Healthy Banana Ice Cream
Ok I know what you are thinking. Gross! How can Banana Ice cream taste good? Resist every urge you have to click away from my blog post and keep reading. It may not appeal to you yet, but it will once you try it. It will play mind games with your taste buds; it will make you want more; it will make your kids thinking ice cream is “healthy.” Don’t be afraid and try it.
A few years back, I found an article talking about the “1 ingredient ice cream.” The lone ingredient wasn’t cream or sugar; it was frozen bananas. I was shocked, how can frozen bananas taste anything like ice cream? I finally tried it after months of not believing the very words I read and now I kick myself for not trying it earlier.
* DISCLAIMER: So I will be honest and admit that my favorite version of this banana ice cream has more than 1 ingredient but it is still healthier (and yummier and less processed) than the hundreds of “fro yo” places out there. So if I were you I would try it first without any “mix- ins” first and see if you like it plain. Then the world is your oyster. Some of our favorite ideas for our favorite mix- ins and banana ice cream concoctions (isn’t that such a silly word?!?!?!?) are almond butter, dark chocolate chips, dark chocolate cocoa powder, toasted coconut, pistachios, ground espresso beans, etc. The sky is the limit. Recently, I discovered Love Bean Organic Chocolate Fudge and I am obsessed. I put it on and in everything, to include fresh strawberries and of course my banana ice cream. They are a local Austin based company and have real ingredients. Check them out and I promise you will be hooked too. Let me know if you have any other good ideas to try.
- 1 to 1½ frozen bananas per person
- Toppings/ "mix ins" of your choice (Dark chocolate chips, Love Bean Fudge Cream, scoop of almond butter, pistachios, toasted coconut, the list goes on…)
- As soon as your fresh bananas start showing any small brown spots, it is time to conform them and move them to dark cold side. You may hear many people “saving” too ripe bananas for future banana bread. I am here to tell you to forget banana bread. Once you make this ice cream you will forget your grandma's secret banana bread recipe for good. OK back to the ripe bananas, go ahead and peel them and then place them in a frozen ziplock bag. Bananas need to be completely frozen for the ice cream to have the best consistency so if you are planning on making this ice cream you need to plan ahead. I have bananas that are months old waiting to be made into ice cream and it’s ok because they hold up for up to 6 months, but at a minimum they should be frozen for at least 12-24 hours beforehand for this recipe to work.
- Chop frozen bananas into small pieces and place in blender or food processor. (* 2nd Disclaimer, I learned this the hard way but you need to chop the banana into small slices because if you place them in whole or in half, it will take longer to smooth the bananas and your blender can start smoking and before you know it the engine has burned out. I speak from experience when I tell you this step is crucial and clearly I want you to learn from my mistakes).
- Place the chopped frozen bananas in the blender/ food processor, hit chop, blend, start, puree, etc and watch your blender or food processor dance. After 30 seconds to 1 minute, you will see your bananas turn into little balls of chalky- like pellets. At this point you are thinking, Laura has no clue what she is talking about and you want to quit. Well talk yourself out of it. Keep going.
- Wait. This step is the hardest step. It takes a while (4-5 minutes) for the bananas to start transforming into the consistency of soft serve ice cream, but I promise you patience is a virtue and yummy things comes to those who wait. I will mention again and reiterate the importance of having your bananas chopped up from the start. It is these crucial ⅘ minutes that can burn your motor up or dull your blade if they were just dropped in whole.
- Once you see that all or majority of the ice cream is that yummy soft serve consistency, you have a choice. Finish up and eat your dairy free, gluten free, 1 ingredient paleo healthy banana ice cream OR you can go crazy, live a little and add a topping. Since I live on the edge, I usually add something but I will tell you a little goes a long way. To make ice cream for my crazy family of 4, I may use 3 or 4 bananas tops and all I do is put 1 hefty spoonful of almond butter and my kids think they are eating almond butter ice cream not banana ice cream. Almond butter was our favorite mix- in until recently Ben tried adding a few dark chocolate chips to the blender in addition to the Almond Butter and it is awesome too. Those are the pictures you will see below. The rest of the time, we usually add the almond butter to the blender and after we scoop it out into our cups we may top our ice cream with chocolate chips or toasted coconut or nuts. Again you can add whatever you want, like you would order at your local ice cream parlor. Does anyone really refer to ice cream joints as parlors anymore? I digress.
- Scoop and add toppings and be ready to be wowed.
So next time your kids want Dairy Queen, make this for them and you will be amazed not only the money you saved but the extra pounds you saved them from adding by eating this healthy version of a “special treat.”
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