It is completely possible to have something as completely decadent, creamy, sweet, and yet still good for you. Behold! I present to you my first ice cream creation: Banana Cranberry Ice cream! The amazing thing about this creamy treat, is it has two ingredients! I’ll give you two whole guesses on which ingredients those might be 😉
I don’t remember where I first saw the idea to freeze bananas to make a creamy ice cream, but it goes along the same idea I came up with for a simple chocolate pudding. Bananas truly do make a wonderful ingredient that binds in cooking for baking, adds creaminess to a wide range of foods, and generally provides a great substitute for eggs or fats in recipes. I thought that perhaps the frozen banana would be too hard or crystallized, but much to my delight banana provides the most creamy ice cream that truly replaces the creaminess of dairy! This ice cream is dairy-free, nut-free, and no added sugar!
The first step is to remember that you’d like some ice cream for the next day so you can put away a few bananas to freeze. I’ve heard of people freezing whole bananas, but I can’t imagine dealing with wrestling off frozen peel. I just peeled them and broke them into reasonably-sized chunks and put them straight away into a zip lock bag. I removed as much air from the bag I could by – yes – sucking out the air! I know a lot of people go to the trouble of inserting a straw into the bag and extract the air out that way, but I’m a quick and dirty kind of person so no saving appearances here! Sticky table happy kids I say!
The day you want your ice cream, soak your cranberries in some water to help them get nice and soft for the ice cream. This will help them to match in general texture in the ice cream otherwise they’re a bit too hard. I tried it once without soaking them and it was pretty noticeable that they could have used a soaking. The measurement of water to cranberries doesn’t really matter, just put the cranberries into a cup and cover them with enough filtered water to completely cover them.
I used my food processor with the regular cutting blade and pulsed the bananas a bit. At first they kind of look grainy like cauliflower rice might, but they’re deceptively creamier than you might think. It’s possibly you’ll have to stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula to get everything evenly chopped. When they look all evenly chopped up into bits, we’re ready to go on to phase two.
I scooped out all of the banana into a dish, and replaced the cutting blade of the processor with the dough blade used for mixing bread dough. I did this because I don’t really want the cranberries to become pulverized in the food processor. I like having bits or chunks of things in my ice cream. I like chunky food, it makes me feel happy to be able to identify what the bits of food are. Perhaps this is a subconscious defense mechanism for me to avoid highly processed foods where you can’t identify the individual ingredients if your life depended on it. I want to say “Yep, those are definitely cranberries”.
After you’ve switch out the blade to the dough mixing blade, just throw the banana back into the food processor and dump in the cranberries that have been soaking to become plump. While I think it’s possible to hand mix in the cranberries without too much fuss, I’m really lazy. So yea, the food processor it is! Just a few pulses to mix things up well. At this point you can scoop up some banana cranberry ice cream and eat it immediately, or pack it into a resealable container and put it back in the freezer to get a little more firm again strictly for photography reasons. That’s what I did as I really needed time to take some good photography for you before everything melted before my eyes! Straight out of the processor it’s creamy and delicious and I highly recommend it this way.
Let me tell you, to date I believe ice cream is the most difficult thing in the world for food photography. I’ve always heard of professional food photographers substituting in Crisco for vanilla ice cream or some other elaborate concoction. I wanted to take the real deal for you, and it was kind of funny when it’s all said and done. Having two young *very interested* children begging for the beautiful scoops of banana cranberry ice cream, shifting perfect sunlight leaving the table, and a flashing light on the camera warning me that at any second now the camera is going to die, ALL THE WHILE seeing that with each photograph I take the banana cranberry ice cream melts just a wee bit more……Yes, yes I ate the whole thing when I was done.
Okay you got me, I wanted to but I shared it with my wonderful family! Here is one happy little boy who cleaned up his bowl almost too quickly for me to snap a picture of him enjoying his first bowl of banana cranberry ice cream! Smiles all around, and now it’s nap time. Bliss in this house!
Banana Cranberry Ice Cream
- ½ cup dried cranberries, soaked
- 4 frozen bananas, in chunks
- In a food processor, pulse the bananas until evenly processed into granules.
- Transfer the bananas into a bowl, change the blade in the food processor to the dough blade.
- Replace the frozen bananas into the processor and add the soaked cranberries.
- Pulse until mixed well. Serve immediately or transfer to a freezer safe container to harden.
Need more recipe ideas for desserts or other yummy Paleo foods?