This has to be my #1 favorite reason for being plant based. Back in 2011 when I posted this, it was an occasional treat that never left me feeling guilty in my indulgence for a rich and creamy dessert. Fast forward to 2018 and you will find me “indulging” every. single. day. Because I can and because its so healthy and delicious!
I shared in my earlier post that when I was pregnant with my daughter, well over 20 years now, I craved a Dairy Queen Blizzard every day, from 6 months pregnant to delivery! Funny thing was that after her birth I never had the desire to eat another DQ Blizzard! I wish I had known about making “nice cream” back then and saved myself from all those fattening calories!
It wasn’t really just the ice cream I craved but the crunch and flavors of all that was swirled in. Using frozen bananas as the base for this soft serve treat, the possibilities are truly endless. Simply adding in a single fruit such as strawberries or blueberries is delish. For me though, the more the merrier.
Making bananas into soft serve ice cream is not new; it’s like a spin-off of a thick fruit smoothie. Just toss cut up frozen ripe bananas in a food processor or high-speed blender, add a splash of liquid and process until smooth! The creaminess of the bananas provides that “soft served” base for adding in tons of flavor!! The mere fact that it’s totally fat free is pretty awesome too!
This beautiful cherry bomb is a mix of cherries and vegan chocolate; like chocolate covered cherry candy!
How to….Banana Soft Serve Nice Cream
Perfectly ripe, spotty bananas– peeled and frozen (about 4 bananas makes 2-3 generous servings). I normally use 2 bananas for one serving.
Splash of vanilla extract and non dairy milk or non dairy creamer, which adds a bit of sweetness – just a little bit to get the bananas swirling, not liquidly, about 1-2 tablespoons – the idea is to use a spoon to eat, not a straw! Other liquids might include a splash of liquor – rum, Amaretto, Frangelico, Chambord– depending on the flavor combinations. (note: I don’t use much liquor these days in my cooking or drinking, but if you do, I’m leaving in my suggestions.)
In a food processor or blender (I prefer using the processor), slice bananas thinly, about 1/4 inch, as it helps to blend better when cut small. Begin blending and add a tablespoon or two of liquid (amount of liquid also depends on the amount of bananas). Blend until the bananas become creamy smooth, it may take several minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides. Additional frozen fruit, such as the berries, can be added in and processed together. Once the bananas turn smooth, it’s time to add in the extras. If you want some crunch of flavors in your nice cream, I prefer to dump the “ice cream” into a large metal bowl, that I had previously placed in the freezer, to mix in any remaining ingredients so that they remain chunky, not processed finely. And that’s it! Grab a spoon and serve immediately!
Here’s a fun summer treat – Smore’s! I blended in 1 tablespoon of almond butter with two frozen bananas, 1 square of vegan graham cracker and 1 tsp. of vanilla. I swirled in melted vegan chocolate, toasted a few vegan marshmallows and served with a sprinkling of crushed graham crackers.
Some of my other favorite variations include, but not limited to…
Pecan Crunch: Chopped pecans, vegan amaretto cookies, Amaretto liquor and a light swirl of caramel sauce
White Chocolate Crunch: Mix of broken biscotti cookies, vegan white chocolate chips and chopped almonds
Espresso Soft Serve: Chilled espresso coffee, crushed chocolate espresso beans and crushed vegan biscotti cookies
Cookies and Cream: Mix in a few Oreo cookies! They are vegan after all!
Apple Pie: Swirls of cooled sautéed apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, broken ginger snap cookies or granola
Peachy: Chunks of ripe peaches, splash of peach schnapps and crumbled amaretto cookie or biscotti
Tropical Treat: Swirls of coconut, chopped macadamia nuts and dried fruit mix pineapple, mango, papaya and a splash of rum!!
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.