This is going to be a highly irregular post for me, but today several friends posted links to Emily Fleischaker’s Buzzfeed article “26 Foods You Should Learn to Cook In Your Twenties.” Well, it’s a timely article to be trending. In your twenties, you should also learn how to prolong the food that you buy. That’s what I did with my day off.
First, it’s no myth. A banana in your fridge will keep longer. Though the skin will turn brown more quickly, the banana flesh inside will be white long after the skin has gone a frighteningly muddy shade. I peered into my fridge last night and feared that the last of our bananas might soon start trying to communicate with us. I’d stuck it into the fridge several days back after I picked up the two remaining bananas from our fruit bowl, and the ends fell away with the ease of a blink. I didn’t want to leave the bare flesh exposed to the elements and the insects that sneak through our open windows.
I’d learned from a friend that frozen grapes are a delightful snack. When a few grapes in a bunch became overripe or just when I want a cold snack, I put the grapes into a Ziploc bag, rinse them, and stuff the full bag into the freezer. Healthier than just about any other frozen dessert and somehow one or two more quenching than a whole bowl of ice cream, freezing grapes also prolongs the fruits’ ripeness.
I thought that the same principle might apply to bananas, and I remembered the frozen bananas delights from fairs in my childhood.
(And let me take a moment to promote this website. Search for recipes for a specific dish or put in a few ingredients that you have about the house and want to use. It won’t give you your mother’s recipes, but it’s fantastic in a pinch, gives you some ideas for modifications, and might just find you some new favorites.)
I followed this recipe pretty truthfully, but I was impatient, and I didn’t have any toffee. I cut that last banana into seven pieces and put them down on a piece of tin foil that I made into a tray by curling up the edges to give the foil a bit of lip. (This makes it a bit easier to carry than a flat piece of foil, I didn’t have wax paper, and a bit of foil takes up much less space in my full fridge than a full baking sheet would have done.) I smeared peanut butter on the tops (crunchy variety gave it a toffee-like crunch) then punched toothpicks through the peanut butter and banana. These went into the freezer for maybe two hours.
A double boiler can be made by resting one pot inside of another. It’s not something I’ve done often and not for a long time, but it worked well.
Because I had only one banana to cover instead of the 4 suggested for the recipe, I used just about two handfuls of semisweet chocolate chips and maybe a teaspoon of shortening (I just scooped out a bit with my rubber spatula).
The chocolate was at just the perfect temperature and consistency for the first two banana bites that I dipped into the mixture. The spatula smoothly plastered it to the sides of the banana and then to the bottom. Then the chocolate burned. I hurried the chocolate off of the burner. The chocolate on these first two hardened into a wonderful shell as I tried to rescue my scorched chocolate.
A splash of milk smoothed the chocolate again, and I plastered it to the remaining banana bites and even got to drizzle a bit over the peanut buttery tops.
Perhaps because my chocolate had to be resuscitated, the chocolate shells took longer to freeze. They sat on their tin foil tray (I only used the one) for about an hour in the fridge before I could resist no longer and I just had to see how they’d come out.
I didn’t wait the 15 minutes before serving that the recipe suggests either. I wanted frozen banana bites.
It was delicious. It could have used more peanut butter, and if you try the recipe, I’d suggest coating the whole thing in peanut butter rather than just the one side (or at least the top and rounded side). But otherwise… glorious. And I bet I could smear the extra peanut butter onto my frozen bites before biting too. Mmm… I’ll try that on the next one.
This is a great recipe, I think especially for the twenty-something. Peanut butter is inexpensive and doesn’t spoil in a cabinet (or I’ve never had it spoil, even if it’s separated a bit). Bananas are perhaps the least expensive fruit that you can buy (usually less than 60¢ per pound when it’s available at all in the grocery store). And once frozen, I bet these will keep forever (not that they’ll be kept more than a few days). They might be a healthier option than some frozen treats. There’s fresh fruit and protein in the peanut butter, but the chocolate isn’t going to help make these any healthier nor is the shortening. I’m not sure why the recipe called for shortening. It’s possible—even likely—that that ingredient could be left out without any ill effects.
If any of you try this recipe, I’d love to hear how it goes. Leave me a comment or a link.
All photos are mine. Click to view them larger.