If you live anywhere near a Trader Joe’s, then you have probably seen their frozen dark chocolate banana bites. They are relatively cheap and way too delicious to keep around. My son is a huge (HUGE) fan of them and while there are minimal ingredients, they do unfortunately contain soy lecithin (like way too many chocolates out there!).
My solution was to just start making our own banana chunks dipped in dark chocolate. Easy enough right? Cut pieces of banana, dip in melted dark chocolate, refrigerate to set.
After a while they morphed into these. I am pretty sure it was during recipe testing for BLEND: Artisanal Smoothies For Food Lovers when it happened because there is a date caramel sauce that we use for one of our smoothie recipes (coming out in a future volume!) that I was putting in and on all kinds of things. It’s that good!
Anyway, these are super easy, fun to make (especially with kids), vegan, paleo and gluten free. Plus, they keep in the freezer for a while so you can make a big batch!
- I recommend Medjool Dates for their natural, caramel-y sweetness. Try to find the ripest ones you can. If they feel dry, they will not be as creamy and may need to soak for a couple hours or even overnight before processing.
- I used two 3.5-ounce Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark Chocolate Bars. Not only is their chocolate delicious and organic but it is one of the few that is soy lecithin free!
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Paleo Frozen Banana Bites
- 8 large Medjool Dates pitted, chopped and soaked for 1/2 hour (or more*)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 1 1/2 to 2 small bananas cut into 24 1/4" pieces
- 7 ounces of dark Chocolate divided and melted
- Hawaiian Sea Salt or coarse sea salt for finishing
Remove the pits from the dates and coarsely chop. Place in a 1-cup measuring cup - the chopped dates should (loosely packed) fill to just above the 3/4-cup line. If not, use more dates. Cover with boiling water up to the 1-cup line and let sit for at least 30 minutes. You may need more time if the dates are not super soft and sticky.
Once the dates have softened, pour the dates and their soaking liquid into a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth.
Add vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt to the date mixture and transfer back to measuring cup. It should be shy of 1-cup. Set aside.
Peel bananas and cut into twenty-four 1/4" pieces.
Line a mini-muffin tray with mini-muffin or candy liners and set up a double boiler to melt half (3.5 ounces) of the dark chocolate.
When chocolate is melted, working quickly, use about half of a teaspoon to fill the bottom of each candy cup. Make sure the chocolate spreads across the entire bottom and you can't see through it. Once done, place in freezer to set for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove chilled tray, add one banana slice to the bottom of each candy cup and top with approximately 1/2 teaspoon of the date mixture.
Melt the remaining dark chocolate (3.5 ounces) and top each candy with a little less than 1 teaspoon until all of the chocolate is used up and each candy is completely coated.
Finish with a sprinkle of Hawaiian (or coarse) Sea Salt and place in the freezer to set for at least 30 minutes. Once set, remove from tray into an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Enjoy!