Adventures in Nice Cream

November 6th, 2015 9:00 am by Kelly Garbato

As much as I love banana ice cream (banana bread banana ice cream, you are the BEST!), making it can be such a pain. Waiting for the banana slices to freeze and then defrost ever so slightly; prying and wedging and knifing them apart; processing and scraping and processing and scraping, as my food processor dances on the counter as though possessed, and the motor threatens to burst into flames. And then there’s always one or two big ole chunks of bananas that refuse to assimilate no matter how long you stand over the bowl, pulsing and cursing. Yeah.

After years of this nonsense, I started to wonder: is there a better way?

Specifically, I wanted to know whether it would work if I skipped the first freezing step and just processed overripe bananas as is. Then freeze the ice cream mix, like I normally would anyway. (Even for soft serve, it’s a little too liquidy by the time I’m done with it. At least a half hour wait is typically required!)

So, instead of peel -> slice -> freeze -> thaw -> blend -> refreeze,

peel -> slice -> blend -> freeze.

I hit the internets to find out and found a few people with the same question – but no answers.

You know what that means: Experiment time!

2015-09-23 - Nice Cream - 0001 [flickr]

I tried the new method using just three bananas, to make a pint of nice cream (usually I go full-on quart). On the left is old school banana bread ice cream; on the right, newfangled chocolate cinnamon ice cream.

The results were underwhelming.

Turns out that you get a much better ice cream using the old, time-consuming method. I suspect that’s because the added air in the frozen banana slices produces a lighter whip…but I’m no food scientist, so that’s just a guess.

Either way, banana ice cream using the old method is lighter, airier, and easier to scoop.

2015-09-23 - Nice Cream - 0005 [flickr]

The shortcut method still produces perfectly edible ice cream, but it’s a little icier and more difficult to scoop. (Shane likened it to very old “regular” banana ice cream, left too long in the freezer.) It helps if you leave it on the counter to thaw a bit, but still. The difficult method is still the superior, imho.

2015-09-23 - Nice Cream - 0006 [flickr]

Another option is to use the shortcut prep method, but run the batter through an ice cream machine. This could help with some of the iciness. It’s such a hassle though – a whole ‘nother piece of machinery to disassemble and clean – so I’m not sure it’d count as a “shortcut” overall.

Has anyone else tried an alt. method for making nice cream? Was it a bust or an epic success?

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