Technically, I’m not sure you can really call it ice-cream since it does not contain any cream… But the result is just as delicious and creamy thanks to the almond butter and bananas.
As students without too much money, it is only natural that Mr. Graceful and I try to avoid throwing food away. So when bananas start to go bad around here, we usually just wrap them in aluminum foil and put them in the freezer, justifying that we’ll use them for a smoothie or banana bread or something later on. I’ve read in so many places that you can process frozen bananas into vegan “ice cream”, and I was really dying to try that, but it just never happened.
Then, one night, we had guests over and were scrambling to make all the food we had planned to. I made my Aztec chocolate cake, which is spicy and goes really well with ice cream to mellow it out. But alas, no ice cream was to be found in the freezer. And unfortunately for me, we did not have any frozen bananas on hand, either.
Thinking quickly, I just took the few bananas we had, put them in the food processor, and added peanut butter. Then I put the whole tasty, sticky mess in a plastic box and stuck it in the freezer. I made sure to mix it every once in a while, and come dessert time – lo and behold – we had banana-peanut-butter ice-cream to go with our spicy cake. Turns out, you don’t need to pre-freeze the bananas and then process them. In fact, if your bananas get ripe enough, you don’t even need a food processor or blender. You can just mash them by hand. My sister in law was blown away by the concept, and I started thinking about how I could make it even better.
The possibilities here are endless – or at least very satisfyingly many. I have many plans for new flavors to test out and give to you (banana-rum-raisin, anyone?) and this could be one of the easiest things to explore on your own. It could even be great as a food-project with kids, because of the great amount of creativity and freedom involved (just minus the alcohol, please).
A disclaimer for the picky: it does taste like bananas. Banana is one of those strong flavors that just doesn’t go away so quickly. So, instead of trying to erase it, I searched for things that go with it, and are just as dominant. And I came up with this.
Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, guys, it’s real. And it’s sitting in my freezer right now… Want to come over for dinner? Ice cream on me.
Estimated Time: 5 minute prep, 5 hour freeze
Kosher Classification: Neutral
8 small, ripe bananas (or 6 large ones)
1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup Amaretto or Discarono
2 Tbs. instant coffee of your choice
Process (or mash) the very ripe bananas until smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the Amaretto and add to the banana mash. Add the almond butter as well, and mix well until completely uniform.
Alcohol fun-fact of the day: As you can see from the pictures, I used Disaronno. While Amaretto is the generic name for this delicious liquor, Disaronno is one of the brand names it is sold under. Although it tastes like almonds or marzipan, Amaretto is actually made from apricot pits. Obviously, if you are making this gluten-free, make sure the brand of Amaretto you use really is gluten-free.
Transfer the whole thing into a seal-able container, and place in the freezer.
About once an hour, break apart the partially frozen mixture with a fork to make sure it doesn’t turn into a solid block of ice. (The banana has natural moisture in it which will turn into ice crystals – it is your responsibility to break them apart!)
Because you are not an ice-cream maker, you will obviously not be doing this forever. From my experience, 5 hours is enough – but I have also made it in the evening, mixed it once, and then let it sit for a night in the freezer. It took some force to break it apart the next day, but after that it was good as done.
Please take this ice cream out of the freezer a few minutes prior to trying to scoop it out – it needs to soften a little.
I highly recommend topping with strawberries and coffee syrup (as seen in the photo). Don’t have coffee syrup? Neither did I! To make it, mix equal parts instant coffee and sugar (for that sundae in the picture I used 2 teaspoons of each), and then add hot water while stirring until the desired consistency is reached. You need VERY little water.
- Puree 8 small bananas or 6 large ones either with a fork, in a blender, or a food processor.
- Add 1 cup almond butter until uniform.
- Dissolve 2 Tbs. instant coffee in 1/4 cup Amaretto, add to banana mixture and mix until uniform.
- Transfer to a sealed box and store in the fridge, mixing once an hour for five hours to break up the ice that forms.
- Remove from freezer prior to serving.