Homemade banana ice cream creates alt vegan dessert

By Charlotte Varcoe-Wolfson/The Miscellany News
By Charlotte Varcoe-Wolfson/The Miscellany News
By Charlotte Varcoe-Wolfson/The Miscellany News

You know Veganism is catching on when Ben & Jerry’s starts making almond milk-based “frozen dessert.” (A note about that term: I hate it. Ice cream is ice cream even if it is made without any cows involved.) I’ve been known to indulge in some Chunky Monkey every now and then but like many vegan treats, the store-bought version can be expensive and there are cost-effective homemade versions.

In case anyone reading is not interested in making their own ice cream, doesn’t have a blender or isn’t familiar with the vegan ice creams on the market, I’d like to spend some time talking about the options you can find around Vassar before I get into the recipe.

My favorite variety of vegan of ice cream is cashew-based. I find this to be the creamiest of all the nut varieties. So Delicious Dairy Free makes great cashew-based options and they are pretty easy to find at most grocery stores around here. Salted Caramel Cluster is defi­nitely the best flavor in my book. If you are into coconut milk check out So Delicious and Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss for a coconut milk ice cream fix. Stop & Shop and House of Nutrition sell Luna & Larry’s. You can also find vegan ice cream made from soy, rice and almond milk. Another noteworthy brand is Tofutti. They make incredible ice cream sandwiches (called Tofutti Cuties, how great is that?) as well as cones with vanilla ice cream dipped in choco­late cookie crunchies called Yours Truly. You can usually find the Cuties at My Market and I highly recommend them for essay writing ses­sions.

If none of those options float your boat or you want a cheaper option I am pleased to in­troduce you to a couple forms of banana ice cream, sometimes known as nana ice cream or just nicecream. The concept is simple: freeze a banana and blend it with some non-dairy milk and you are in magical soft serve heaven. Fro­zen bananas blend up to be incredibly creamy so this doesn’t taste like sorbet, it really tastes like and has the texture of soft serve.

My favorite way to make this is in a copycat Frosty fashion. I add one frozen banana (if you are going to freeze bananas I recommend you peel them, slice them and put them in a sealed container before you put them in the freezer), three or four ice cubes, a teaspoon of sugar, a tablespoon of cocoa powder and about half a cup of non-dairy milk to a blender and blend until smooth. The ice cubes add the granulat­ed texture that a Frosty has but if you want a more traditional milkshake leave them out. The amount of milk you use will depend on how thick or thin you want the drink to be. I highly recommend dipping French fries into this con­coction (if you’ve never tried this please try it, you’re welcome for that great tip).

If you want a more traditional soft-serve ex­perience then you just need to blend a frozen banana with around 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk, a tablespoon of cocoa powder and around a teaspoon of sugar. You may need to blend for a while in order for this one to fully blend be­cause it will be thick.

These recipes are highly customizable. You can add peanut butter, vanilla extract, sea salt, chile powder or fruit. You can also choose not to add the sugar; I rarely add it because I think it is sweet enough without it but you could al­ways try it without the sugar first and add it later. You can also make it without the cocoa powder! I prefer it with chocolate flavor be­cause it tones down the banana flavor but if you add other things instead of chocolate you could make something great. This is also a great base for smoothies. Make the banana shake without chocolate and sugar and add a small handful of kale, some berries and some ice, or what­ever else you want, and you have an awesome, creamy smoothie.

 

Ingredients:

Copycat Frosty

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (or more) non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)

Soft Serve Nicecream

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)

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