WILDFIT Banana Split Skewers

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A delicious summer treat with all of the flavor and none of the heaviness or bloating! This simple snack or dessert tastes decadent, while still being free of refined sugars. The fruit adds a natural sweetness and satiety, while the sauces create a rich, layered flavor palate that will make this dish a hit at any BBQ or garden party.

At a Glance

Challenge Weeks: 1 & 13.

Seasons: Fall.

Prep Time: 15 minutes.

Cook Time: 20 minutes.

Makes: 6-12 servings.

Ingredients

Skewers:

Four ripe bananas, chilled, cut into 1-2″ pieces

One pineapple cut in 48 1″ pieces 

24 large strawberries, rinsed, dried, and halved

⅓ cup chopped nuts (almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts or filberts all work well here)

24 wooden skewers

Caramel

1 can Full-fat coconut milk

¾  cup coconut sugar

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼  teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate Sauce:

⅓ cup of raw cacao

⅓ cup honey

⅓  cup cacao butter

Instructions for Delicious Banana Skewers

Both the caramel and chocolate sauce can be made ahead of time and set aside, or everything can be pulled together at once, it is up to you! The one caution is that you will want the fruit to be cold, so best to keep the prepared fruit skewers refrigerated until serving, and drizzle with sauces and nuts directly before serving for best presentation. Also note that the chocolate hardens at room temperature, so if made ahead you will need to gently reheat it before using.

This caramel sauce is nothing short of a marvel; it tastes so buttery you would never suspect it is dairy free! Coconut sugar caramelizes similar to granulated sugar and the body still recognizes and reacts to it like sugar. However, unlike refined sugar it still contains the minerals iron, zinc, calcium and potassium which help the body to optimally break down and use it. And, it contains a fiber called inulin, which may slow glucose absorption into the body.

Many people are intimidated to create homemade caramel or candy, but not to worry, no candy thermometer needed here! This sauce comes together easily, as long as you focus during it’s cooking and enjoy the sights and smells of the process with patience, rather than getting distracted. 

Making the caramel sauce

Place all caramel ingredients except the tapioca and water into a medium saucepan and set over medium high heat. Stir frequently with a whisk as the caramel comes to a boil to avoid the sugar burning on the bottom. Once the sauce reaches a boil and starts to bubble, reduce the heat to keep it at a simmer. At this point, continue to stir it every few minutes for about 15 minutes, until it has reduced and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat. Mix the tapioca and water together in a small bowl and pour it into the sauce, whisking to distribute evenly. This step is not necessary, but it does thicken the sauce a bit. Set the sauce aside to cool, it will continue to thicken as it does so. 

If you let the sauce move past this point to becoming tacky, it is not the end of the world, it will simply be a more sticky drizzle. However, it is important to keep it warm, as if it has reduced too much it will harden at room temperature. If this happens and you have extra sauce afterwards, pour it onto a piece of wax paper and add a sprinkle of extra nuts to make caramel treats. 

Making the chocolate sauce

The chocolate sauce is another dream too good to be true. Often these sauces call for chocolate chips, which have some amount of additives, dairy, or soy lecithin to emulsify the mixture. This recipe uses pure cacao butter mixed with cacao powder to create the same melted chocolate effect, and honey to bind and sweeten the sauce. 

The cacao butter I prefer is in wafers that are solid at room temperature. To melt them, create a double boiler by bringing water to boil in a saucepan, and placing the wafers in a stainless steel bowl over the water. The rim of the bowl should exceed that of the pot, but the pot should be wide enough that the base of the bowl is immersed in the water. The cacao butter will quickly melt, at which point you can remove the bowl carefully from the heat and allow it to cool slightly before mixing in the raw cacao powder and then the honey. Set aside. 

You can also easily substitute cocoa powder for cacao if that is what you have on hand. Cacao powder is made from fermented beans that have not been roasted and are processed at low temperatures and then milled into a powder, so they retain more nutrients. The result is a powder that’s more bitter in taste and higher in nutritional content than standard cocoa powder.

We use honey to sweeten this sauce. Honey is nutritionally dense and naturally full of prebiotic fiber, enzymes and amino acids which slow and aid digestion and benefits health in many ways. Even though raw honey is made up of mostly simple sugars and water, it’s medicinal effectiveness lies in the high levels of vitamins C, D, E, K and B-complex and beta-carotene, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and essential oils. However, pasteurization causes a negative chemical change that makes it taste bitter, which is why sugar syrup is often added afterwards. Heat destroys the beneficial qualities of honey and causes it to lose its essential enzymes and nutrients, so always add honey to your raw recipes and save maple syrup for the baking.

For the garnish

We used chopped nuts as the final texture and crunch creating element on this dessert. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts or filberts all work well here, and you can use basically whatever you have on hand! Take about ⅓ of a cup and either pulse in your blender or food processor a few times until they are roughly chopped. You can also carefully use a knife for the same job. I like to use nuts that have been soaked, dried and gently toasted in a pan for the best flavor and digestibility. 

Making the fruit skewers

When using fruit in a recipe, making sure it is always perfectly ripe is a practiced art. I chose to use ripe bananas that had been chilled overnight in the fridge. You want the bananas to be sweet and creamy, without being mushy and brown so that they can perfectly replace the ice cream in a traditional Split. Peel the bananas and slice into 1-2 inch pieces, then set aside.  The strawberries need to be well washed, destemmed, and sliced in half, width or lengthwise is a personal preference. 

Choose a consistently bright yellow pineapple to ensure it is ripe and juicy. To prepare the pieces, chop off the stem and bottom, sit it on one end and cut the tough exterior off in large strips, using a downward motion. Next slice the pineapple into quarters by making a T cut right down the middle. Cut the core off each section and then cut small slices in the opposite direction, making two rows of bite-sized chunks. 

Once all the fruit is ready, assemble the skewers by threading two pieces each of banana, pineapple, and strawberry onto a skewer. Repeat the process to assemble 23 more skewers. Place all the skewers on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Finishing touches

Finally, decorate the fruit by drizzling first the caramel and then the warm chocolate sauce onto the skewers. Sprinkle the skewers with chopped nuts and place them in the fridge or freezer to set for a few minutes. Now they are ready to stack onto a serving platter and serve your delicious banana skewers! 

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