and stir until completely combined. The coconut oil will help loosen the chocolate and make a thinner coat over the bananas.

Chocolate

Drop one of the banana slices into the chocolate. Use one of the forks to dunk it into the chocolate and coat it completely. Lift the slice out with the fork and scrape it against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate.

Drop the chocolate-covered banana slice into one of the toppings. Use your fingers to sprinkle additional coating over the top of the banana slice.

Dipping

Using the clean fork, dig under the banana slice and lift it out of the toppings. Transfer it to the baking sheet, using a finger to gently nudge it off the fork.

Repeat with the remaining banana slices. You may need to re-warm the chocolate once or twice while dipping — just set it back over the simmering water or microwave in bursts until it's loose again. Use the chocolate fork just for dipping and the clean fork just for scooping the slices out of the toppings.

Freeze the banana bites until the chocolate is completely solidified, at least 6 hours or overnight. Once solid, transfer the banana bites to a freezer container.

Notes from The Kitchn:

  • Under no circumstances should you freeze the bites before dipping or leave them at room temperature after being frozen. The banana pieces turn to mush as they thaw, making both situations messy and unappetizing.
  • Gooey chocolate will fall into your toppings. Occasionally lift those pieces out with a clean fork and put them on the parchment. They will make great frozen treats too!
  • Bites will keep for up to 3 months. Eat the bites directly from the freezer; once thawed, the bananas become mushy.

The results

The Kitchn did an amazing job writing up the post on these handy little dessert bites. Their notes are right on point, down to the two-fork dipping method.

These are fun, easy, delicious and definitely best made in big batches. Get your assembly line going and then pack them away for when you need a quick snack or mess-free dessert.

Final bites

(About one banana's worth of bites.)

I loved the nutty toppings and others were all about the sprinkles. I think toffee or roasted peanuts would also be awesome.

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Send me your thoughts, comments and ideas at theresolvedcook@gmail.com