What’s The Scoop on NICE Cream? A Better-For-You Dessert
Have you heard of “nICE Cream”?
(Also called “banana ice cream”) It’s a fun banana-based dessert that’s becoming more popular… but why? Basically, all you have to do is learn about it, to see how it could become a sensation. It’s super versatile, capable of chocolate, fruit and nut flavors (or any combination there-of). It’s dairy free, low sugar, better for you than regular ice cream AND easy to make too, so it’s no wonder people everywhere are giving it a try. It’s called “nICE”, because it’s more environmentally friendly than milk, and doesn’t bother any animals in making it.
So what exactly is nICE Cream?
The bare basics are frozen bananas, a little dairy-free liquid, some sort of added flavor element and a powerful blender or possibly a food processor. If everything’s added in the right proportions, the ingredients will form an ice-cream textured dessert. It may sound plain, boring or too simple here, but that’s not getting into any of the myriad fun ways to ‘add in’ to it. (Keep reading, and the real fun will get started shortly!)
Why isn’t this just ‘some smoothie’, why is this going to work in MY blender?
It’s all thanks to a special kind of fiber: soluble fiber. Did you know that bananas are about 86% water? That’s amazingly high… so why aren’t they wet or soggy like a watermelon? The answer is still soluble fiber. These special fibers in the banana prevent them from freezing solid, icy-hard like a popsicle. When you involve a frozen banana, there will always be a creamy element. Ice cream is a little similar, but instead of soluble fiber, it uses fats that never freeze quite solid for its texture. The low amount of liquid keeps it from becoming a smoothie.
Why can’t I find this stuff in stores if it’s so great?
If nice-cream is so easy, and so much better for you than ice cream, then shouldn’t it already be on grocery store shelves? You’d think so, but there’s just one company-stopping problem with it: It’s the act of blending nice cream before serving that makes the texture everyone desires. If you pre-blend then re-freeze, it’ll become super solid and not scoop-able. It requires a pesky thaw-time that no one wants to wait through… because regular ice cream lacks it. Because nobody has the patience, no company will box up nice-cream. Much like sorbet, nice-cream works best when its blended fresh. You basically have to make it yourself if you want it. Fortunately, it takes only minutes to blend, so it can be ready when you want dessert.
Why is Nice-Cream better than Ice Cream?
No problem. You get the creamy texture of ice cream but no dairy at all.
It CAN be fat free
Fat-free or low fat ice cream can taste funny. Because this is banana based instead of dairy, it’s naturally free from fats. Nothing had to be reduced or extracted. Of course, you can bring in a healthy fat with nut butter if you so desire.
It needs no added sweeteners
Fruits are pretty sweet on their own, and bananas are no exception. They have a great mix of sweet and fiber. When you’re adding other fruits like blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, those are sweet too. Nice Cream doesn’t need High Fructose Corn Syrup or added sugar to taste good. Plus… if you DO want it sweeter, you’re in charge: you can add a squeeze of stevia, or raw local honey (the allergy-fighter!).
Make real fruit into real fun again
Forget about those little nuggets of artificial color & flavor mixed into typical ice-creams to help with shelf life. When you make nice-cream, the vibrant colors & flavors of real fruits are always at your fingertips. Strawberry banana swirl? Sure. Fresh kiwi & coconut shreds for a tropical treat? Of course! Raspberry and chocolate for a delightful evening spoonful? Whenever you’d like. Home made in minutes means there’s no concern over shelf life. Frozen fruits means you can have the flavors you want any time of the year. (Freezing fruit rather than cooking it helps preserve nutrients too)
You’re in control of almost endless flavor
In the mood for something exotic that you can’t find on grocery shelves? Nice-cream’s got you covered. You can do mango with fresh lime zest, peanut-butter chocolate… or almond butter chocolate with real nut pieces mixed in. Blueberry banana may be hard to find… but when has the grocery provided you with strawberry-blueberry-banana? (It’s a great combination) Bananas have a mild flavor that’s easily covered by other, stronger tastes. You choose whether to highlight it, or push it all the way into the background for variety.
Getting Started: Basic Recipe
This will make a few servings of the most basic chocolate nice cream. It lets you see how easy it is, and then you can develop your own recipes, or cruise the internet for more.
2 frozen bananas (peel them raw, wrap in plastic wrap, then freeze for easy use)
2 tablespoons almond/rice/cashew/banana or non-dairy milk of choice
1 tablespoon almond butter (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon of chia seeds
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
When you want to eat nice-cream, just blend the entire list above until smooth & you’re ready to serve. You’ll need a strong blender or food processor because it’s a “dry” recipe. Blend a few times / pulse repeatedly to get the right consistency. Don’t follow the temptation to add extra liquid, or else it will become a smoothie. (not terrible, but not what you’re after)
Don’t stop here though!
Basic chocolate is just the start, continue to explore the possibilities with other fruits, or skip the chocolate and use frozen blueberries. Put PB instead of AB, and sprinkle some mini chips-the list goes on and on… and so will the fiber. Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet each day, thanks to processed foods. And, nobody ever really considers dessert as ‘the fiber rich meal’… but this can change it. Whole fruits (not juice), bananas and chia seeds all in the nice cream add up to a healthy dose of fiber. Fiber not only keeps you feeling full longer, it can help the body slow down with the conversion of carbs into sugars, feed beneficial bacteria, help the intestines move food more efficiently, and use up more bile-acid which in-turn can lower cholesterol. And that’s not even all! Fiber, while it’s something you can’t digest, really can help with so many areas of your health. So what could be better than a dessert who’s secret focus is fiber? Don’t wait, get some bananas into your freezer now to enjoy some nice cream later.