Monday, July 11, 2011

Making cheap non-dairy homemade ice cream - Part 2

I suppose the non-dairy stuff that's made from just bananas cannot really be called "ice cream" because there's no cream in it. If it makes you feel better, call it banana fluff because that's what it tastes like. I should also mention that another blog that features this banana ice cream idea is "Kitchn". That blog has excellent ideas that go beyond what I do here. Check out their 4-ingredient peach frozen yogurt. For those of you who really want dairy milk but are lactose intolerant, there's a post about making your own Lactaid milk with lactase drops. It's by someone named "Tammy". I haven't tried it but it makes sense because lactase is the enzyme that helps you digest lactose.

In this post, I'd like to show you another way to make the banana ice cream, using unfrozen bananas. First, to recap the previous post, here are the results of the chocolate banana ice cream for jocks, which was made using frozen banana chunks. It was definitely more fun to eat than a smoothie. I had to add 1/4 cup of liquid to the mixture to bring the bananas and protein powder together to form a creamy concoction.
Freshly made chocolate banana fluff made with frozen banana chunks
When I tried to process just the frozen bananas and the protein powder, I just got a very mealy mixture that did not look very good. After adding 1/4 cup soy milk and processing the mixture again, I got the result you see in the picture above. It was smooth and creamy. It wasn't very sweet and that might turn some people off. If you have a sweet tooth, add 1/4 cup sugar. However, I thought it was sweet enough with the sweeteners from the bananas and the protein powder.

I then portioned out the mixture and stored the ice cream in some cleaned out yogurt containers. They are the perfect size (8 oz). After freezing for a few hours, it looked more like hard ice cream. The thing is, if you freeze it too long, it might get too hard and icy. At that point, you'll have to thaw it for about 10 to 20 minutes before eating it. No big deal.

A few days later, I tried the recipe again without the soy milk but added a tablespoon of honey. Since honey is a liquid, the bananas got creamy without having to add any soy milk. The result was also a little thicker than the batch made with the soy milk. So, if you don't want to add any soy milk to your frozen bananas and want it to be a little sweeter and thicker, try blending banana chunks, 1/4 cup chocolate protein powder, and a tablespoon of honey.

It looks more like hard ice cream after freezing a few hours
Another way to do the same thing is to use a blender to puree all the ingredients together and then use an ice cream maker to finish the process. The advantage is that you won't have to freeze the bananas. However, you'll need to chill the mixture for at least a couple of hours before pouring it into the ice cream maker and that you'll need an ice cream maker. Check your favorite thrift store and see if there's a cheap one. If not, the cheapest machines at department stores go for about $30 or less. You don't need anything fancy.

When you put a banana in your ice cream mixture, it actually functions as a thickener. Some recipes suggest using an egg or two and heating it up until it's thick. Well, we're students and don't have time for that fancy crap! Use a banana and you won't need to heat anything up. Also, you can use less sugar because the banana supplies a bit of that too. Genius, right?

Okay, so here's a suggested recipe for making ice cream using bananas as a thickener. You'll need:
  • a 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup honey or sugar (use more if you like it sweeter)
  • flavoring ingredients (e.g. cocoa powder, protein powder, vanilla, etc.)
Blend it all up and then chill it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Then, turn on your ice cream machine and pour in the chilled mixture. In about 20 to 40 minutes (depending on your machine), you'll have a nice non-dairy soft-serve ice cream. Freeze it in an air-tight container for a few hours if you prefer a harder ice cream.

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