What is The Scoop on NICE Cream? A better dessert for you
Have you heard of “nICE Cream”?
(Also called “banana ice cream”) It’s a fun banana-based dessert that is becoming more and 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 thereof). It’s dairy free, low in sugar, better for you than regular ice cream AND it’s easy to make too, so it’s no wonder people everywhere are trying it. It’s called “nICE” because it’s more environmentally friendly than milk and doesn’t bother any animals by making it.
So what exactly is nICE Cream?
The basics are frozen bananas, some non-dairy liquid, some kind of added flavor element, and a powerful blender or possibly a food processor. If everything is added in the correct proportions, the ingredients will form a dessert with the texture of ice cream. It may sound plain, boring, or overly plain here, but that’s not getting into any of the myriad fun ways to ‘add it on’. (Keep reading and the real fun will begin shortly!)
Why isn’t it just ‘some milkshake’? Why will it work in MY blender?
All thanks to a special type of fiber: soluble fiber. Did you know that bananas are 86% water? That’s unbelievably high…so why aren’t they wet or soggy like a watermelon? The answer remains soluble fiber. These special fibers in bananas keep them from freezing and hardening like a popsicle. When you involve a frozen banana, there will always be a creamy element. Ice cream is a bit similar, but instead of soluble fiber, it uses fats that never freeze solid enough for its texture. The small amount of liquid prevents it from becoming a milkshake.
Why can’t I find these things in stores if they’re so cool?
If nice cream is so easy and so much better for you than ice cream, shouldn’t it be on grocery store shelves by now? You’d think so, but there’s only one problem holding the company back: It’s the act of mixing a good cream before serving that makes for the texture everyone wants. If you premix and then refreeze, it will become super solid and unpickable. It requires an annoying thawing time that no one wants to wait for… because regular ice cream lacks it. Because no one has the patience, no company will pack nice cream. Like sherbet, nice cream works best when mixed fresh. Basically, you have to do it yourself if you want. Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to blend, so it can be ready whenever you want dessert.
Why is Nice-Cream better than Gelato?
No problem. You get the creamy texture of ice cream but without the dairy.
CAN be fat free
Fat-free or low-fat ice cream may taste strange. Because it’s a banana base rather than dairy, it’s naturally fat-free. Nothing had to be reduced or extracted. Of course, you can bring in a healthy fat with nut butter if you’d like.
Does not need 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 add other fruits like blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, they are also sweet. 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 dash of stevia or local raw honey (the allergy fighter!).
Make real fruit fun again
Forget those little nuggets of artificial color and flavor mixed into typical ice cream to help with shelf life. When you make nice cream, the vibrant colors and flavors of real fruits are always at your fingertips. Strawberry Banana Swirl? Sure. Fresh pieces of kiwi and coconut for a tropical treat? Of course! Raspberry and chocolate for a delicious nightly spoon? Whenever you want. Homemade in minutes means no shelf life concerns. Frozen fruits mean you can have whatever flavors you want at any time of the year. (Freezing fruit instead of cooking it also helps preserve nutrients.)
You are in control of almost infinite flavor.
In the mood for something exotic that you can’t find on supermarket shelves? Nice-cream has you covered. You can make mango with fresh lime zest, chocolate peanut butter…or chocolate almond butter with real nut pieces mixed in. The blueberry banana can be hard to find… but when has the supermarket provided you with strawberry-blueberry-banana? (It’s a great combination) Bananas have a mild flavor that is easily covered by other stronger flavors. You choose whether to highlight it or push it all the way to the background for a change.
First steps: basic recipe
This will make a few servings of the most basic nice chocolate spread. It lets you see how easy it is, and then you can develop your own recipes or browse the Internet for more.
2 frozen bananas (peel raw, wrap in plastic wrap, then freeze for ease of use)
2 tablespoons almond/rice/cashew/banana or vegetable milk of your choice
1 tablespoon almond butter (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
When you want to eat nice cream, just mix all the above list together until smooth and ready to serve. You will need a strong blender or food processor because this is a “dry” recipe. Blend a few times/pulse repeatedly to get the right consistency. Don’t be tempted to add extra liquid, or it will turn into a smoothie. (not terrible, but not what you’re looking for)
But don’t stop here!
Basic chocolate is just the beginning, continue to explore the possibilities with other fruits, or skip the chocolate and use frozen blueberries. Put PB instead of AB, and sprinkle some small chips; the list goes on and on…and so will fiber. Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet every day, thanks to processed foods. And, no one really considers dessert to be ‘the high-fiber food’… but this may change that. Whole fruit (not juice), bananas, and chia seeds all in the nice cream adds up to a healthy dose of fiber. Fiber not only keeps you feeling full longer, it can also help your body slow down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugars, feed beneficial bacteria, help your intestines move food more efficiently, and use more bile acids which, in turn, can lower cholesterol. . And that’s not all! Fiber, while something you can’t digest, can really help with many areas of your health. So what could be better than a dessert whose secret focus is fiber? Don’t wait, put some bananas in your freezer now to enjoy a good cream later.