Better get this post on frozen banana pops out before Summer is gone! Seriously, what happened to Summer? I feel like I wait all year long for Summer to arrive, so I can get around to fun outdoor activities (visit Bartram's Garden, picnic in the park, and a Blue Rocks baseball game, to name a few), and here it is August, and I haven't checked any of those activities off my list.
Enough bitching...wanna know what crazy memories are conjured up when I eat frozen banana pops? Caged monkeys in a mall!
The town I grew up in has a locally famous peanut and party goods store called Cromer's Peanuts that sells all sorts of tiny plastic toys and party favors, as well as their famous peanuts ("Guaranteed Worst in Town"), popcorn, and cotton candy. One of their locations was in a mall (the mall location has since closed), and the mall location had a large, glass-fronted cage of monkey on the upper back wall. Yeah, probably not the most humane setting for monkeys, but as a kid oblivious to the ills of the world, these monkeys ruled!
Combine a wall of monkeys doing all sorts of uncensored monkey acts with cheap plastic toys, candy and peanuts, a fun house mirror, and a scale you step on that tells your fortune and weight, and you've got a store a kid cannot resist!
Oh, and Cromer's had hand-dipped, chocolate-covered frozen bananas, too. The guy behind the counter would dip them right before your very eyes before handing the banana pops over the counter. My Mom would always buy us a chocolate-covered frozen banana before we left, 'cause she was awesome like that.Clumpy, ugly chocolate.
The original recipe I looked up had vegetable shortening melted in the chocolate, and I knew some would turn up their noses at that, so I tried melting straight up chocolate, and then chocolate with butter (saw recipes for both), but coating the frozen bananas with either of the two was difficult without having the chocolate get clumpy and ugly. So...I went back and tried melting chocolate with vegetable shortening, and the chocolate coated the frozen bananas beautifully!
To add vegetable shortening or not, is your choice. If aesthetics are a concern, I'd add the vegetable shortening. If you're going to roll chocolate-coated bananas in a topping such as crushed peanuts, ugly chocolate is not that much of a concern.
Frozen Chocolate Banana Pops
makes 12 pops
6 bananas (not overly ripe), peeled
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
12 popscicle sticks (I used wooden coffee stirrers)
crushed peanuts, sprinkles, or other garnishes (optional)
- Cut bananas in half, and push popscicle sticks in cut end, halfway through bananas. Place on a parchment paper-lined tray in the freezer while preparing the melted chocolate.
- Melt chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a double boiler on the stove top over low heat, stirring until completly melted.
- Dip individual bananas into the melted chocolate, holding for a minute or so, until chocolate has hardened before placing back on tray.
- If decorating the pops with crushed nuts or other garnishes, sprinkle garnish on pops or roll pops in garnish immediately after dipping the bananas in the chocolate, and before the chocolate hardens.
- Place pops in an airtight container and store in the freezer.