I’m beginning to think that parenting is just a lifelong excuse to turn anything into a celebration. Because if you really think about it, there is always something to celebrate. The problem with this of course, is there’s always something to celebrate, i.e. there’s always some kind of treat that — in our house at least — seems to be central to the celebrating. It’s the last day of school before spring break: By The Way Bakery cupcakes! You just rode your bike four miles: Mint chip ice cream! It’s Daddy’s birthday: Cherry pie! No cavities at the dentist: Pain au chocolat! It’s Passover: Matzoh brittle! It’s Easter — oh dear Lord, Easter. I think this holiday — which we technically don’t even celebrate — might have officially eclipsed Halloween as the biggest treat-o-thon in our family.
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It begins with the obligatory air-dried Peeps, then the neighbor’s Easter Egg hunt where we are lucky to come home with only a few chocolate eggs. (Woe is the poor soul who wins the 1000 Jelly Bean Jar contest!) And then there is the long-awaited treat-filled basket from Grandma, which, to the girls delight, always includes a ginormous chocolate bunny. A ginormous chocolate bunny that ends up sitting in his plastic case in the corner of the kitchen like a museum piece: So fun to look at, yet never consumed. This year, we decided to change that — instead of letting him get all dusty and sad, we melted him down to make healthy-ish chocolate covered banana pops. They are easy, delicious, and just the thing to cap off our dinner on Thursday, when we plan to celebrate the dog’s third birthday.
There is a recipe for these in my first cookbook, but you don’t really need official instructions. Before you begin, cut your bananas in half, insert popsicle sticks or halved wooden skewers, and freeze for about 15 minutes on a flat surface. While bananas are freezing, melt down your bunny over low heat (removing all bowties and styrofoam accessories, please), whisking as the bunny shrinks.* You can also do this in the microwave in a Pyrex for about a minute, depending on the size of the bunny. When your chocolate has melted, pour into a deep measuring cup or a cereal bowl. Dip your now semi-frozen bananas into the chocolate and place pops down on a wax-paper covered surface. Quickly sprinkle oats, sprinkles, or chopped nuts on top before the chocolate hardens. Freeze until ready to eat, at least a half hour.
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*I added water as mine melted to get to the right consistency, but usually even a drop of water or hint of steam puts the chocolate at risk of seizing, so only do this if absolutely necessary. My friend who works in a test kitchen surmises that the reason mine didn’t seize and get grainy was because the chocolate in the bunny was not, in fact, real chocolate.
Jenny Rosenstrach is the author of Dinner: A Love Story and the blog of the same name. She and her husband write The Providers column for Bon Appetit.