banana-hazelnut fudgesicles

the weather in seattle has finally warmed up a bit. enough so that i broke out my popsicle molds. yes, thats right, i own popsicle molds. drawing inspiration from an upcoming trip to italy, i wanted to create a nutella-flavored fudgesicle without the extra fillers. hazelnut-chocolate is an ideal combination, but nutella packs in a silly amount of extra sugar and oil to their product (the main ingredients are sugar and oil... oy!) does that stop me from indulging every once in a while? no. but for my home-made fudgesicle, i envisioned a lighter version made from toasted hazelnuts, cocoa powder ground from raw cocoa nibs and blended with bananas and almond milk. the fudgesicles turned out wonderful! the bananas give them a custardy texture, and the almond milk adds a perfect creaminess. i made a few with whole hazelnuts dropped into the mix - those were fun to eat, but the ones without nuts were a bit more classic. 

banana-hazelnut fudgesicles - makes ~ 6:
4 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (raw is optional)
3/4 cup hazelnuts (raw or toasted) or 1/2 cup hazelnut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

if using a high-power blender or food processor you can get away with blending all ingredients together instantly. if your blender can't quite take on whole nuts, simply use hazelnut butter for a smoother texture. a vitamix works best, as you will get a very creamy texture for your fudgesicles.  add more almond milk if the mixture is not quite incorporating fully. the final texture should be like a thick smoothy. scoop into popsicle molds, or into small paper cups with a popsicle stick in the center of each cup. freeze for at least 3 hours. feel free to add whole or chopped hazelnuts to your pops for a fun extra little crunch.

another great dessert idea: follow the same ingredient list, except freeze your bananas first. blend together until you have a soft-serve ice cream texture and eat as is! just as delicious as the fudgesicles!