Try my foolproof recipe for this chocolatey cheesecake that the whole family will love!
“There’s always money in the Banana Stand.”
Arrested Development has been one of my favourite shows for years. Sadly it was cruelly cancelled by Fox during its third season, much to the disappointment of all its fans. It grew in popularity after its cancellation and finally, seven years later, they released a fourth season via Netflix (which premiered 26 May 2013), woohoo! I wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion by making some homemade Bluth bananas, a treat which is sold on the show at the family’s Banana Stand.
(From the Arrested Development facebook fan page.)
As you can see its a pretty easy recipe (my favourite kind!) and is a fun treat to stash away in the freezer. It would be great to make with kids!
Peel four ripe bananas and seal in a plastic bag to freeze for at least one hour (or overnight if you have the time). Remove the bananas from the fridge and insert a popsicle stick or similar (I used the plastic sticks from my iceblock moulds).
If you are crushing your own nuts, this is a good step to get out of the way while the bananas are freezing. I used a handful of almonds and macadamias (but you can use whatever you like: walnuts, cashews, peanuts… anything really). Spread out your crushed nuts on a flat plate to roll your bananas in.
Melt some good quality chocolate (I used dark) and dip your bananas in the chocolate and roll them in the crushed nuts (I made some mini Bluth bananas by cutting them in half as well). You can either eat them now, with the melted chocolate (recommended) or allow them to set in the fridge and allow the chocolate to harden. If you’re going to set them in the fridge, I would recommend adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to the melted chocolate before coating the bananas – this will make the chocolate coating a bit thinner and easier to bite into. You can store them in the freezer for up to one week.
Frozen Bluth Bananas
Makes: 4 large frozen bananas, or 2 large and 4 small (depending on how you want them!)
Time to prepare: min. 1 hour to freeze, 10-15 mins to assemble
Bluth Frozen Bananas
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1 cup of nuts of your choice (I used 1/2 cup macadamias and 1/2 cup of almonds) you can also omit these if you have a nut allergy
- 1x200g block of chocolate (I used dark but you could use milk or white if you prefer)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)
Equipment needed: a food processor (or you can seal your nuts in a ziplock bag and bash them with a rolling pin!), a bowl to melt chocolate in, 4 popsicle sticks or similar, 1 plate, ziplock bags
- Peel bananas and place in a ziplock bag to freeze for at least one hour (overnight if time permits).
- Remove bananas from the freezer and ziplock bag. Insert popsicle sticks into base of bananas. If you want to make mini versions, cut frozen bananas in half and insert popsicle sticks into cut bases.
- Melt chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl. If you are planning on putting your bananas in the fridge after coating (or storing any leftovers in the freezer), add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your chocolate now.
- Dip frozen bananas into chocolate, coating completely.
- Roll your chocolate coated bananas immediately into your plate of crushed nuts until they are completely covered.
- Serve, or place in the fridge to harden the chocolate if you prefer them that way. Store any leftovers in the freezer for up to a week.
Ever since my recent gluten and dairy free stint, I must admit there have been a few foods that I have been missing. Cheese is definitely one. Buttery, delicious pastries have been another! Creamy mushroom fettuccine (be still my beating heart!) has been another as well as white chocolate, butter and supermarket iced coffees. I will admit that this diet has definitely forced me to be a lot healthier but I am surprisingly enjoying it. While I do enjoy healthy food, its quite often that the lazy side of me will choose unhealthier options out of convenience and price – especially for my unplanned work lunches which have recently transformed from Chinese fried chicken takeaways, chips and creamy pastas to roast chicken salads to tuna, tomatoes and herbs on gluten free crispbreads, lots of fruit and loads more veggies. Since I chose such unhealthy options so frequently in the past its almost surprising how much I enjoy the change and I do hope it’s a habit that sticks. It’s also fun coming up with healthier versions of things I normally cook as its surprising how delicious the results often are.
All that aside – I must say that it’s definitely nice to have a treat now and then and one thing I definitely miss is brownies. When I first started baking, brownies were my go-to recipe and I loved making super naughty versions of them (my faves had cookie dough swirled into the brownie batter with a thick layer of chocolate ganache. heartstoppingly amazing!) So while fruit has been my latest go-to dessert, sometimes you just want to sink your teeth into something soft, dense and amazingly chocolatey – which led me to go searching for gluten free brownie mixes. I found this one at Woolworths for $4.99 and thought I’d give it a shot. Coles also sell a similar mix, but for a different brand which I’d be interested in giving a try.
I made a few adaptations to the instructions on the box to suit me a bit better;
- The box mix says to add 2 eggs and 1/2 a cup of melted butter, but I substituted the butter for 1/2 a cup of rice bran oil to make it dairy free and couldn’t taste a difference. In fact it was a bit more convenient as I didn’t need to melt any butter.
- The box mix also includes some chocolate chips which it says to melt with the butter to mix into the batter, but I skipped this and just added them to the batter for some extra texture which I think turned out really well and did not detract from the chocolatey flavour of the brownie batter overall.
For those wanting to make a vegan version of these brownies, the box also recommends the use of egg-substitute in place of 2 eggsa (however I did not try this so I’m not sure exactly how the results would come out.)
Here’s what I came out with:
So the verdict? I found these brownies to be an excellent substitute for regular brownies. They were very moist, dense and chocolatey. I particularly enjoyed the chocolate chips in the batter rather than melted, but that’s just a personal preference. I found it hard to find a difference in taste or texture to regular box mix brownies that normally contain gluten/dairy. They were also very easy to make (just mix together eggs, oil and ingredients in the box and bake – too easy!). I imagine the ingredients are something like a mixture of corn/rice flour, sugar and cocoa powder so would probably be quite easy to put together yourself with a good recipe, as well as cheaper – but generally buying a box mix for the convenient factor usually adds a bit to the price. If they were on sale, I’d definitely snag another box but for full price, I don’t expect it’s something I’d buy regularly. In terms of taste and texture though, I would give it a 4/5.
After sampling a few brownies, I froze the rest of the batch to prevent me from eating it all… Until I discovered that frozen brownies taste amazing. (If you haven’t already, you have to try it! They get denser and almost taste richer – if that’s possible?) You could also microwave them for a warmer brownie if that’s what you prefer, but I bet you will find these very handy for when you need a quick sugar fix!
So how about you readers? Would you consider trying gluten/dairy free brownies or do you prefer to stick with the real deal?
*This has not been a paid review. Cooking Crusade paid for the box mix/ingredients.