There is a reason this blog has the word ‘bake’ in its name. I learned to bake before I learned to cook. In fact, some of my earliest and fondest memories involve standing on a little green stool in the kitchen with my grandma, helping her bake delicious treats for our family. My grandmother was half Greek, which meant of course that family was the most important thing in her life, and bringing her family together with food was what she did best. If baking is a genetic trait, then I came by it honestly. My grandmother on the other side was a pastry chef and ran her own catering company. As geography and fate would have it, I didn’t get to spend as much time with her in the kitchen, but I did lovingly inherit some of her most famous recipes. And my mother’s pies are legendary; she even won a blue ribbon or two for them at a county fair once upon a time.
It’s odd then, right? that if I love to bake so much that I have only shared one dessert with you so far. Indeed, it would have been very different story had started I this blog three years ago before I realized I have a gluten intolerance. But since then I lost a lot of inspiration to bake. I went through a bit of a mourning period where I struggled come to term with the fact that some of my most cherished recipes – recipes that I have written in both of my grandmother’s handwriting, recipes that bring back sweet memories of childhood happiness, recipes that I made countless times and thought that I’d continue to make countless more times, recipes that I envisioned passing down to my own kids someday – those recipes were making me sick. It felt like a punch in the gut.
Slowly I’m learning to use gluten-free substitutes and have been experimenting with different flours and recipes. It’s like learning to bake all over again, only this time I don’t have the benefit of family recipes that have been perfected over decades, or my grandmother at my side showing me how to do it. I hope to share these recipes with you when I’ve worked out the kinks and deem them blog-worthy. In the meantime I’ve been enjoying desserts that require no substitution for wheat flour.
Mercifully, chocolate does not contain gluten! These banana chocolate bonbons are so easy I’m not sure if I should say “you’re welcome” or “I’m sorry.” Once you discover how easy it is, there is really nothing stopping you from making it all the time. Except for maybe a sense of self-control. If you have that, especially self-control when it comes to chocolate, then I applaud you and certainly can’t relate.
These little bonbons were born out of the realization that I had guests arriving in a couple of hours, no dessert to serve (gasp!), and about half a can of coconut milk leftover from making dinner. Not wanting to waste the coconut milk, I grabbed some chocolate chips, a few bananas, and a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes and voila! dessert.
Chocolate can be easily melted in the microwave without getting too hot. I’m not usually a fan of using the microwave, but I’m also not a fan of doing dishes and this method saves time and hassle of using a double-boiler to melt the chocolate.
Banana Chocolate Bonbons
These are fun to assemble and would be a great project to make with kids. I used unsweetened coconut flakes, but if you want them sweeter you could used sweetened dessicated coconut. The chocolate covered bananas become bite-sized bonbons after being in the freezer for a couple of hours. If you wanted to skip the freezer step, you could serve the coconut chocolate sauce as a fondue, and dip bananas, strawberries, or whatever else you want in it.
1 c. chocolate chips or melting chocolate
3/4 c. full fat coconut milk
4-6 bananas, chopped into 2 inch pieces
dried coconut flakes (unsweetened or sweetened)
Put chocolate chips and coconut milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds; until the chocolate chips are soft enough to melt when stirred. Slowly stir to incorporate the chocolate and the coconut milk. If the mixture is too thin, add more chocolate and microwave for 10-25 seconds more, and stir more to incorporate.
Peel and chop bananas in 2 inch chunks. Fill small bowl with coconut flakes. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Using a toothpick, pick up banana, dip in chocolate sauce and roll in coconut flakes Place on baking sheet and put in freezer for 1-2 hours. After about one hour, the chocolate should be hard and the banana inside will be the consistency of ice cream. If you freeze them for more than 2 hours, the banana gets pretty frozen and has less flavor. If you pull them out of the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving they banana will soften a bit and have more flavor.