A couple years ago when we started to get a little more serious about eating healthier, there was this popular idea floating around about making ‘ice cream’ out of frozen bananas. I was more than a little skeptical because ice cream is a food group unto itself in our family – it’s serious business to say the least. For years I used to make a different flavor of homemade ice cream every Sunday, (and yes… we went through a lot of heavy cream).
But I wanted to try and be open minded, so I froze some bananas and gave it a whirl. As my husband and I were trying the first spoonfuls straight out of the food processor, I think my exact response was, ‘this doesn’t taste like ice cream at all, I feel like I’m eating frozen baby food’. Since Tyler wasn’t a fan of it either, I gave up on the idea for awhile. After some time passed I just had to try it again, but this time with other ingredients instead of straight up banana.
I had a hunch that adding some peanut butter and creating some sort of chunky monkey situation might be a good place to start. And as a side note, you can use any nut butter here in place of the peanut butter if that’s not part of your diet. The peanut butter added just enough richness, and the cocoa powder cuts the straight up banana flavor, and a shot of vanilla extract rounds it all out.
I didn’t tell Tyler I had made another ‘banana based ice cream’ before he tried it, and he absolutely loved it! I’ve started making it almost every week as a little something sweet to have around for late night chocolate cravings. It keeps really well with a fairly soft creamy texture in the freezer above my fridge, but it does get a little too hard to eat when I put it in the chest freezer.
For this recipe you want ripe speckled bananas, which is another bonus I love because I almost always have bananas going brown before I can use them. Now, when I know I’m not going to use them in time, I break them up into quarters, and freeze them for ‘ice cream’.
I just froze mine in a plastic bag, but you can use any kind of reusable container you have as well.
I wasn’t very careful about chunking up my bananas before freezing them and there are some bigger pieces in the above photo. But over time I’ve learned that it’s better to break them into quarters or smaller before freezing them because it’s easier to process them into ice cream.
I usually have to stop the food processor a couple of times to scrape down the sides, and break up and chunks that form.
You’ll know your ‘ice cream’ is done when it’s all smooth with no chunks remaining.
I love how this ‘ice cream’ is so creamy with the texture of soft serve, and I would’ve never thought that bananas could create such magic!
- 5 ripe bananas, peeled and frozen
- ¼ cup peanut butter, or any other nut butter
- ¼ cup cocoa powder, I used Dagoba
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- Optional 'chunks' for mixing in:
- sliced bananas, chocolate chunks/chips, roasted peanuts/nuts, and cacao nibs
- At least 8 hours or 1 day before you plan to make this recipe, cut/break the bananas into quarters and freeze them.
- Remove the bananas from the freezer, and place them into the food processor. Sometimes they freeze together and you'll need to break them up as you put them in.
- Add the peanut butter or other nut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt.
- Secure the lid and process until the mixture gets stuck in the food processor. Stop and scrape down the sides, breaking up and chunks that have formed. Continue processing, stopping when necessary until the the mixture forms a creamy smooth 'ice cream'. This takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes.
- Serve immediately or place in the freezer for a few hours to create a firmer texture.
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