Banana “Ice Cream”, aka, Bananascream

Why on earth did it take me so long to make this? I had seen the recipe online last year some time and had filed it away until a friend mentioned it last week. I’m lactose-intolerant and have found many ice cream substitutes (coconut milk, almond milk ice creams are my preference) at the grocery store, but have never tried making anything comparable at home, until just now. I will say, that if you want just one serving (one medium banana is about 105 calories), use one banana and a mini food processor, like I did just now. I’m still swooning. The flavor reminds me of my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor, Chunky Monkey. You can adapt this recipe to your whims…the possibilities are endless…fresh or frozen berries, chopped nuts, maple syrup, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, peanut butter, etc. Next up: I’m going to buy some popsicle molds and make popsicles for the warmer months…

Of note: I think it helps if the bananas have a few brown spots on the skins. It’s also helpful if you cut the bananas into chunks prior to freezing because I found it difficult to cut frozen solid bananas (oops). Freeze the peeled bananas overnight and until completely solid. For more than one serving, use more bananas, I know, a no-brainer.

For one serving

  • 1-2 frozen bananas, cut into chunks
  • Dash of pure vanilla
  • 2 TB bittersweet chocolate chunks

Add frozen chunks of bananas to food processor and pulse until creamy. Do not over-process, or else you’ll have soup. Throw in whatever additions you please and pulse a couple more times. Next time I think I’ll add some pecans or Nutella or cold peanut butter…or, or..

Don’t worry if you did over-process! Just pop the mixture in the freezer after you add your extras and you should be good to go in under an hour.

Blackberry Bread with Lime

What to do…what to do.
Lately, I’ve gotten up early on Sunday mornings because I cannot fall back asleep (what is wrong with me??). So, after a cup of coffee, I bake something. Today it was Blackberry Bread. I found the recipe online and tweaked it (of course!) to my own liking. Replacing the milk with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and using lime zest and the juice of one lime, as opposed to lemon juice. The berries were huge and sweet, which isn’t always the case with larger berries. Anyway, it is a recipe that doesn’t require a mixer, just two bowls and easy cleanup. It was a nice way to welcome Sunday morning.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • 1 1/2C. Flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon (Vietnamese)
  • 1 1/2C fresh blackberries
  • 1C. sugar*
  • 1/2C. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3C butter melted (cooled)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. lime zest
  • juice of a small lime

*I used about 3/4 of a cup and it’s sweet enough for my tastes. But, adjust as you like.

Coat a 9″x5″ loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and blackberries in large bowl, set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the sugar, almond milk, melted butter (cooled), eggs, lime zest and juice until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ones and mix well with small spatula or spoon. Add mixture to loaf pan. Bake for an hour and some change, or until a toothpick–when inserted into the middle of the bread–comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 min., remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. I cooled mine on a plate (put a plate on top of the loaf pan and flipped it over.)

I think this bread turned out wonderfully. You could also put a streusel topping on the bread or even a lime infused/powdered sugar glaze. Perhaps next time I will try to glaze.

Raspberry Blueberry Coconut Bars

Sometimes things actually *do* work out. This is one of those fortunate times. I had bought some raspberries and blueberries (and blackberries, but oops, I ate those) from the Farmers Market on Saturday and wanted to make raspberry bars. I didn’t really have a recipe, so I borrowed from several recipes and hoped that this one would work out. Guess what? It did! They turned out deliciously. Then again, maybe I’m biased. Though, I did bring them to a BBQ and received rave reviews. (Yeah, me!) Further, hooray for trusting my own skills and judgment and just going with it.

I used the crust/bar part of my mom’s Toffee Bar recipe and then made a jam/liquid/preserves filling which I poured over the crust, sprinkled on some unsweetened coconut and then a bit of streusel topping and baked for another 10 min. I didn’t have quite enough raspberries, so I added a pint of blueberries. But basically, you can use whatever berry suits your fancy. Be warned, the smell of simmering berries may force you to have several “tastes” of said mixture. Ahem.

Coming up, more berries and I’ll be in Michigan, so hopefully mom and I will be in the kitchen together. I really miss that.

For the crust:

  • 2C Flour (AP)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or more if you like a somewhat saltier crust)
  • 1C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1C brown sugar
  • 1TB vanilla

Berries

As much as you want to make. Two quarts, two pints, whatever (you can always freeze the unused portion OR, put it over waffles or pancakes). Add white sugar accordingly and bring to a nice simmer. You can also add a little lemon zest at this stage.
**Also, you’ll need about a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut. I suppose you can toast this, that would be another nice flavor.**

Streusel:

  • 6TB flour
  • 3TB sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4C cold, unsalted butter

(cut cold butter into the flour and sugar until it resembles a sandy/pebbly mix. It should hold together if you squeeze bits in between your fingers).

Now then….instructions.

Mix the butter, brown sugar, egg yolk and vanilla together until it’s nice, pale and fluffy, add the flour and salt mixture until a ball of dough forms. Evenly press dough into a 9″x13″ baking dish and bake until crust beings to just turn brown, about 25 min. Keep an eye on it b/c you don’t want it to be too browned. Smooth dollops of the berry mixture over the crust, sprinkle coconut and then add the crumble/streusel and bake again for about 10 more minutes. Voila. You’re done. Enjoy!

This recipe makes about 36 or so tiny squares.