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Got Bananas? Then you’ve got the easiest ice cream!


banana-pb-ice cream

My local grocery store sells spotty brown bananas.  They take them out of the bins when they start getting those tell-tale brown spots that all bakers covet--the ones that mean those bananas are bursting with sweet.  They package them in nice big bunches for a steal--less than one dollar for about 10 bananas on average.  Do your stores do this?  If not, they should!  Make sure you ask the produce guy/girl about it.  Maybe they can start setting some aside for you.  Even if you don’t need them at the time, they freeze well.  I usually peel and smush them, then freeze them flat in Ziploc bags.  Hello, banana bread!

A couple of weeks ago, my store didn’t have any brown bananas out for sale.  I asked the nice produce guy, and he said he’d go pack some up for me.  I’ve gotta love this guy.  Five minutes later, he brought out 2 large bunches--about 17-20 bananas total--all for just over one dollar.  “Is this too many?” he asked me.  Truthfully, I didn’t need that many, but how could I say no?  He took the time to package them up just for me.  I knew I could find ways to use them, so I said “No way is that too many, thanks so much!”

I made banana breads.  We used some in smoothies.  The kids ate a couple.  Still, we had brown spotty bananas, and they were getting spottier by the day.  I hit Google and typed in bananas.  I looked at all kinds of recipes.  But only one hit me like a pack of brown bananas.  How To Make Creamy Ice Cream with Just One Ingredient!  from the kitchn.   Amazing website, and if you haven’t seen it yet, get your butt over there and immerse yourself in it’s awesomeness!  Well, after you read this first, that is.  I always find the coolest things there--it never fails.

One ingredient ice cream?  I know what you’re thinking!  Insert sarcasm here --> “Yeah, right.  That must be great.”   You also need a food processor.  Unless you have a Vitamix.  (I don’t, but my gosh, they’re the coolest things ever!  I’m always available to review one, you know, just in case the Vitamix people are reading this. hehe!) A regular blender just won’t cut it with this recipe. 

Move over heavy cream and dairy!  Go away, ice creams with a gazillion calories and fat grams!  (Well, at least for this post--you can all come back later.  Please?)  This banana ice cream, at first, is like creamy soft serve.  Put it in the freezer for a while, and it’s like premium, creamy dreamy ice cream.  I’m not kidding!   Keep it simple with just bananas, or get creative, take a look in your pantry, and add some stuff in!

So I made a batch (the step by steps are here!) and it blew my mind.  I kept it pretty simple and added organic honey and organic peanut  butter.  The kids?  They loved it, too!   That night, I sat down with a little bowl of it.  I felt so guilty!  Like I really shouldn’t be eating this creamy, rich ice cream.  I actually had to remind myself that it was just bananas, honey and peanut butter! 

banana-pb-ice cream-crop 

I told a few twitter friends about it.  First, Renee at Flamingo Musings.   Go see the delicious creations she came up with!  Then Heather, at He Cooks, She Cooks, We Cook.   She mentioned she was making ice cream that weekend, so I forced her to make this one, too.  (Her post will be up later today, so check it out!)  Soon, Kathy at A Good Appetite was on board, and then we dragged  Barbara at Vino Luci Style along for the ride. 

I only had time to make two more batches that weekend.  Not because it’s time consuming, because it sure as hell isn’t.  My kids were on Spring Break, and we had tons of fun to squeeze into the weekend before it was back to school on Monday.   Poor kids! 

I decided to add more fruit to one batch, just to see what kind of texture I’d get.  Frozen pineapple and frozen strawberries were the lucky fruits!  You know, like banana split-ish.  I processed the banana, then added the other frozen fruit till it was smooth and creamy.  I also added a bit of agave, since the pineapple and strawberry weren’t very sweet.  Chopped chocolate stirred in at the end, and that’s it--you’re done!

Banana Split Ice Cream, below.  This one’s really fresh tasting and also reminds me of a smoothie.  It’s not as creamy--I guess because strawberry/pineapple are sort of watery?  Bananas are creamy and have trace amounts of fat that give you the creamy texture you want in an ice cream.

banana-split-ice-cream-2 banana-split-ice-cream

The second batch was not my favorite.  I added toasted coconut, chunks of graham cracker, and some cinnamon.  No exact measurements, I just eyeballed it.  In theory, it sounds good, but in reality ehh, not so much.  


Imagine making this ice cream for your vegan or lactose intolerant friends!  They’ll love you forever.  Heck, even if you just make it for yourself, think about a creamy ice cream that you can indulge in and not feel guilty about.  Your kids will love it, too!   And the possibilities?  They’re endless.  Chunks of fruit, chocolate, nuts, nut butters, extracts, spirits, cookies, candy chunks--you’re only limited by your imagination.  Try this!!!

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Reader Comments (21)

Your versions all sound so great! I wanna try one with toffee in it next I think

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkat

Ooo! Banana Split! Gotta try that one! And I still haven't done peanut butter. Think I still have a batch or two in the freezer to play with - this is so much fun and I don't have to feel guilty. ;-)

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRJ Flamingo

This sounds amazing. Sounds like a trip to Costco for a super big batch of bananas is in store. Thanks for the recipe!

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarly

I make banana soft serve all the time! I even put protein powder in it occasionally for a protein ice cream. I just love it! I use my big Cuisinart processor and it works great. Still begging for a Vita, tho.

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

Looks like I'll be cramming some bananas in my little 3 cup processor...soon!

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterApril in CT

(just put my nanners in the freezer, will report back after we have it for dessert tonight if I don't mess it up)

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterApril in CT

yumm... this sounds sooo good ... I'm going to have to pick up some of those ripe bananas that nobody seems to want to buy ...

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoreen

This is soooooo neat! lol We just had a little taste (way too full from dinner for dessert) and I got a little over excited about it to my hubs "HOLY CRAP! This is just like ice cream!" LOL I added a little splash of milk to get it going. Next time: Nutella!

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterApril in CT

I saw this about a year or so ago and keep meaning to try it but no go. Thanks for the reminder!

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteringrid

A dream come true! I am trying this over the weekend and I'll continue trying this over and over :)


Ooooh banana ice cream - now I am going to have to try this - a fantastic idea!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Okay Elle, I am not sure which one I want to devour first - delicious! I love that your market sells brown bananas. Every time I am ready to make something with bananas mine are golden and the ones at the markets are green! Lucky you!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChez Us

These look amazing! What a great idea about freezing the bananas. I am slightly lactose intolerant so this will help me out a great deal.

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynsey James March

What a tasty & superb looking banana ice cream!! Oooh,...yes!

May 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

wow. this is crazy. i love it. everyone seems to joining in on this. i have to try this. thanks elle!

May 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervanillasugar

This sounds so fantastic. As the proud owner of a Vitamix, I've got to try this!

May 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTanya

Love how easy this ice cream is. The mix ins and topping choices are endless too!

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

The banana split ice cream would be out of this world. Pure heaven! I am so jealous that your store will pack up the brown bananas for such a steal. Looks like I need to relocate.

May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBridgett

I've seen this too in a few websites and I've been meaning to try it. Just waiting for my bananas to turn brown. Do they melt fast in room temp ?

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSwee San

Swee San--do you mean the ice cream? It doesn't melt any faster or slower than regular ice cream--it's about the same.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle

Wow! that ice cream looks amazing. perfect for late night dessert. I wonder what other toppings goes well with it.

January 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersteve

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