Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Banana-only 'Ice Cream'

    How do you like your ice cream? Soft and creamy like soft-serve? Thick and creamy like Ben & Jerry's? Do you like it smooth or with chunky bits in it? I'm a Ben & Jerry's fan. I have a reputation for finishing entire pint-sized tubs in one sitting. We all know that's very, very unhealthy so when I saw a recipe for a one-ingredient ice cream, I had to try it!
     The one ingredient is: Bananas. "But just bananas? Isn't that very plain?" you ask. Yes, it is very plain. And that is why I added some extras to it. I added some honey, praline almonds and maple syrup.....anything goes really. The point is that you CAN make something similar to ice cream using just bananas!
Pardon my bad lighting

      For me, the texture of this turned out to be on the icy side. I would describe the texture as a cross between a sorbet and soft-serve. Nevertheless, if it's ice cream that you want but not all the sins that go along with it, this makes a decent substitute. It will taste of bananas, but there are plenty of possibilities for things you can add in to customize this 'ice cream'. There is a lot of potential to make this into a Ben & Jerry-esque chunky ice cream.
      This is also a great way to use up brown, speckled, overripe bananas that might be sitting in your fruit bowl. In fact, overripe bananas are perfect for this because they are naturally sweeter than just-ripe bananas. Of course, you can also use overripe bananas in cakes and other bakes....but I digress.
      I now present you with my take on this one-ingredient ice cream, using more than just one ingredient.....

Banana 'Ice Cream'
makes 10 small scoops

4 large bananas 
(the riper the better!)
2 to 3 TBSP milk or cream
(cream will give a nicer texture but will add to the fat content)
1 to 2 TBSP honey/maple syrup (optional)

1. The night before you plan to make this ice cream, cut the bananas into 1cm-thick disks and freeze in a container. Alternatively, lay the sliced bananas in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for about 4 hours, until frozen solid.

2. Take the bananas out of the freezer 10 minutes before you are ready to make the ice cream. Get your food processor ready.

3. Separate the slices of banana as much as possible, then tip into the food processor.

4. Turn the food processor on to high speed and process the frozen banana until they look like small grains.

5. Scrape down the bowl then process at medium speed for another 1 to 2 minutes.

6. While the food processor is running, add the milk or cream into the feeder tube of the food processor 1 tablespoon at a time, until the bananas look creamy.

7. Stop the food processor and scrape down the bowl, then turn the motor back on to medium-slow speed.

8. Now add the honey 1 tablespoon at a time, depending on how sweet you want your 'ice cream' to be.

9. If you want your 'ice cream' plain as it is, you can now scoop the mixture out of the bowl and into a freezer-safe container or eat it right away (soft-serve texture)

10. If you want to add mix-ins, now is the time to do it.

       I scooped out half the banana mixture into a container so that I could compare the plain banana 'ice cream' with the other half. I then added my praline almonds to the other half and turned the food processor on to break up the praline pieces. I scooped it out into a separate container then swirled in some maple syrup before putting the tub in the freezer.

      My verdict? The maple-almond praline version is nicer than the plain version. But that's just me. Maybe you like yours plain? Here's a link to other mix-in options. I think maple-cinnamon would be go well with the bananas. 

      Please note that you will have to take the tub of 'ice cream' out of the freezer 5 to 10 minutes before serving so that it softens enough for you to scoop it. By the way, scooping it can be a real pain the butt so I made a few scoops at one go, then froze the scoops of 'ice cream'. 

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