I know summer hasn’t quite hit in the north but it’s officially hot in Ft. Lauderdale.  So here’s a recipe for one of our favorite ways to cool down.  If you like bananas and chocolate, you’ll love these.  For the moms out there, your kids probably already love bananas which are high in potassium, but these treats are a good way to get your little ones to eat ‘real chocolate’ and nuts.

Only my oldest son and I will eat (undisguised) raw cacao, so I use the cacao nibs as chocolate ‘sprinkles’ to entice the rest of the crew.  Our favorite brand is by NAVITAS Naturals; we like the Organic Cacao Nibs which, the company claims, are a ‘Mayan Superfood’.  Not sure how accurate that is, but they are high in antioxidants, iron and magnesium. These are also good for adding to cookie dough, muffins, smoothies, etc. and I like to mix them with nuts and dried cherries to make trail mix.

http://www.amazon.com/Navitas-Naturals-Cacao-Nibs-8-Ounce/dp/B000OQ4A3S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1305309200&sr=8-2

You can also add ice cream sprinkles.  If your kids react the way mine do to red & blue food coloring dyes (think: The Exorcist), then you may have also banned the stuff from your house!  We love the sprinkles from ‘Lets do…Sprinkelz’, specifically the ‘carnival’ variety.  They are definitely made from mostly sugar (organic evaporated cane juice and organic corn malt syrup), but at least they are colored with extracts of seeds, vegetables or fruits.

http://www.amazon.com/Lets-Do-Organic-Sprinkelz-Chocolatey/dp/B001HTJ31A/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1305309243&sr=1-4

Here’s what you’ll need:

2-3 bananas (should be firm but not too ripe)

a little over 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips or a 6 oz bar of chocolate (I usually use half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate)

about 1 Tbsp. canola oil

4-6 popsicle sticks (for those of you wondering: yes; we DO wash and re-use ours…but we get new ones when company comes!)

about 1/4-1/2 cup toppings (chopped walnuts, cacao nibs, sprinkles…all of these are optional)

1. Cut each banana in half and insert a popsicle stick into the bottom of each banana half.

2. Place all the bananas on a cookie sheet or large plate (choose something that will fit into your freezer).

3. Melt the chocolate by doing an improvised bain-marie: place the chocolate and oil in a small pan placed inside a larger pan of warm water on the stovetop, stirring to make smooth.

4.  Dip each banana in the melted chocolate then roll in your chosen toppings.  Freeze for about 25 minutes.

Enjoy!