Chocolate ‘Ice Cream’ (with bananas)

Chocolate soft serve ice-cream.

You know when you buy a hand of bananas and suddenly they’re all too ripe and no-one wants to eat them and you get annoyed because you’ve spent the money and now it’s being wasted and it doesn’t matter what you do it seems like you can never get it right and why is life so unfair?

Take a breath. Calm down.

Firstly, freeze your bananas. If they’re getting past the eating-as-a-fresh-banana stage, then peel them and pop them into a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer. They can be defrosted and used in cakes and muffins and what-not at a later stage.

If you don’t want them to stick together, so you can take out one or two at a time, then freeze them separately before you place them in the bag. They will live in there quite happily for many months.

And don't they look attractive?

And don’t they look attractive?

Then you can make ice cream out of them.

Yes. I said ice cream. Frozen bananas can be used to make a soft serve ice cream which is wonderful for those with a lactose intolerance. Cold affects the performance of your taste buds, so the banana flavour fades right away and you are left with a cold, creamy substance that you can add other flavours to. Like chocolate.

This requires a food processor with a metal blade. I’m sorry, there’s really not an alternative to the use of an appliance for this.

The metal blade of a food processor is the secret ingredient here.

The metal blade of a food processor is the secret ingredient here.

Also, I had quite a few bananas I wanted to use as I wanted the freezer space. So the pictures you see here will be of about three times the quantity that will be made from the recipe provided.

Making the actual dessert is super simple. Get the kids involved (just don’t let them lick the blade…)

Cut your bananas into chunks and put them into the processor bowl.

Chunky bananas.

Chunky bananas.

Now sift in a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder. I used Dutch process cocoa because that’s what I had. If you’re an Aussie and you have some to spare, then try using Milo instead.

Add cocoa.

Add cocoa.

Now add some vanilla extract and a touch of salt. The salt will help to accent the sweetness of the bananas.

I used sea salt flakes - you don't have to.

I used sea salt flakes – you don’t have to.

Then add a dollop of sweetener if you really want to. I added a touch of honey, but it’s really not necessary. Bananas are full of natural sugars – don’t for a moment start thinking of this as a low calorie alternative to regular dairy ice-creams.

*Diabetics be warned, this will make your sugars spike.*

I added some totally unnecessary honey.

I added some totally unnecessary honey.

You may like to add a few tablespoons of a nut butter here. Peanut butter works fine, or you can try almond or sunflower butter instead. The oils in the butter give the final dessert a smoother texture and “mouth feel.” I didn’t have any, so I didn’t.

I did find that it wasn’t blending as smoothly as I would have liked, so I drizzled in some buttermilk that I had in the refrigerator. Adding yoghurt would also work – and this can be dairy, soy or coconut – or you could just add a little vegetable oil.

None of these things is absolutely vital.

Put the lid on your processor and pulse a few times to get it going.

It will form a thick paste.

It will form a thick paste.

Keep blending until you reach the desired texture. I wanted a smoother blend and added a drizzle of buttermilk to loosen it up a little. I stopped blending when it looked like this.

Chocolate soft serve Icecream

Chocolate soft serve Icecream

You may serve it immediately. If you are making it with kids, you’ll probably have to serve it immediately.

Otherwise, place it in a sealed container and re-freeze.

Put in a container and freeze. Temporarily.

Put in a container and freeze. Temporarily.

When the time comes to serve it up, remove it from the freezer at least 15 minutes beforehand to soften.  You may end up with a sprained wrist otherwise.

Enjoy.

Chocolate 'Ice-cream' (banana)

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

3 medium bananas, peeled, cut in chunks and frozen

½ tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

3 Tbsp cocoa powder

optional:

  • sweetener such as honey or maple syrup
  • 3-5 tbsps peanut butter or similar
  • 2-3 tbsps Greek yoghurt or buttermilk

Method

Place the metal ‘S’ blade in a food processor.

Combine the first four ingredients in the bowl and blend until smooth. Add the optional ingredients if you wish.

Serve immediately.

May be stored in a sealed container in the freezer, but remove at least 15 minutes before serving if you do so. The warmer the ice-cream the more it will resemble soft serve.

Variations:

  • Mix through chopped nuts or choc chips.
  • Use another frozen fruit e.g. strawberries, blueberries, frozen mango etc., instead of the cocoa powder for a fruit flavoured dessert.

 

Frozen yoghurt

In Australia at the moment – to quote Robin Williams’s character in Good Morning Vietnam – “It’s hot! Damn hot!”

It's hot Down Under.

It’s hot Down Under.

Which means it would be nice to have something to cool down with, especially with the kids home from school for another week.

Even better, it wouldn’t be so bad to have something the kids could participate in actually making. Something which takes minutes and which wouldn’t end with them climbing the walls on added sugars and artificial colours and flavours.

Ta da!

Ladies and gents, if you’ve been following my latest posts about making yoghurt, then I’m guessing there’s some lurking in your refrigerator right about now. How about using it to make some fruit-flavoured frozen yoghurt with – wait for it! – real fruit and real yoghurt?!

Well, why not?

All you’ll need is some frozen fruit, some yoghurt and something to sweeten it with.

Mango frozen yoghurt.

Mango frozen yoghurt.

Unfortunately, this is one of the rare recipes on this site that actually requires a particular appliance. Sorry. You’ll need a food processor.

You could try making this in smaller batches using a stick blender, but I give no guarantees.

So, find yourself some fruit. If you are in a screaming hurry to do this, you can easily purchase bags of frozen berries from the supermarket. If you must. However, it’s summer, there are oodles of different fruits in season right now and going for a song. My local green grocer is selling mangoes for 50 cents each.

A gorgeously ripe, in-season mango.

A gorgeously ripe, in-season mango.

So, I bought a few, peeled and sliced them up and popped them in a ziploc bag in the freezer overnight.  Just before Christmas I did the same with a punnet of strawberries I found on sale. Here’s how to go about it if you’ve never done it before.

1. Wash your fruit.

Wash your fruit well and allow to drain.

Wash your fruit well and allow to drain.

 2. Cut out any soft bits (especially with strawberries) and slice up larger fruits, like mangoes.
Prepare your fruit so you freeze only the best bits.

Prepare your fruit so you freeze only the best bits.

3. Put them into something you can seal well. A tupperware freezer container or ziploc bag will do nicely. Squeeze out all the air you can from bags, if using. Then freeze.

Seal into an airtight container and freeze.

Seal into an airtight container and freeze.

Simple.

Now to make your frozen yoghurt you’ll need to set up your food processor with the metal blade. The plastic one won’t work.

Trust me on this.

Add your frozen fruit.

Place your frozen fruit in the food processor bowl.

Place your frozen fruit in the food processor bowl.

Blitz for about 30 seconds, or until decently pulverised. Add a good drizzle of sweetener: this can be honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, golden syrup or even a few heaping spoonfuls of brown sugar.

At this point, it’s important to bear in mind the properties of your fruit. The coldness of the dish will affect your perception of its sweetness, it will seem much less sweet. The strawberries in the pictures were passing sweet at room temperature (the way I like them) but were pretty tart in their frozen state. They needed a fair whack of honey to make them palatable at sub-zero temperatures.

Now add your cold, straight-out-of-the-refrigerator, yoghurt all at once and blitz again for about a minute.

Add your yoghurt and blitz.

Add your yoghurt and blitz.

Taste for sweetness.

The frozen fruit will have caused the yoghurt to start to freeze and your mixture should resemble soft-serve ice cream already. Feel free to eat it immediately. 😉

The finished product.

The finished product.

Alternatively, place it in a container in your freezer. This mixture will set quite solidly as it is lacking the additives that commercial blends have and which make them scoop-able straight from the freezer.

Take it out of the freezer about 20 mins before you are wanting to serve it. So, if you want it for dessert, take it out as you serve up your main meal…

This firm setting property makes it ideal for popsicles, paddlepops or ice lollies though! Pour your mixture into moulds and you’ve got the ideal cool down when your kids come back from their first stinking hot days of an Australian school year.

The popsicle moulds were bought at Aldi...

These popsicle moulds were bought at Aldi…

Better yet, they can help with pretty much every aspect of making the things – short of using the food processor. Just be prepared for some mess…

Frozen Fruit Yoghurt

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

300g frozen fruit

500g chilled yoghurt (Greek, full fat, skim, soy, whatever…)

3 tablespoons honey or to taste. (You can substitute maple syrup, agave syrup, golden syrup or corn syrup if you wish)

Method

Fit the metal chopping blade into a food processor.

Add your frozen fruit and pulse for around 30 seconds or until the fruit has a relatively even texture. One or two larger pieces just add interest to the finished product.

Add your sweetener and pulse briefly.

Add all your yoghurt and blend until smooth.

May be served immediately, or frozen for several weeks in a sealed container.

Remove from the freezer at least 20 minutes before serving (or risk tears and sprained wrists).

Variation: Pour into popsicle moulds for individual treats. If you don’t have any moulds, then try using small plastic cups or tumblers with a paddle pop stick inserted into the mixture.

Run hot water around the outside of the mould to help release the treat.