One Ingredient Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

 Hopefully by now you've heard of the simple and delicious one-ingredient banana ice cream. Simply whip up frozen bananas in the food processor until it forms an ice cream consistency. This recipe ups the flavor by roasting the bananas before freezing, resulting in a deep, caramelized flavor. 

I could rave for hours about the incredible education I received at Clemson. My professors were intelligent and supportive people with a contagious sense of enthusiasm about the field of nutrition. The classes gave me the basic working knowledge I would need to work in any area of the profession. They built a strong foundation for success.

However, I do have one teeny tiny little suggestion. Remember all those organic chemistry classes we had to take? You know, the ones that kept us in the library till the wee hours of the morning and probably singlehandedly funded the coffee shop? Personally, I think we should swap it for a new class. Lets call it Healthy Treats 103.

Maybe you think I'm nuts, but hear me out for a second.

1. I have never used organic chemistry in my practice. Ever. Yes, I'm sure those dietitians who went into research find it handy, but for us clinical, community and private practice RDs, nope. Not at all. My clients do not care about my ability to differentiate between elimination and substitution reactions or to correctly draw complex biomolecules. Good thing, because frankly, I don't remember how to differentiate between types of organic reactions or draw complex biomolecules. I just had to Wikipedia "organic chemistry" to write this paragraph.

2. Sweets are the number one struggle for almost every single one of my clients...and basically everyone. When it comes to our diet, excessive sugar intake is the most detrimental thing we can do to our health. Yet, no one wants to give up sweets, myself included. Learning to create tasty treats from nutritious ingredients should be considered a basic life skill.

3. The most important piece of evidence I'll submit - this recipe for cold, creamy and decadent ice cream, made with just one ingredient, bananas!

The original one ingredient banana ice cream is pretty perfect. When I tried that first bite, I realized sweets made without added sugar didn't have to sacrifice flavor. This was pretty mind-blowing. Until then, I knew all sorts of ways to make better for you treats, but nothing truly nutritious and appropriate for daily consumption. Banana nice-cream (as I like to call it) was my gateway into a world of healthy treats. Now I whip out things like banana sweetened chocolate chip cookies, fruity sorbet, and creamy chia pudding on a regular basis.

The beauty of one-ingredient ice cream is it's simplicity. Although this version calls for one extra step, it's totally worth it. Roasting the bananas before freezing enhances the sweetness and adds a bit of toasty, caramelized flavor, almost like bananas foster exactly like bananas foster. A pinch of cinnamon is a welcome addition, although then it can no longer carry the catchy "one ingredient" title. I topped mine with peanuts and dark chocolate, since we've already established my love for the combination. If I were you, I'd pick up a big bunch of bananas today and get roasting!

One Ingredient Caramelized Banana Ice Cream
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: 2 cups
If you like, add cinnamon or other spices for flavor. You could also add a couple tablespoons of dark cocoa powder to make it taste like chocolate. To make bananas foster smoothie, add a cup of unsweetened almond milk to the blender.
Ingredients
  • 6 bananas
  • Melted coconut oil (okay, technically another ingredient but it hardly counts)
  • Cinnamon (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the bananas in half lengthwise. Keep the peels on (the first batch I made and photographed I peeled them and they dried out a bit). Lightly brush a baking sheet with melted coconut oil. Place on the baking sheet, cut side up, and brush with coconut oil. Roast 10-15 minutes until golden brown, being careful not to burn them.
  3. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When cool, peel, cut into cubes and freeze in a tupperware container overnight or until ready to use. When ready to enjoy, place banana chunks in a food processor (~ 1 cup makes 1 serving). Add cinnamon if desired. Blend, scraping down sides as needed, until it forms a smooth, creamy mass.