It doesn’t get much simpler than this: take four healthy ingredients, a blender and a freezer, get them together in the same room, and before you know it, you’ll have yourself a luscious, healthy frozen treat that tastes just like a banana split. It’s ideal for those times when you crave something sweet and delicious, but can’t bear the thought of turning on the oven or expending more effort than it takes to tie your shoes. In other words, the perfect summer dessert.
A Whole Bunch of Heart Health
We’ve been on a banana kick recently, having discovered that adding two bananas daily to your diet can lower blood pressure two to three points. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough to lower stroke risk, and we’re all about lowering stroke risk. What makes bananas so magical in the heart health department is their high potassium content. According to RealAge, studies have shown that people with the highest potassium intake cut their stroke risk by nearly 40 percent. What? How? Well, it apparently encourages your kidneys to filter sodium out of your bloodstream, makes pressure sensors in artery walls function more efficiently, and helps blood vessels relax. Maybe it does yoga with them, we’re not sure.
If you think bananas are delicious right out of the peel, or even if you don’t (especially if you don’t, really) – wait until you try them frozen. Their flavor becomes more mild, and they develop a smooth, creamy texture which truly rivals ice cream. This week, we got frisky and ran ours through the blender, resulting in bananas so marvelously ice-creamy they made us think of banana splits. So we tried stirring in the classic topping flavors to see if we could make a healthy version of the full banana split experience, and lo – the Super Simple Banana Split Freeze was born.
Making It Work
Blenderize frozen bananas, stir stuff in – what could go wrong? The only real challenge was figuring out how to incorporate chocolate into a low calorie, all-natural treat. Considering how much sweetness bananas, strawberries and pineapple bring to a party, we took a chance on using unsweetened baking chocolate to represent the traditional dollop of hot fudge sauce. We learned the hard way that eating a big chunk of unsweetened chocolate isn’t a good time, so we broke ours into tiny chips in the blender. We only used half a square, which was plenty, and stirred neatly into our fruit mixture without making it a dull brown color. The fruit was sweet enough to balance the bitterness of the chocolate, and the end result tasted very much like the last few spoonfuls of banana split – the best part, when all the flavors run together in glorious, fudge-swirled tropical chaos. We shaved some leftover chocolate into fun little curls to sprinkle on top.
How’d We Do That?
As anyone who’s worked with bananas and strawberries in 90 degree heat knows, it’s a tough gig to make them stand up straight and act respectable. To make upright strawberry-banana garnishes for your Freezes like we did, the trick is to cut them into medium-thin slices, overlap them prettily on a plate, and pop them in the freezer for at least 10 minutes, or as long as possible. When you take them out, they’ll be frozen stiff and bonded together. Carefully urge them off the plate with a butter knife, and lightly press them into the tops of your Freezes. Ours stayed nice and stiff for about 20 minutes – more than enough time to show everyone how fancy we are.
Super Simple Banana Split Freezes For Three
Depending on taste, more or less than 1/3 cup unsweetened canned crushed pineapple (use fresh if you happen to have some knocking around)
1/2 of a 1 oz. square unsweetened Baker’s chocolate (pure chocolate, no dairy, totally vegan)
Peel the bananas, cut them into thirds, wrap them in plastic and freeze them for at least six hours, preferably overnight.
When you’re ready to make your Freeze, hull the strawberries and chop them as fine or rough as you like – go rough if you like big strawberry chunks. Process the chocolate in the blender until it’s in tiny chips. Take the bananas out of the freezer and process them in the blender until they’re smooth and creamy, pushing them around and scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. Transfer the bananas to a medium bowl, and stir in the strawberries, pineapple, and chocolate. Serve with garnishes, or at least spoons.
Check out some more healthy dessert recipes!
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