Banana Caramel Nut Frozen Yogurt

April 15, 2011

dipped pops

I like bananas when they’ve just yellow but tinged with the faintest color of green on the ridges that run their length.  No spots, firm, and crisp sounding when I pop the top and pull that first piece of peeling away from the fruit.  If bananas could stay like this for days, I’d enjoy one every day all by itself.

But they don’t.

I don’t like the cloying sweetness that begins to take over once the ripening process gets going, and the softer texture leaves much to be desired.  I wish I was better at pulling out the blender because I wouldn’t have trouble making a smoothie and putting a too ripe banana out of its misery with some yogurt and orange juice, but I’m not.

Recently, we’ve had quite the ripe banana back up so I spent more time than I normally would looking for something different to make with them — something other than banana bread or muffins.  I love frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and nuts, but they’re not something to be made with brown bananas.  Pastry Chef Sherry Yard has some delicious ideas involving frying and dipping, so that’s on my list, but I wasn’t in the mood to get too involved.

If not frozen banana pops, then why not banana ice cream — or frozen yogurt since I had Greek yogurt and kefir cheese in the fridge.  Then I could make banana frozen yogurt pops.

Hmmm…

banana pop

Banana Caramel Nut Frozen Yogurt

1 c. Greek yogurt (or any yogurt)

1 c. Greek Labne (can sub yogurt)

3 very ripe bananas — frozen if possible

1/2 c. mango nectar

2 T raw sugar (optional)

1 c. pecans, chopped

3 T caramel sauce

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate morsels for dipping (optional)

You can make this by hand using a potato masher, an immersion blender, or a regular blender.  Mix the first 4 ingredients until smooth.  If you’re using frozen bananas, then you’ll have a few chunks, and that’s a good thing.  Taste for sweetness and add the sugar according to your own tastes.  Scrape into an electric ice cream maker and process until it’s the consistency of soft serve frozen yogurt.

Scrape out into a container that can go in the freezer.  Sprinkle in the pecans and dollop the caramel sauce over.  Using a kitchen knife, swirl through the mixture making sure to incorporate all ingredients.

For soft serve froyo:  Spoon immediately into a cup and enjoy!

For froyo pops:  Spoon soft yogurt mixture into paper cups.  Cover with plastic wrap and push a sturdy stick or straw into the center.  Freeze until firm, then remove the plastic and paper wrapper, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-15 second increments, stirring after each until smooth and glossy.  Dip the pops into the chocolate working very quickly and then when the chocolate is hardened, you can place them back in the freezer until serving time.

For froyo scoops:  Let the yogurt mixture sit in the freezer for at least 1 hour.  You should be able to easily pull an ice cream scoop through the mixture to create perfect scoops.  Drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired.

it's all Greek to me

caramel spread

scoop?

Notes:

  • I looked at so many recipes for banana ice cream and frozen yogurt but many contained ingredients I wasn’t thrilled with.  I adapted this recipe from one I found at Bay Area Bites — a great article that talks about the general expense of purchased froyo and offers several great recipes in addition to the banana.
  • Jamie Oliver’s got a good version of yogurt pops at Food Revolution.  Check it out!
  • So what if you don’t have an electric ice cream maker? Based on the cost of frozen yogurt, it wouldn’t take long to pay yourself back in savings if you purchased one.  My Cuisinart cost $50.  That’s about 3-1/2 trips to the froyo store for the two of us.  Yes, but what if you still don’t have an electric ice cream maker? Spread the soft mixture into a wide-bottomed container, put it in the freezer, and every 30 minutes or so, give it a stir.  Seems tedious, but use a timer, and you’ll be fine.  If you don’t do this, you’ll have a solid block of ice.
  • The caramel sauce I used was purchased at a local market that specializes in foods from South America.  Its flavor is similar to dulce de leche, but is more intense.  You can use any caramel that you have, or leave it out all together, but the flavor is perfect with the banana.
  • Nuts, no nuts, chocolate chips, coconut — go crazy!
  • You can use any kind of juice for this recipe.  I had the mango nectar, so used it.
  • Why frozen bananas?  The chunks are great, and the coldness helps the process of freezing the yogurt quickly.
  • Flavorwise, this was GREAT.  I waited to add the sugar until after it was nearly done processing.  I like the tartness of good Greek yogurt, but thought a small amount of sugar would be nice.
  • So what is Kefir Cheese, you ask? It’s like cream cheese — just more tart.  It’s, thick, it’s creamy, it’s completely fabulous on toast instead of butter and topped with a bit of fruit puree.  Delicious product!  But if using it in this doesn’t float your boat, then use 2 c. yogurt.
  • On the banana pops.  Yes, I have those cute straws.  They’re made of paper, I knew it would be a problem, but my husband and I had fun dangling them over our mouths anyway.  Perhaps regular popsicle sticks would be better, yes?
  • The chocolate is a fabulous flavor to this combo of course, so whether it’s frozen on, or poured over, go for it.

scoops & a drizzle

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan @ SGCC April 16, 2011

This looks absolutely sinful! When I have bananas like that, I usually peel, cut and freeze them in a zip lock bag. I actually have quite a collection saved up and this looks like a great way to use some!

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Kelly April 16, 2011

Great idea, Susan. I’ve never thought of doing that, but it makes much more sense than dealing with black squishy bananas.

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El April 16, 2011

What a great idea. I never know what to do with bananas after a few days. After all, one can only eat so much banana bread. It looks scrumptious.

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kellypea April 16, 2011

I did make banana bread before the froyo, because it’s always worth trying a new recipe — especially if it’s packed with whole grains and has less fat. I could be one of those recipes that gets lost in the shuffle of spring and summer cooking, though. We’ll see.

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Joanne April 16, 2011

You and I have exactly the same taste in bananas! It’s so frustrating because they’re only edible for about one day and there’s only so much banana bread a girl can make and eat! I love this idea though…I always have Greek yogurt in the fridge, so this is a definite must!

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sheila @ Elements April 16, 2011

oh YUM!!!!!!! Now this is one wicked frozen yogurt!!! The first picture of the banana pops sold me but then when I saw the pictures with caramel sauce…I fell in love!!! Wish I had some for dessert tonight!!! :)

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kellypea April 18, 2011

Super easy to make — and eat all by myself after my husband forgets it’s in the freezer. Thank goodness it’s so low in fat!

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Mary April 16, 2011

This looks and sounds wonderful. If the yogurt tastes half as good as you have made it look, this is a sure fire winner.. Have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

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kellypea April 18, 2011

Thanks, Mary :) Definitely a keeper — hopefully with bananas that aren’t quite as black!

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Dewi April 16, 2011

Surely look delicious and perfect summer treat!

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Susan April 17, 2011

Anywhere past the firm, bright yellow stage and bananas are no longer appealing to my taste buds either. Last year I made frozen banana pops but like the sound of this treat much better! Will try!

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kellypea April 18, 2011

I was actually surprised about how much I liked this. I think it was the tanginess — but I wouldn’t turn down a banana pop.

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Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets April 17, 2011

Bananas, caramel, chocolate, and nuts are a match made in heaven. These look so refreshing for the warming weather!

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kellypea April 20, 2011

I completely agree (as I look outside at a steely grey sky and clouds. Spring can be quite chilly here after fabulous warm, winter days. It’s crazy!

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Barbara April 18, 2011

I know…I get so tired of banana bread or muffins. And we all get those over-ripe bananas from time to time. What a brilliant idea. I nearly dropped my coffee at the 9th photo!

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kellypea April 18, 2011

Thanks — showing off the new blog prop I put together. “Does my food look good in this?” hahaha!

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lo April 18, 2011

You and I fall in the same place when it comes to bananas. I like to eat mine when they have just a hint of green yet at their tips. When they get much more ripe, I always think they taste “perfumey”.

We tend to use our frozen bananas for smoothies — but I might have to remember this recipe the next time we have some on hand. SO much more virtuous than our usual ice creams… and my hips are beginning to show it!

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kellypea April 20, 2011

I wish I was a better smoothie maker. Gotta make an effort to work on that! I have one of those big containers for my immersion blender so it should be no effort, but somehow it always ends up feeling that way.

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grace April 20, 2011

your photo titled ‘scoop’ is one i’d like to have made into a print and hanging on my wall posthaste. gorgeous. incidentally, i like my bananas so ripe and sweet, they practically dissolve in your hand. :)

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Kelly April 20, 2011

Why thank you, grace. I think I’m blushing ;). Seriously on the bananas? Ew. I think I just might have to wipe my tongue off over that one. Hahaha!

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Lisa April 21, 2011

Those pops are awesome and so creative! My bananas most always rot and end up in the trash. I start with them just perfect, fresh.. swearing to eat one a day, then I forget. Not too long after, I catch them just as they are super ripe and ready for baked goods..I put it off. For once, I am going to make use of my bananas, and this would be a good way to start :)

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Gerry Speirs April 21, 2011

Your blog looks awesome. As i sit writing this I have 3 over ripe bananas staring at me from the fruit bowl and I can only think of some kind of dessert item…hmmm what to do?

Thanks for stopping by Foodness Gracious!

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Laura April 21, 2011

Nice idea, and it must be so tasty!

Funny coincidence but I had three overripe bananas and I am baking some gluten free banana bread as I type this. I wish I had seen your post earlier.

Great use of your new photo table ;o) I am so glad you inspired me to make one for myself. Can’t wait to use it again. I want to make a deep coffee or black one too.

And yes, I am an avid gardener, grow lots of plants, and I wish I had more flat land to turn my property in a farm! Have to fight against gravity and lots of clay. Love the spring!

To using our hands for creativity!

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Sues April 22, 2011

Wow, this looks amazing! I have a frozen banana (on a stick!) recipe I’ve been wanting to try, but this looks even better!

Happy weekend :)

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Bren April 25, 2011

i need to get in the practice of slicing and freezing my bananas so they don’t go bad…. so many times they go to waste but I looove me some!! great, great dessert here! swoon.

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RachelC March 19, 2014

I saw this and all I could think was “mmmm that looks SO freaking good! And it’s a very healthu smart idea! But I don’t have some of those ingredients and I wanna try this RIGHT NOW!” So I ran to my kitchen, grabbed some of the things I did have, and put a little spin on your recipie. I used my Greek yogurt, a ripe banana, some caramel syrup that’s been sitting in my cabinet for a while, and some cinnamon, and mashed them all up in a bowl (everyone was asleep so I couldn’t use the blender) until I liked how it tasted. I then stirred in some vanilla chain granola, some honey, and a little bit of salt, and came up with a salted caramel sort of taste. I tossed it in the freezer for a couple hours, and it tasted FANTASTIC!! Not exactly your recipie, but I thought I would share in case some people didn’t have all the ingredients. Tomorrow, I will be making a run to the store to purchase all of the proper ingredients so I can truly enjoy your wonderful, delicious idea :)

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