Banana ice cream—or ‘nice cream’—is every health junkie’s favorite summer treat. The soft-serve, dairy-free concoction is truly more than the sum of its parts. By some stroke of culinary witchcraft (and a high-performance blender), frozen fruit transforms into pure heaven. And, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can push the gate by trying these three funky mix-ins: Dark Chocolate Cinnamon, Cherry Trifle, Kefir & Honey.
First things first: We recommend stocking your freezer with any and all spotty bananas that come your way. If you love nice cream, or smoothies, or any other naturally-sweetened creation, having a constant supply of this magic ingredient is key. Even better, you can usually buy spotty bananas at a discounted rate and/or purchase them in bulk: Grocery stores somehow haven’t yet realized how nutritionally perfect and flavorful bananas are at this stage of ripening. If you can’t find ripe ones, buy the under-ripe green or yellow kind and let them ripen to perfection at home; placing them inside of a paper bag will speed up the process. When they’re nice and spotty and ready, you can freeze them.
For context, I personally buy 8-10 bunches of discounted, very ripe bananas every month. When I return home, I immediately peel and freeze the entire load. By doing this heavy-lifting once a month, I save money and never run out of my favorite ingredient.
BASIC BANANA ICE CREAM RECIPE
- 2-3 very ripe, frozen bananas
- 1 spoon of chia seeds
- 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder or a few drops of vanilla extract
- Water or plant milk, as needed
- High-Performance blender with tamper tool or food processor
- Break the frozen banana pieces into smaller chunks and place in the blender or food-processor. (A couple very important notes: Only attempt if you have a high-performance appliance [i.e. a Vitamix, Blendtech, or Nutribullet], otherwise you run the risk of overheating and/ or breaking a cheaper machine. Also: Two – three bananas are necessary to give the blender enough volume to do its job. One banana simply isn’t enough to fill space and catch the blades.)
- Begin blending on low, using the tamper tool to push down the banana pieces into the blades. If using a food-processor, stop every ten seconds to scrape down the sides, and repeat. The first minute is the loudest, and the most tricky. If you need to, add a little splash of water or plant milk to help the process.
- Once you see the bananas turn from chunks into a lumpy mixture, turn up the speed and blend it into a soft-serve consistency. Really crank the speed near the end to create a whirlpool effect in the blender and make the texture perfectly smooth.
- Scoop out and serve immediately. Banana ice cream melts fast.
DARK CHOCOLATE CINNAMON BANANA ICE CREAM RECIPE
- A splash of any plant milk
- 2 spoons of cacao powder
- 3-4 squares of dark chocolate
- A big pinch of cinnamon
- Stevia drops, to taste
- In a small saucepan, combine the plant milk, cacao powder, dark chocolate, and cinnamon over low heat.
- Melt until smooth and silky. Add a few drops of stevia and swirl everything together. There will be a very little amount, but it’s powerful enough to flavor the nice cream. Let the hot chocolate cool for a few minutes before continuing.
- Follow the same steps of the Basic Recipe, only adding the chocolate mixture the blender.
- Serve and garnish with more chocolate squares.
CHERRY TRIFLE BANANA ICE CREAM RECIPE
- 1 big handful of fresh cherries
- De-pit the cherries and add to the blender before the bananas. This will help the blades turn more easily.
- Follow the same steps of the Basic Recipe.
- To serve, spoon half of the nice cream in a glass, add a layer of de-pitted and sliced cherries or berries, and top with the other half of nice cream. Garnish with more fresh cherries on top.
KEFIR & HONEY BANANA ICE CREAM RECIPE
- 3 spoons of goat milk kefir
- 2 spoons of honey
- Follow the same steps of the Basic Recipe, only adding the goat milk kefir, and one spoon of honey to the blender.
- When serving, garnish with the second spoonful of honey. It will turn into a sticky toffee.
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