Frozen treats are extra refreshing during summer’s triple-digit temperatures, but most store-bought ice cream bars are loaded with calories and artificial flavorings. At our house, a favorite treat is fruit bars that we make ourselves with real fruit. Yes, they’re coated with dark chocolate, but the flavonoids in chocolate are good for you and the insides are 100 percent natural and delicious.
Depending on what fruit your kids choose, they’ll turn out juicy (mango, strawberries, pineapple) or creamy (bananas, papayas) or crunchy (apples, pears). You can leave the fruit whole if it’s the size of a strawberry, but if it’s bigger than that, cut it into thick slices.
Spear the fruit with a lollipop stick and lay flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes until it’s hard. Dip in melted chocolate and lay flat on a sheet of parchment paper. Don’t worry that the chocolate is wet; it will pop right off the parchment once it hardens. Because the fruit is cold, the chocolate will set up quickly, so if you’d like to sprinkle with finely chopped nuts, do it right away.
As soon as the shell is hard, the kids can dig in. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, they keep nicely in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Freezing could make the fruit too solid to bite through and you don’t want to chip a tooth!
The fun part is watching your children come up with all kinds of “fruit bar” ideas. Kiwi, anyone?