March 20, 2012

Late to the party..

So apparently this has been common knowledge for years, and I've just been tucked away in the jungle of Pandora.. oblivious to the fact that if you freeze bananas and blend them...


Yes, technically it's not 'cream'.. but as far as I'm concerned, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.. (This coming from someone who went vegan for a semester in college and was surprised to discover that there was more to dairy substitutes than just soy milk.)

My revelation came one day while Stumbling around the internet. I said Stumbling. If you don't have Stumble Upon, go get it now. I've discovered 9/10 of my favourite food blogs while Stumbling, as well as other amazing tips and tricks like this banana ice cream amazingness.

I stumbled upon this post on the Kitchn blog, headlined "How To Make Creamy Ice Cream with Just One Ingredient!". It drew my attention because I don't have an ice cream maker and, well, I love ice cream. I feel like there's never any reason to justify wanting to find out how to get ice cream. Period.

When I read the post I was skeptical. It was too good to be true. There had to be a catch. I know there are pictures and all, but sometimes things can seem so simple until you attempt them yourself (I see you, roux). So it actually took me a couple months, and an excess of bananas in the garden, to try it at home.

It was so blissfully simple. And creamy. And YUMMY. 

Then, with the enthusiasm of 10 year old, I called my mom. And messaged my friends. And tweeted. And called some more friends.

"Did you know that if you blend up frozen pieces of banana they turn CREAMY?!"

"Uh... yeah. Didn't you?"

"Oh yeah, my mom used to make that for me when I had a sore throat as a kid"

"Yeah I heard about that, is it good?"

Everyone knew but me. And my mom. I wish I could say that it dampened my spirits a bit, but alas, here I am yet again exclaiming at the sheer genius of this trick. Hoping that someone else will get as excited about it as I am. 

If you already know about it, just humour me, and pretend that I am about to make your day.

I sliced the bananas into disks about 2 inches thick and left them in the freezer overnight.
The original Kitchn article warned that the mixture would look crumbly and piecemeal initially, but I didn't have that issue. The only difference between mine and theirs was the length of time the bananas were in the freezer (they froze theirs for just 1-2 hours). I plan to experiment with the freezer time some more to see if it affects the ice cream texture. After the mixture reaches the desired consistency, add in your favourite mix-ins. I added a teaspoon of cocoa and a drizzle of honey.

I completely underestimated the amount of ice cream my bananas would produce so I put some in a container to put back in the freezer. As you can see, the mixture in the glass has a soft consistency, the article I read said that it would come out the texture of soft-serve ice cream (which I love) so I went ahead and had some right away.

The picture to the left shows the ice cream after being in the freezer for about 2 hours. It's thicker than the initial consistency, but not quite at that of traditional ice cream. The image to the right shows the mixture after 24 hours in the freezer. I found that there were a few ice crystals/flakes straight out the freezer, but after sitting out for 5 minutes the mixture was smooth and creamy but still thick.

I feel a little less guilty about lying around on the couch in Hershey's pajamas knowing that it's bananas in my ice cream glass. You should too. If you don't lie around the couch eating ice cream.. Well, you obviously have a life and no reason to feel guilty at all. I'll have an extra scoop for you.