An Easy Break-Up


Maybe you've noticed that I have distanced myself from my former flame, Sugar. It's been about a month and I feel amazing!
It's not that I have missed him terribly (because once you quit, the cravings do subside), but I am purposefully seeking less frequent encounters so I can overcome my addiction to this very sweet thing. One day, I'd like to be completely over Sugar, but, he's just too fabulous and I'm not there yet...though it has been an easy break-up.
The best news? With each passing day, I learn more about living without Sugar and I am positively convinced there are options for those of us who want less in our lives.

In fact, I am more determined to find a way to satisfy my sweet tooth with natural foods. And while it's not an easy challenge since so many foods have hidden sugar, there are things you can make that don't suck. Or taste like cardboard and be filled with reduced-calorie sorbitol, or sugar alcohols.

My quest has forced me to make several so-called "desserts" that even everyday people without "food issues" have gone back for seconds. My harshest critic, David, just asked me to "make that again."

I know what you're thinking. What was "that"? "That" was banana ice cream. But it's not what you think...it's dairy-free and is super easy to whip up in mere minutes.

Anyone can make this since, at some point, we all contend with an overripe banana (or two or a bunch) on the kitchen counter. DO NOT throw the banana(s) away! Instead, peel, slice and freeze for that moment when you need something sweet.

This surprisingly simple and yet completely satisfying ice cream idea surfaced a few weeks ago during the second week of my 21-Day Sugar Detox. I was surfing my food blog crush, theKitchn.com, when I came across a few varieties of banana ice cream recipes.

Inspired as I was, I had frozen bananas in the freezer and needed a sweet treat. I made half just plain ole' banana ice cream and added a little peanut butter to the other half. Both were gobbled up with equal appreciation and gusto.

It wasn't until I caught a feature in the recent Sunday newspaper that showcased Gwyneth Paltrow's kicked-up version of banana ice cream when I was reminded that I definitely needed to heed David's advice and "make that again."

What I particularly liked about her recipe is that she adds dairy-free milk which helps to create a smooth and creamy "ice cream" texture--not to mention it's easier on your food processor. The topping can be added or not. Your choice.

With several bananas in the freezer, this is why you stash them when you can. For moments just like this...

Buen provecho!
Banana Ice Cream
The Cowgirl Gourmet got this idea from theKitchn.com and then adapted Gwyneth Paltrow's version from her new cookbook, "It's All Good"

Print recipe

If you like bananas and you like ice cream, I'm guessing that, like I did, you're going to fall hard for banana ice cream. Sure, bananas are a high sugar fruit, but, let's be real--you can't eliminate all the fun out of life! 

Feel like living it up? Use the almond-maple syrup topping. Feeling less gluttonous? Just have the banana ice cream. Or add peanut or almond butter, Nutella, berries. There are plenty of variations on this idea, so give it your own spin.

Serves 4

4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/2 cup dairy-free milk of choice, almond, coconut, soy or hemp, cold (*I added half and half and made this amazingly decadent and creamy banana ice cream! WOW!)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Topping, optional
1/4 cup toasted almond slices or slivers, chopped
2 teaspoons real maple syrup
A pinch of coarse salt

Peel and slice the bananas and place on a half sheet lined with parchment (or wax) paper. Freeze until hardened and then place banana slices in the freezer in a ziploc bag until you need them.

If making the topping, here's what you do.

In a small saute pan, place over medium-high heat and add the almonds. Move the skillet around so the nuts don't burn and stay close as this will take less than 5 minutes. You'll want to stir the nuts frequently. Once you smell them, they are ready and turn off the heat.
In a small bowl, place the toasted nuts and add 2 teaspoons of maple syrup and a pinch of coarse salt. Stir well to combine.
When you are ready to make the ice cream, place the frozen banana slices in the food processor and add cold milk of choice and vanilla. Pulse gently until it comes together--if you pulse too quickly or let it run, it will overflow. You may want to scrape down the sides of the work bowl to keep everything together.
Once the bananas are pureed, place them in a container and freeze at least 30 minutes. If you freeze it longer, let it soften for about 5-10 minutes before eating.

If you made the topping, drizzle with toasted almond-maple syrup mixture. If you are a salty-sweet person, sprinkle a few more coarse crystals of Maldon salt on top for just the right sweet-to-salty ratio.
Other variations as provided by theKitchn.com--though I would recommend you add dairy-free milk for a better texture:
  • Just "banana" ice cream--make as directed above and skip the sweet and salty almond-maple syrup sauce
  • Peanut butter and honey banana ice cream--almond of another nut butter would also work
  • Nutella banana ice cream
  • Dark chocolate banana ice cream
  • Cinnamon dulce banana ice cream
  • Strawberries and cream banana ice cream
  • Add a scoop of protein!
  • Pineapple ice cream--replace frozen bananas with frozen pineapple chunks and use real coconut milk (in the can)
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