Banana Nice Cream Breakfast Bar

This recipe was a huge break-through for me on the journey of exploring veganism. I am not currently vegan, but I am working my way up to it – I am in the foot-hills and looking up the mountain so to speak. Of course, one major question I had before starting out was – ‘But what about the ice cream?!’. How was I expected to cool off after a hot day? What do I snack on with a film at home? Well, it only took minimal effort to have a google and find this fabulous alternative.

Nice cream is better on all levels than more traditional ice creams. It is lower calorie, has no added sugar and none of those other preservative, I’m-not-sure-I-know-what-that-is-but-it-sounds-like-it’s-from-a-lab ingredients. It also helps eliminate waste – the recipe works best with brown bananas that may not have much time left in the non-freezer world. Nice cream can be made with literally just the one ingredient – bananas – but most of the time I like to add just a dash of almond milk to improve the consistency and blend.

As wonderful as it is plain, it also does well to jazz it up a bit, that’s where the breakfast bar comes in. On more chill days (geddit?), I like to whip up nice cream for my brekkie, every time trying something a little bit new and different, experimenting with what I have hanging around in the cupboards. So what will follow will essentially be a list of ingredients that should (fingers crossed) go well together in any combo, just take your pick and blend up a gorgeous new treat!

I tend to watch my bananas like a hawk waiting for them to show the vaguest signs of browning, that’s how much I love this recipe. When the bananas start to go, peel them and slice into 4 quarters before sealing them in a freezer bag and bunging them into the freezer. When ready to serve (after at least 24 hours), grab four banana quarters and get started!

Ingredients
4 frozen banana quarters per person
1 tsp almond milk

Optional
1 tsp cocoa
Maple syrup
Vanilla extract
Breakfast bar options
Nut butters – PB is a favourite
Jam – sharp raspberry conserve goes perfectly – especially with PB
Mixed unsalted nuts (almonds, pecans and cashews work well – smash up any bigger nuts)
Mixed seeds – I love, love, love pumpkin and sunflower seeds, but sesame, chia and hemp seeds also work well to provide interesting textures
Fresh berries (whatever is in season)
Dried fruits (cranberries, blueberries, raisins, apricots…)
Dates – this one gets its whole own section, it is non-negotiable – see note

Method
This all has to be done rather quickly to stop the nice cream melting and to enjoy it at its best consistency. I like to follow a mis-en-place method, getting all my various sprinkly bits ready at the side before getting my banana pieces from the freezer. Rinse and slice up your berries and chop up your dried fruits.

Once ready to blend up the nice cream, shove the banana into a blender and blitz. This will sound horrendous but the banana should soon start to blend down (it takes around 20 seconds). Stop blending and take off the lid to push the banana down the sides before adding almond milk. Put the lid back on and blend up until smooth.

Scoop out into your favourite bowl and generously sprinkle over your selected breakfast bar sides. Enjoy straight away before it melts!

A note on dates
Ok so I love Medjool dates as much as the next person, they are gooey, they are sweet and they go oh-so-well with this nice cream. But they are also pricey. So a wonderful alternative is to use blocked Sayer dates (available from Whitworths) which can be sliced up to go over the nice cream. A word of caution though, these dates are just as addictive and sometimes you just don’t realise how much you’ve had until the whole block is gone!

A note on other flavours
I hope to post on other flavours in the future but two very simple nice cream flavours are chocolate and vanilla. If making chocolate nice cream, you just have to add a big teaspoon of cocoa to the mix as you blend. This sometimes comes out a little bitter – add a dash of maple syrup to taste. For vanilla, all you have to do is add a dash of vanilla extract while blending. Delish.

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