A Step by Step Guide to Making Banana 'Ice Cream' Without Failing Miserably...

We’ve all seen them on social media – amazing towers of glorious perfect nice cream stacked ten feet high in a miniscule thimble; gravity defying sculptures of banana yumminess.

Blueberry Nice Cream with Choco-Covered Nana Bites by @celine_squared on Instagram

Blueberry Nice Cream with Choco-Covered Nana Bites by @celine_squared on Instagram

Apple Spice Nice Cream by jengoesgreen.com

Apple Spice Nice Cream by jengoesgreen.com

Neapolitan Nice Cream in a Banana by @graciecooks on Instagram

Neapolitan Nice Cream in a Banana by @graciecooks on Instagram

We attempt to recreate this ourselves.  And it fails.  And we waste the two tubs of frozen bananas that we’ve been willing to hurry up and freeze for at least 26 hours now.  And we cry and eat a whole chocolate cake instead…

Just me?!

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock & you have no idea what I’m talking about, ‘nice cream’ (sometimes called ‘nice kreme’, ‘banana ice cream’, ‘nana ice cream’, ‘nicecream’ – no one has come up with a definitive name for it, dammit!) is simply frozen bananas blended either alone or with other ingredients to create a mouthwatering dish resembling soft serve ice cream.  Without the guilt or the need to put on your ‘fat pants’ afterwards…

And if you don’t like the taste of bananas – don’t worry!  Something about the freezing & blending process magically removes the banana taste & literally transforms the whole thing into another realm altogether.  Don’t ask me how it works – some kind of vegan voodoo.

Nice Cream by Me!  @clairedicarlo on Instagram

Nice Cream by Me! @clairedicarlo on Instagram

So I know you’re now dying to make this dish & experience this ecstasy for yourself.  Or if you’ve already tried & failed, then you want to pick yourself up & give it another go.

Here’s my fail-safe guide to making sure your nice cream is everything you hope it will be & more:

Step One – How to Freeze Your Bananas

  • Do not – I repeat, do NOT freeze your bananas with the skin on.  It doesn’t come off again.  Even when you hack at it with a knife & almost lose a finger.  I may or may not have done that…
  • Don’t freeze them when they aren’t ripe either.  Brown & spotty or not at all. Green or yellow bananas aren’t ready yet & won’t be nearly as sweet or creamy.  Not to mention they might give you some digestive issues.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • If you want to make blending really easy, then break your nanas into chunks before freezing (I usually break each one up into about 4 pieces).  No need to cut them nicely with a knife (again – ain’t nobody got time for that!), just roughly break them up with your hands.
  • Try not to have your freezer on super duper deep freeze mode – you want them frozen, but you don’t want one huge solid ‘ice sculpture banana mountain’, where you can’t break any of them apart.
Pitaya Hot Pink Banana Ice Cream by @raw_manda on Instagram

Pitaya Hot Pink Banana Ice Cream by @raw_manda on Instagram

 

Step Two – You Need Decent Equipment

  • Sorry to spring this on you now, but you simply ain’t gonna be able to make nice cream unless you have a decent food processor or mighty fine blender.  A cheap, low powered one just isn’t gonna handle the job I’m afraid.  If you don’t have a really strong blender, then a food processor is definitely the way to go – try to get one with the strongest motor you can afford.   They’re usually not that expensive.
  • Never fear though – if your kitchen equipment is more ‘student on a budget’ than ‘Vitamixing food blogger’, then there are ways to help things along….
Chocolate Banana Nicecream with Pomegranate by @stephsplate

Chocolate Banana Nicecream with Pomegranate by @stephsplate

Step Three – Get Blending

  • Remove your banana chunks from the freezer – if you are confident that your food processor is up to the job, then throw a handful or so in there & just start blending.  You may need to pulse a few times to get things moving, or scrape around the sides of the bowl with a spoon now & again.
  • If this isn’t working, then first try leaving the bananas out for a few minutes to soften slightly before blending.
  • Once things get moving, add in more banana chunks gradually & blend until they start to form a creamy consistency which is nice & smooth with no chunks left.
  • If this isn’t happening for you (i.e. your food processor is making a reeeeallly high pitched noise, but nothing is actually moving), then it may be time to accept that your equipment needs a little helping hand.  Try adding something liquid into the bowl – you could try something like coconut water/milk, almond milk or another nut milk.  Perhaps even just a tiny bit of water, if you don’t want to use any of these (I haven’t tried water, so let me know how that goes if you do!).  Just add a little at a time – you don’t want the whole thing to basically turn to liquid.  Just add enough to help everything blend more easily.
  • Hopefully things should now be progressing.  If not, you are doomed & I can’t help you.  You shall never experience the wonder of nice cream.
Mixed Banana Ice Cream in Pineapple Boats by @omgtailz

Mixed Banana Ice Cream in Pineapple Boats by @omgtailz

Step Four – Pimp Your Nice Cream!

  • Once you’ve got all this down & you’re confident you can blend something up that looks vaguely passable as nice cream, then you can go ahead & get creative with other ingredients in your mixture.  Try adding different fruits for a new flavour – berries & mango are my personal faves.  You could also add something like carob or cacao for a chocolate twist, or vanilla bean for a classic ‘vanilla ice cream’ vibe.
  • Scoop your finished product into a bowl, or if it’s nice & stiff (you splashed out on a mighty fine blender), then you can pile it up in a jar with the best of them.
  • If you’re feeling really creative, then top your nice cream with whatever you wish – more fruits; maple syrup or another sauce; spices like cinnamon or nutmeg; some sweetness from something like coconut sugar; nuts/seeds/nut butters; fresh coconut; vegan chocolate; or anything else you fancy!
Plain Nana Ice Cream with Strawberries by @lolacooks

Plain Nana Ice Cream with Strawberries by @lolacooks

Step Five – Next Level Shit

  • If you have a ridiculous amount of time on your hands, then try making a few different flavours & layering them one on top of the other.  This will require a lot of patience & washing out the food processor between batches. Try to resist the urge to face plant into your nice cream & start scoffing. Next Level Shit comes to those who wait…
Papaya, Pineapple & Spirulina Layered Nice Cream by @roadtoeverywhere

Papaya, Pineapple & Spirulina Layered Nice Cream by @roadtoeverywhere

Final Thoughts

I haven’t managed to perfect the art of re-freezing nice cream for later – it doesn’t seem to stay all nice & creamy once it’s been back in the freezer.  So I’d generally advise chowing down right away & demolishing the whole lot.  But if you really need to make some ahead of time, then you could try re-blending it quickly before serving, to bring the mixture back to it’s formerly creamy glory.

Also – always freeze more bananas than you think you need.  You always want more.  Trust me. And it takes so damn long for them to freeze!  Someone needs to start selling frozen bananas at the supermarket – stat!

And don’t worry if your creations don’t look much like the pictures above.  It’s the taste that matters – and it’s pretty hard to make banana ice cream that doesn’t taste amazing 🙂 Not everyone has to be a food blogger – it’s fine to simply admire their work & use it as inspiration to create a big old mess!

Plain Nana Ice Cream with Choc Topping by @whyoweyou on Instagram

Plain Nana Ice Cream with Choc Topping by @whyoweyou on Instagram

Anything else to add?  Tell me your nice cream secrets below – and hey, share your disasters too – please tell me I’m not the only one who froze bananas with the skin on?!

 

Please continue the conversation below.  But before you do, remember this:  Debate is great, hatred is not.  Think before you type.  “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama