I always keep some frozen bananas to use for smoothies and especially for nice creams, they come in handy when you are desperately craving for a frozen treat and don't have the time for the whole ice cream-making process: putting the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer, waiting for the base to chill in the fridge, churning the ice cream and finally putting it in the freezer until it becomes scoopable.
The summer heat can be pretty unbearable here, some days working out can be pretty challenging (especially with the AC turned off) and you just end up covered in sweat and begging for something super refreshing to make you feel alive again. Then, it's when nice creams come to the rescue! Instant gratification with minimum effort.
This recipe is the skinny sister of the famous Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor called 'Chunky Monkey', actually one of my favorites, but I try to resist the temptation and avoid the ice cream aisle at the supermarket. Store-bought ice creams are loaded with tons of sugar, syrups, etc...and I'm not kickin' my ass and working out hard for nothing. So I like to make my own version at home, way healthier and whipped up in just five minutes. The original Chunky Monkey flavor is a banana ice cream base with chocolate fudge chunks and walnuts; I decided to make a "two-in-one" type of chunk and covered my walnuts in dark chocolate...so yummy! I must confess I ate a bunch while I was preparing the props for the pictures. Of course, if you don't want to plan ahead and make your nice cream in less time simply throw in a handful of walnuts and chop big chunks of your favorite dark chocolate bar.
Keep in mind that we are talking about nice creams, they are not actually ice cream so don't expect to get perfect scoops, they are more like soft serve ice cream but delicious and creamy anyway, plus they are gluten-free, dairy-free and also sugar-free if you don't add the dark chocolate chunks...but I highly recommend you to do it. Trust me. Bananas and chocolate are a match made in heaven! ;-)
Receta en español aquí!
Chunky Monkey Nice Cream
(3 servings approximately)
- Nice cream:
4 frozen bananas.
3 1/2 tablespoons full fat coconut milk.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder.
Coconut syrup, for serving.
- Dark chocolate covered walnuts:
1/2 cup (88 g) dark chocolate.
1 scant cup (80 g) walnuts.
- Peel and cut into medium chunks your bananas before freezing.
- You can choose to refrigerate the coconut milk overnight and use the coconut cream (the thick white cream), this way the nice cream will become creamier. Or you can also buy organic coconut cream/butter. Either way, I've tried this recipe with room-temperature, well-stirred coconut milk and other times with refrigerated and I got pretty good results every time.
- To make the chocolate covered walnut chunks:
Chop the dark chocolate, place it in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (a bain marie), and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put a wire rack on top. Place the walnuts on the rack and cover with the melted chocolate, set aside to let excess chocolate drip off. Transfer to the fridge until the chocolate hardens.
- To make the nice cream:
Add all the ingredients into a food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. You might need to stop a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for around 30 minutes so it becomes a tad bit more scoopable.
Place the serving bowls/cups in the fridge, this will help the nice cream to stay cold and don't melt so quickly.
Stir in the walnuts, scoop into bowls and serve in the chilled cups.
Nice creams are best enjoyed straight after they are made, I don't recommend to freeze them longer than 30 minutes or overnight. They don't contain fats and starches like ice creams that keep them creamy so they will become hard as rocks, ice crystals will form and thus all the creaminess will disappear.