I came across this one ingredient ice cream wonder a few years ago after searching for ice cream for toddlers. I especially liked its simplicity, use of natural ingredients, no dairy and best of all no added sugar, making it my preferred kids’ ice cream choice. It sounds too good to be true, just one key ingredient, bananas to make ice cream? Oh! Yes you can!
What is Banana Ice Cream or Nice Cream
Bananas and ice cream have always complemented each other e.g. banana split. Banana ice cream on the other hand is a complete new way of making ice cream with minimal ingredients. It has been around for years, especially in vegan circles. I first came across it on BBC Good Food. In its basic form it is simply frozen bananas blended together until a soft ice cream like mixture forms. Also known as nice cream because of its vegan and lactose free appeal, one can create endless flavours with few ingredients, tools and effort. Not to mention that it is a less calorific alternative to regular ice cream. It is also a great way to use up ripe bananas. In this post I will share some of my tips for making banana ice cream at home and two recipes mint chocolate banana ice cream and mango banana ice cream.
How to make Banana Ice Cream
I have been making banana ice cream for a while now. It is as simple as blending frozen bananas but there are a few factors to take into account. A few key lessons I’ve learnt are the following:
• Always use ripe bananas otherwise you end up with a bitter taste.
• Make the nice cream at least 3-4 hours before you intend to serve or eat it. Bananas need at least 1, 5 hours to freeze.
• If you freeze bananas longer than 4 hours it is harder to scoop and if you attempt to thaw it gets quite mushy. For optimum results stick to the 4 hour window (including preparation time).
• Do not add any water. Water will affect the texture of your banana ice cream.
• Some recipes recommend simply freezing banana then adding coco powder to make chocolate nice cream. When I first tried this, it looked like …
• I recommend adding coconut cream or coconut milk; if you are not fussed about added dairy then simply add cream instead. Stick to the ratio of quantities. I recommend 1 tablespoon of cream for every banana used. Adding a little coconut milk resulted in a more silky ice cream like texture.
To Make Nice Cream Without A Blender
To make nice cream without a blender you can simply mash bananas with a fork. For chocolate version add cocoa powder then mix until as smooth mixture forms. It is not ideal, but if no blender available it is a good option. For the fruit variety use soft fruit like berries or fresh mango that can also be smashed with a fork. Combine with banana then place in the freezer.
Banana Ice Cream Varieties
Mint and Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
One of my earliest childhood memories is of Amma scooping mint chocolate ice cream into bowls. I can see the image in my mind as if it had happened yesterday. In the early nineteen eighties there used to be a brand in South African that made mint chocolate ice cream in a carton. The box had a similar green and brown marble or swirl like pattern on it. The ice was the best ever, probably because of the fond memories associated with it. I have always been put off making this ice cream because it seemed like such a tedious process. I changed my mind after discovering the wonder of the one ingredient ice cream made from bananas!
To make this mint choc banana ice cream I made a batch of chocolate nice cream, followed by a mint one. I then layered a scoop of each into a new container. When scooped it will resemble a swirl pattern. To make the chocolate component I simply used banana, cocoa powder and coconut milk. For the mint component I used banana, mint leaves, a few spinach leaves for a natural green colour and coconut milk.
Chocolate Ice Cream from Bananas
Place frozen banana in blender. Add cocoa powder and coconut milk. Blend until a smooth mixture forms.
Mint Ice Cream from Bananas
Place mint leaves, spinach leaves and coconut milk in blender for minute or two. Blend. Add frozen banana. Blend until a smooth mixture forms. I don’t have the best blender in the world so the mint leaves are not completely fine. I think this is an added advantage as it has a very minty taste. Spinach leaves are optional. I sneak it in for my son and like the added green colour.
Mint and Chocolate Ice Cream from Bananas
To compose your mint choc creation, simply add consecutive scoops of mint and choc nice cream. Freeze and enjoy. Full recipe below.
The Best Mint Choc from Banana Ice Cream
Mango Nice Cream
To make mango nice cream, combine frozen mango and banana, add coconut milk and blend until smooth. Freeze. Enjoy!