Friday, May 24, 2013

From 2010: My homemade recipe for Bluth's Original Frozen Banana from Arrested Development

Cold Bananas in Delicious Brown Taste
(Photo source: JJA)
This Sunday, Netflix will finally unveil--all at once--15 new episodes of Arrested Development, the hilarious cult favorite that aired from 2003 to 2006 on Fox. These new episodes will be available exclusively at the streaming video service. Ever since I posted in 2010 my attempt to make Arrested Development-style frozen bananas, I've seen some Arrested Development fans on Pinterest and Twitter link to my post. If you're having an Arrested Development season four viewing party, try the following frozen banana recipe I'm reposting, and if the results are as disastrous as Gob's racist ventriloquist act, then try again just like I did (it took me a couple of tries to get the frozen bananas right).

Birth of a dynasty
(Photo source: Balboa Observer-Picayune)
I learned a lot from watching Arrested Development, like the importance of always leaving a note, the existence of a dessert known as a frozen banana (which, in the show's universe, was created by a Korean banana stand owner and known as "Cold Banana in Delicious Brown Taste" before the Bluths stole the idea from him) and George Bluth Sr.'s adage that "there's always money in the banana stand." I had never heard of a frozen banana before Bluth's Original Frozen Banana Stand (a.k.a. "the Big Yellow Joint," the subject of Arrested Development composer David Schwartz's amusing fake '70s stoner anthem "Big Yellow Joint"). I thought a frozen banana was Asian American slang for a McCain-supporting Asian guy who lives under the Uncle Ruckus-style delusion that he's as white as Edward from Twilight while suffering from hypothermia.

I didn't realize a frozen banana is a banana covered in chocolate until when I became curious about fictional foods that were integral to episodes of sitcoms like 30 Rock, The Boondocks and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which gave us "milksteak" and "the grilled Charlie"), and I stumbled upon online recipes for the not-so-fictional dessert.

Yeah, it kind of looks like a chocolate-covered dick, and when peanuts are added to the coating, it starts to resemble poop on a stick, but it's also a delicious snack that's alright for any season. It's essentially a banana Popsicle in a chocolate coating.

'Alright, we have time for only a couple more snapshots. These bananas have to be at a condom fastening demonstration at a high-school sex ed class across town in 15 minutes.'
Bananarchy (Photo source: A.V. Club)
In 2009, a couple of Arrested Development fans in Austin opened their own Bluth-style banana stand called Bananarchy and offered toppings like cinnamon and coconut. They even named an item after Will Arnett's breakout character. "The Gob" is two bananas double-dipped in chocolate and covered in peanuts.

'Frozen banana POWER!!!,' exclaims Terry Crews.
Arrested Development narrator/co-executive producer Ron Howard and Terry Crews, a guest star during AD's new season, both help Netflix promote the show's return at an actual Bluth's banana stand opened by Netflix in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, I attempted a few times to make for myself a frozen banana because I always wanted to re-create a snack that came from a show I admire (and occasionally revisit on DVD). I failed the first time with the chocolate coating, which is the trickiest component to master while making this otherwise simple snack. The coating shouldn't be Oreo cookie-esque, which was how my coating turned out the first time I made the dessert. It should be as smooth as Tobias Fünke's shiny blue pate:

1 ripe and peeled banana
1 cup (6 oz.) of Nestle Toll House Milk Chocolate Morsels
1 tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 Popsicle stick

Rolling a big yellow joint
(Photo source: JJA)
1. Unpeel a banana. Cut an inch off one end of the banana. Push a Popsicle stick into that end of the banana.

2. Put the banana in a Ziploc bag and freeze it overnight.

3. The next day, place the chocolate morsels and the vegetable shortening together in an uncovered microwave-safe bowl. The shortening will thin out the chocolate and make it easier to work with. Heat the bowl on medium-high (70%) power for one minute. If there are still some morsel shapes in the melted chocolate, heat it again for a few more seconds. Stir.

4. Unroll a sheet of wax paper and pour the melted chocolate onto the sheet. Take the banana out of the freezer. If there are ice crystals on the banana, scrape them off. Roll the banana around in the chocolate until it's completely coated in it.

If the Schwarzenegger version of Mr. Freeze wrote the alt attribute for this image, it would go something like 'Buh-na-nuhs, I'm sending yoo to da land of da freeze.'
(Photo source: JJA)

Poop on a stick never tasted so delicious.
(Photo source: JJA)
5. Seal the chocolate-covered banana in an airtight container and place it in the freezer. Keep the banana inside the freezer overnight or longer or until you're secure enough in your sexuality to stick a chocolate penis in your mouth.

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