Recipes

The easiest (healthy) icecream

Chances are if you are in to your healthy eating then you’ll have heard of ‘nicecream’ before.  However, judging by the reaction I received to my recent picture on Instagram of my bowl of nicecream I thought it was worthwhile doing a post on it:  what it is, how you make it and suggestions on what to serve it with.

For the uninitiated ‘nicecream’ is the term people use to describe this faux-ice cream which is made out of frozen bananas.  It tastes and has the same texture of icecream without the dodgy ingredients you’d usually get with the shop bought stuff.  Before we go any further let me reassure you, it’s not one of those healthy swaps where it doesn’t quite match up to the original but you convince yourself to like it anyway because you know it’s healthy.  This stuff delivers the goods. I’ve even tried it on the non healthy eaters in my life and they loved it.

Now, you might be turning your nose up at the idea of bananas but believe me when I say it doesn’t taste like bananas.  It’s like magic.  I’m really not a huge fan of unfrozen bananas (I usually have to eat them mashed in to things like porridge or on top of toast, you will never see me grab a banana on it’s own) but this I never tire of.  The best thing is, I keep peeled bananas in the freezer anyway (they are very handy for smoothies) so I always have a stash ready to go.  If you don’t already store some bananas in your freezer then firstly I urge you to because they are so useful (I have a post in mind for this, stay tuned) but really to make this all you have to do is peel a couple of bananas, pop them in a freezer bag and leave them for two hours before making the nicecream.  Freezing bananas is a great way to use them up when they start to go spotty and brown, plus they taste sweeter when they are older so work well in smoothies or nicecream where you need some sweetness.

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I stumbled across this idea a few years ago and I once I tried it I never looked back.  I’m hoping that once you try this you’ll feel the same.  This recipe takes literally moments to make, is great for kids and even healthy enough to eat for breakfast.  Pudding for breakfast, surely that has you sold?

In it’s simplest form you make this by combining a frozen banana/ some frozen bananas in a food processor or blender with various flavourings and blend until it reaches the consistency of ‘soft serve’ ice cream.  That’s it.  You can eat it plain and simple like that (and it will taste delicious) but I like to experiment with different variations.

One of my all time favourite flavours of nicecream is chocolate peanut butter.  The easiest recipe for which follows.  It serves one but it can be scaled up if you are feeding more people, just use one banana per person and adjust the flavourings as you go (I wouldn’t advise doubling the cacao/ cocoa straight away, test it out and see what you like the flavour of.  One tablespoon might be enough, or more might be required.  There are no rules but try to relax because you can’t get it wrong).

You will need:

1 x frozen banana

1 tbsp cacao (or ½ tsp cocoa powder)

1 tbsp peanut butter (I like it crunchy)

Cacao nibs/ 2 squares of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or above) plus more for sprinkling

Dash of milk (I like almond but cow’s would work fine, it’s simply to thin the mixture out a little)

1 tsp maca powder (optional but I’ve recently started to add it for it’s malty flavour)

1 tsp brown rice syrup or honey for extra sweetness (optional but you might need this if you’re using the cocoa powder because it can taste a little bitter compared to cacao which is more chocolatey; or if you’re not used to a lower sugar recipe and need to up the sweetness.  I would recommend trying it without first then gradually add some in if you need to).

To make simply add all the ingredients to a food processor or high powered blender and blend until combined.  You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the mixer at points but it should take less than a minute for the ingredients to come together.

That’s it!  Simply decant in to a bowl and add toppings such as strawberries, granola (I use the I Quit Sugar chocolate granola recipe) and you’re done.  I like combining different textures so sometimes I add in extra cacao nibs/ chocolate chunks as they give it a nice crunch but the great thing is it’s up to you to get creative and add whatever you like – coconut, nuts, fruit, seeds, yoghurt, even a chopped up protein bar or brownie on top would work.

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You’ll need to eat this straight away or it will start to melt. However, if you make too much and don’t eat it all in one sitting (or you make it but then can’t eat it straight away for whatever reason) you can stash it in in the freezer for when you are ready – you’ll be doing your part to reduce food waste AND have nicecream ready to go whenever. Double win.

If you are liking the idea of this but don’t fancy the idea of my chocolate peanut butter nicecream then why not try the following flavours:

  • Plain cacao/ chocolate (as above recipe but remove the peanut butter)
  • Mint choc chip (as above recipe but remove the peanut butter and add in either a couple drops of peppermint essence or a small bunch of fresh mint leaves)
  • Roasted salted almonds and vanilla – roast some almonds in the oven for 10 minutes, sprinkle with salt then wait to cool before making the nicecream with a couple of drops of vanilla essence.  You can either add in the almonds to the main mixture for a crunchy texture or slightly crush the almonds and add at the end as a topping.  The salt and vanilla give a delicious sweet and salty flavour.
  • Almond butter and maca powder – this gives a creamy malty taste
  • Berry nice cream (sub out half the banana with frozen berries.  Strawberries and raspberries work well and gives a nice berries and cream taste.

The possibilities are endless though so do experiment with what you have at home.  I recently found that by adding a tiny pinch of salt on top of a chocolate based nicecream it really brings out the flavours and now I don’t eat it without – although it’s not to everyones taste.  One of the guys I did it for asked me why I was serving him salty icecream!

As ever, thank you for reading, I hope this has convinced you to maybe give this recipe a try next time you’re thinking of having some icecream.  If you do make some then let me know how you get on and feel free to put any suggestions and flavour recommendations in the comments.  I’m always up for trying more nicecream!

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