Have you had ice cream made from frozen bananas? I'm sure many of you have, as this secret has been thoroughly explored and experimented with in the blogging world over the last several years. But for those of you who have not yet tried it, you're in for a treat. With the help of a competent food processor, frozen bananas really do whiz up to a creamy, ice cream-like soft serve consistency in less than 5 minutes. For me, this will never replace the real deal when it comes to topping tarts, crumbles, and cobblers, but it is however the perfect "everyday" solution for those toasty summer days when you want something lighter but still creamy and cool.
As you probably guessed, banana ice cream does taste like….well, bananas. For some of you, this won't be a problem. But I nor my husband are fond of a predominate banana flavor in desserts, so I found a few workarounds that cater to our aversion and will also hopefully appeal to you guys, whether or not you fall into the same camp. ;-) Two things: first, I make sure to use barely ripe bananas, the ones I don't mind eating on their own. They should be fairly firm, have yellow skin that might still be slightly green at the tip and definitely free of any and all black spots. The bananas are less sweet at this ripeness but I find the ice cream to still be sweet enough, especially with the addition of a few dates. Second, I flavored the ice cream with cacao and peanut butter, both bold flavors that mostly mask the banana. And the bits of dates don't get fully blended which is a bonus because they remind me of chewy, fudgy caramel bites running through. If you really like the idea of these chewy, fudgy, caramel bites I would highly recommend doubling the amount of dates.
Five Minute Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Notes: For a less pronounced banana flavor, choose bananas that are just ripe and free of any black spots on the peel. To freeze, peel and slice bananas and spread out on a small parchment-lined tray or baking sheet. Freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- 4 frozen bananas, sliced
- 2 large, soft dates, pitted
- 4 Tbsp. raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 4 Tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract/paste
- Big pinch salt
- Remove sliced bananas from the freezer and allow to defrost for 10 min. In the meantime tear dates in half and soak in hot water for 5 minutes to soften. Then discard water and squeeze dates to dry out a little; set aside. Or roughly chop dates if you know your blade is not very sharp.
- Place bananas in a food processor*. Pulse a few times, then let the motor run for 1-3 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally. During this time the bananas will go from a crumbly texture to being mushy, and finally they'll shift to a creamy, soft serve ice cream texture.
- Once they're almost at this creamy, soft-serve stage add the remaining ingredients and quickly blend again just until mixture turns creamy and everything is combined to your liking.
- Scoop ice cream into bowls and serve immediately. Leftovers may be frozen. Remember to remove from freezer 25-30 minutes in advance to allow to soften. At this point, you may eat it directly or blend it again to get it back to that soft serve consistency.
*I've found that a large food processor works best for this recipe. If using a mini food processor, blend in two batches. Though I haven't tried it myself, some say a hand (immersion) blender can be used as well as a powerful standing blender. If you use either of the latter two methods you will likely need to add 2-4 Tbsp of a plant-based milk to get the mixture going.