Standard advice for bananas that are about to turn the corner into overripe mush: Bake some banana bread! Tried and true, nothing wrong with that. Who doesn’t love a good banana bread? But quickbreads and muffins and the like, while delicious and perfect for a comfort food day, are on the heavy side – and it can get a little old. there are fun ways to jazz it up, of course, but I recently learned of an idea that takes leftover bananas into a whole new arena – one that could NOT be healthier!
I give you: raw banana ice cream.
This is one of those life-changing recipes (though it’s more of a concept than a recipe; I’m just going to give you some flavor ideas). Seriously, when my child asks for ice cream, THIS is what she’s going to get. When I want a treat, why not go with something that has no dairy, no added sugar of any kind, refined or otherwise, no artificial ingredients, nothing. In essence? IT’S JUST BANANAS. And then you add whatever flavor accents you like. I’ve used frozen bananas in smoothies before, but I never knew that simply blending it basically by itself would yield such ice-cream-like frozen perfection. If you’ve never tried this before, I insist you do it ASAP.
Here’s one template:
RAW BANANA ICE CREAM
2 frozen bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I especially like dark)
pinch of salt (totally optional)
So step one: When your bananas are starting to get away from that Chiquita-perfect “flecked with brown, golden hue” area, just cut then into average-sized slices and pop them in the freezer. This makes it easier to break down in the blender than a whole banana frozen solid, a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. I also like to freeze the chunks spread out on a plate first and then transfer them to a ziploc, since they stick together more otherwise. (You could probably skip this if you needed to.)
Step two: Once frozen, simply dump into a blender or food processor, add your flavors (below) and blitz it! Lucky for me, I recently inherited a Vita-Mix, and wow, does it ever make a world of difference. I use the variable speed and start slow, building up as it gets broken down. If you have a blender that’s not quite as powerful, it’s still possible, but you’ll need more time, and possibly a TINY bit of liquid (whether that’s cow’s milk, coconut milk, or whatever). Just take it easy if you do – we’re going for soft serve, not a shake. Anyway, even with the oomph of the Vita-Mix I do have to scrape the sides and pack it down a few times, but it’ll happen eventually!
That’s it. That’s all. This gives a perfect portion to two adults; you could probably split it 3 ways for kiddos.
If you didn’t want chocolate, just use the vanilla – simple perfection. That’s seriously all there is to it. This is plenty sweet for me, but it’s going to depend a little bit on how ripe your bananas are, actually. I used some ripe but not super or over-ripe ones once and I actually added a little bit of stevia (and you could use your choice, of course). But do try it with nothing first – you might be surprised!
Other flavor combos I’ve tried:
- Omitting the cocoa, add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee and 1 teaspoon cinnamon – you’ve got cappuccino.
- Add about 1/4 teaspoon peppermint to the original chocolate, and roughly 1/4 cup cacao nibs (or mini-chocolate chips if you’re feeling indulgent) – you’ve got mint chip.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of nut butter to the original chocolate: you’ve got a nutbutter cup.
- Add almond extract rather than vanilla, plus chopped pecans: you’ve got pralines and cream.
The possibilities are endless! Go crazy! I can now eat ice cream every night and feel GOOD about it. This, by the way, would be extra-perfect for pregnant moms who (a) having cravings but needing to keep them in check and (b) are dealing with leg cramps at night, as the boost of potassium can help alleviate the cramping.
An ultimate frugal shopping thing I took advantage of the other day andÂ plan to do from now on: watch out for bags of aging bananas on special – I got almost 5 pounds for $.99 the other day – take them home, take 5 minutes to slice them and pop them on a tray int the freezer. Then transfer into ziplocs (two seem to fit perfectly into a sandwich sized one; perfect for this recipe) and freeze. Voila, you’re always ready to make this.
— posted by Anne