Caramel Bananas with Espresso Chocolate on Sweet Crackers
- 2 to 3 packages containing total of at least 36 (2-inch) diameter shortbread cookies (recommended: Sandies Simply Shortbread)
- 1 (12-ounce) jar caramel topping (the kind used as ice cream topping)
- 2 ounces brandy
- 4 to 6 bananas, sliced into 36 (1-inch) pieces
- 2 (12-ounce) packages semisweet chocolate pieces
- 3 tablespoons espresso coffee beans, ground very fine in a coffee grinder
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
Lay the shortbread cookies out on a utility platter.
Heat the caramel topping in a small saucepan so that it is viscous and spoon some on each cookie.
Place the brandy and bananas in a saute pan and light the brandy to flambe the bananas. When the brandy has burnt off, place a banana piece on top of the caramel on each cookie.
The chocolate to coat the bananas will be tempered, a term used to describe the successive melting and cooling of the chocolate within a certain temperature range. This process allows the molecules of the chocolate to align so that it will retain a silky appearance without a chalky finish. To temper the chocolate, place half of the semisweet chocolate pieces in each of 2 stainless steel bowls which will fit over a saucepan double-boiler fashion. Bring an inch or so of water to a boil in the saucepan and fit 1 of the bowls of chocolate pieces over it and heat until those chocolate pieces are just melted (about 90 to 100 degrees F on the candy thermometer). Then pour this just-melted chocolate into the other bowl with the un-melted chocolate, stir to combine, and return all of the chocolate to the double boiler and heat to about 105 degrees F. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the ground espresso. You will need to work quickly to spoon the espresso chocolate over the caramel coated bananas, and sprinkle each with a teaspoon of shredded coconut before the chocolate hardens. Allow chocolate to harden, remove carefully from the utility platter using a thin bladed spatula, and serve.
Recipe courtesy Robert Irvine with Brian O'Reilly Harper Collins Publishers, copyright 2007, All Rights Reserved